DISTANCE
3.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,597 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

trail running

forest

lake

views

snow

no dogs

hiking
20 days ago

If you want a tough hike with a great view at the end, but you don't have time for Katahdin (and you'd like to SEE Katahdin at its fullest), South Turner is the Baxter Trail for you! Starting from the Roaring Brook parking lot, I was at the summit in 1.5 hours, with short stops at each of the three Sandy Stream Pond overlooks. However, I was treating the ST Trail itself like a workout, with few breaks. And wow, it did not disappoint! Once you get on the ST trail itself, you're basically ascending a 1.3 mile-long rock/boulder staircase--little in the way of switchback, just straight up the mountain. The final .2-mile jaunt above the treeline is less strenuous than the first part, but more strategic, as it's more of a sustained, true scramble. The views up top are spectacular. I went the morning after Labor Day, and the Roaring Brook lot was full of hikers, but once I left the lot, I had the whole trail to myself, out and back. My sense is that people who come to Baxter either want the reward of climbing Katahdin if they're going to climb a mountain (and they have the time), or they want the reward of wildlife and do lighter hikes on the lower trails, around the ponds, streams, and such. Do you want solitude in this vast, beautiful space, an unparalleled vista, and a workout--all in a morning? South Turner!