Climbing Mt Katahdin to Baxter Peak

Climbing Mt Katahdin via the Chimney Pond and Saddle Trails to Baxter Peak

Climbing Mt Katahdin

Total miles: 11

Date: July 29, 2013

Elevation gain: 3,778 feet

Trails: Chimney Pond Trail (3.3 miles one way with elevation gain 1,425 feet) and Saddle Trail (2.2 miles one way with elevation gain 2,353 feet)

Trail Head: Roaring Brook Campground

Climbing Mt Katahdin

Climbing Mt Katahdin was a highlight of our trip. We hiked these gorgeous trails during a 4 day visit to Baxter State Park in Maine.  Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.  While several trails climb to Baxter Peak, the combination of these two trails are the most gradual ascent which I thought was perfect for us since we were climbing Mt Katahdin with kids.  With long breaks at Chimney Pond for lunch as well as at the peak, the round trip hike took just under 10 hours.  Hikers must register at the Ranger station before beginning their hike as well as at the Saddle trail head at Chimney Pond.  Overall this was a fantastic hike and though challenging, it was never overwhelming for any of us. As you can see from the pictures, it is pretty rocky for much of the way with a rock scramble up to the saddle. We don’t carry hiking poles but saw many people using them. Because the park limits the number of visitors it receives each day, the trails were never crowded.  Only at the peak, where several trails converge, did it seem busy. We were also lucky to witness a Southbound thru hiker leaving for adventure on the Appalachian Trail which was exciting.

Climbing Mount KatahdinClimbing Mt Katahdin: If you go:

–There are no water faucets on the trail. Water is available from ponds along the way but must be treated. We carried our SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Handheld UV Water Purifier to treat water from Chimney Pond and filled our bottles during a leisurely lunch break.

–We also took along AMC Map: Baxter State Park – Katahdin and 100-Mile Wilderness which since the trail is well marked and pretty much impossible to get lost on was mostly helpful in determining how far we were into our hike. I was very glad we brought it along.

–Reserve a parking or camping spot early if you’re planning on climbing Mt Katahdin through the Baxter State Park website as this is a popular spot to hike and parking sold out each day of our visit. We camped at Roaring Brook and it was very convenient to wake up, eat breakfast and hike though we heard hikers driving into the parking lot as early as 5 AM to head down the trail.  Since it takes a good deal of time to drive Baxter’s dirt roads, that must have been an EARLY wake up call.

–Carry a jacket as it is windy at the peak!

–Make sure you’ve clipped your toe nails before you set off.  The downhills HURT if your toenails are too long.  Maya learned this the hard way.

Climbing Mt Katahdin with kids: Chimney Pond Trail:

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Roaring Brook Ranger Station

Katahdin Model at the Roaring Brook Ranger Station

Heading Off Down the Chimney Pond Trail in Baxter State Park

Maine Wilderness on the Chimney Pond Trail

 

Katahdin in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Checking Out the Map in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Basin Pond on the Chimney Pond Trail

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Chimney Pond Trail in Baxter State Park

Chimney Pond Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Chimney Pond Trail in Baxter State Park

Chimney Pond in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Chimney Pond in Baxter State Park

Chimney Pond in Baxter State Park

 

Climbing Mt Katahdin with kids: Saddle Trail:

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Views From the Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt. Katahdin: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Up the Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Views From the Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt. Katahdin with kids: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt Katahdin: On the "Saddle" - Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt Katahdin: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt Katahdin: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt Katahdin: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt Katahdin: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt Katahdin with kids: Saddle Trail in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt Katahdin with kids: Baxter Peak on Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park

Climbing Mt Katahdin with kids: Views From Baxter Peak

Are you planning a trip to Baxter State Park? If so, climbing Mt Katahdin is an experience you will never forget!

Happy Travels!

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Written By

I love to plan family travel adventures with our four kids. Encouraging time in nature, National Parks travel, backpacking and hiking are my passions and I love to write about them.

4 Comments

  • My youngest is 7 and I am wondering if the ascent to Baxter Peak would be too strenuous. How long did it take you all and would you suggest just doing the saddle trail to reduce time or is the extra time spent starting at Chimney Pond totally worth it? It looks beautiful!

    • I think a 7 year old used to hiking a lot would so fine. We left at dawn and were back at our campsite a couple of hours before dinner. We started at Chimney Pond because it was the way up close to our campsite, but there are other trails up Katahdin. Chimney Pond was really beautiful for sure!

  • Hi, I found your blog on the hop today. What stunning scenery. I hope my boys enjoy hiking with us when they’re older (they’re 1 and 5 at the moment). Looking forward to reading more posts. : )

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