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