Why choose this trail?
Each reservation must be made at the entrance door on the morning of your trip. It all depends on which hiking path you are planning to take. You can get to the Helon Taylor and Chimney Pond paths from the Roaring Brook Campground, the Abol Trail from the Abol Campground and the Hunt Trail from the Katahdin Stream Campground. However, once you break the tree line, it rapidly becomes very rocky, needing cautious standing and some hands-and-knees scrambling.
The 3.2-mile path with an altitude of 3.413 feet is rated as "very strenuous" and should not be tried in poor weather owing to its exposure rate. After a steep ascent, sometimes loose rocks and boulders, the Helon Taylor Trail ultimately leads to Pamola Peak, the first peak before you cross the Knife Edge Trail to the summit of Katahdin. Connecting the Helon Taylor Trail to the Knife Edge Trail, Pamola Peak is a wonderful place to take a break on a lovely day. Although the Knife Edge Trail is only 1.1 miles long and has an elevation of 365 feet, it is a very technical hike in completely exposed circumstances.
Crossing the Knife Edge is comparatively hard and needs concentrate and agility. Proper equipment, weather preparedness and excellent decision-making are necessary. Inching a mile of loose rocks in search of a lovely summit is an experience worth having. Depending on the season and time of day, there may be quite a crowd at the top of Mount Katahdin, all keen to take pictures of the 5,267-foot summit sign.
It's possible that you'll even meet people who complete the amazing 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail on a hike, as Mount Katahdin is the final destination on that path after the Hundred-Mile Wilderness. You can get to the Chimney Pond Trail and Roaring Brook Campground either via the Saddle Trail or the Cathedral Trail. Saddle is longer, but not as steep, and has a loose-rock terrain. Either one requires about the same quantity of time to communicate with the Chimney Pond.
Once you've been below the tree line, it's wonderful to look up at the mountain you've just been to the top. Staying at one of the campsites in Baxter State Park will get you close to the paths on the day of your walk. The New England Outdoor Center is about a 45-minute drive from the park and provides a variety of cabins and lodges to stay in, plus plenty of other outdoor activities and views of Millinocket Lake and Mount Katahdin. You'll discover a number of inns, cottages, lodges, camping and bed-and-breakfast in downtown Millinocket, about an hour away from the park.
Reach the summit
I've produced seven more journeys over the next 5 or 6 years, and I've made five journeys, including two journeys across the knife edge. My favourite one is Roaring Brook to the Chimney pond, up Catherdral to the summit, across the edge of the knife and down Helton Taylor. At the start of September, I climbed once, having to navigate the ice-covered rocks on the tablelands. Friends and family have spent some of my favourite moment on these journeys anywhere.
I still walk the many paths accessible to me in the middle of the Maine coast, but I always dream of my next journey to Katahdin. Our 5.13-year-old family, the eldest at our party, hiked through the Hunt Trail to the summit a few years ago. It's just a few steps away, but it's surprising. The remainder of the manner up is all the rocks and boulders, a few hold on the other side, and with some dirt path segments until you get to about 1 mile from the formal summit, where it turns into a pleasant gradually sloping path to complete 5.2 mi.
It took us about 10 hours, including a 30-minute dinner at the top. I strongly suggest this hike, maybe a little better than the Tuckerman's Trail that we did 2 days previously on Mt Washington, although they're all so distinct. Make sure you're either camping in the park, or you're going to get there* before* 7 am. We got back in line, 5th car, 6:57 a.m., but we didn't get to the ranger station until 7:03 a.m., that's late! Luckily, he let us in and we received one of the last parking slots on the campground.
3rd to be on the Knife Edge. Without a doubt, going through the Knife Edge was one of the most intense mental and physical experiences of my existence. Once the choice has been taken to leave Pamola's comparative safety, there is no turning back. After dinner, we left Baxter Peak and returned to Roaring Brook via the Saddle and Chimney Pond paths.
Am I happy that we did it? Yes, yes! Am I ever going to do it again? Not at any time shortly. Our typical 2 mph average velocity was decreased. 9 mph, which was both humbling and why we underestimated the quantity of water that we were supposed to bring. Would I suggest it to you? Sure, but if you're a typical type« B» individual like me, be ready for your own safety for a lengthy, intense day that you'll be talking about long after you're back home.
Twice, I was up the mountain, once through the Knife Edge. Easily the most difficult hike I've ever taken. The cleft of Pamola isn't a joke, either going down or going up. Once it was all said and done, I lost a few toenails and was sunburned to a crisp.
This is a very strenuous climb, no matter which trail you choose. For more in-depth descriptions of the path, we publish our own trail guide. We restrict access to Katahdin to safeguard natural resources and wildlife. We do this by restricting the number of cars on the three Katahdin roadside trails.
You can reserve a parking place on these trails through our reservation scheme. We strongly suggest this particularly for July and August as well as most weekends–space is restricted and can fill up quickly. The relocated path utilizes the ridge to the south of the slide, providing a constant but steep climb with great views. Water is restricted after the first mile and the path is fully exposed.