Photo: James Griffiths Photo/Shutterstock

Katahdin: Maine's Mountain

Maine Outdoor National Parks Insider Guides
by Hal Amen Apr 8, 2009
Meet Maine’s mountain…

Its rough bulk rises from the pine forest, northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and highest point in Maine at 5,267 feet above sea level.

Mount Katahdin is the centerpiece of Baxter State Park. Governor Percival Baxter created this 150,000-acre tract in 1931 with the intention that it “forever be kept and remain in the Natural Wild State.” In doing so, he gave Katahdin the illustrious title of “mountain of the people of Maine.”

With over 200 miles of trail in the park, summit-bound climbers have options. Cathedral is a fun scramble, but Knife Edge, a razor-thin ridgeline route with thousand-foot drops on either side, earns top props. If you’re all outta juice for the return, the longer but gentler Saddle is a good pick.

Even in summer, Katahdin’s stiff winds and frequent rains can chill. Check current conditions before committing to a climb, pack cold-weather gear, and register at the ranger station before heading up.

Access to Baxter trailheads is limited daily; those serving Katahdin (Roaring Brook, Abol, and Katahdin Stream) are most popular. Maine residents can reserve parking spots in advance, but for everyone else it’s best to camp the night before or arrive wicked early in the morning.

Community Connection:

Got a thing for mountains? Hit up past posts in this series on Quandary Peak and the Zugsptize. For a sweet collection of Matador mountain climbing blogs, visit this page.

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