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Russell Pond-Mount Katahdin Loop

Difficult
 5.0 (12) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A varied, challenging 19 mile loop around and up over Mount Katahdin.


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Map Key

20.0

Miles

32.2

KM

Loop

5,240' 1,597 m

High

1,323' 403 m

Low

4,980' 1,518 m

Up

4,977' 1,517 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

101%

Max Grade (45°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Overview

Most of this trail is pretty mellow, but the climb out of the NW basin is a wet scramble and the Knife Edge is exposed and exciting. This is a long hike, and you'll get up above treeline - it's not a trivial trip!

Need to Know

Weather for the top of Katahdin; click here

The parking is limited in Baxter State Park and state residents get first choice so check out the parking restrictions and rules; baxterstateparkauthority.co…

Description

I have always wanted to do this loop at Baxter state park in Maine around, up and over Katahdin. We made a day trip out of it which made for a very long day but good times were had by all.

Start out at the Roaring Brook trailhead. From there, head up to Russell Pond on the Russell Pond Trail. This is an easy section of trail that should flow along nicely. Only about a half mile in is a great view over a pond of the Mount Katahdin massif. About a third of the way along, there is a huge glacial erratic that the trail goes around. There's a stream crossing at mile 6, that could be sketchy at high water. Take a left at about 6.4 miles (10.3k) onto the Northwest Basin Trail.

The first few miles of this trail are a gradual climb that is very doable. As you get to the ponds, it gets a bit more tricky but the views open up of the most remote basin in Baxter. The boulders get bigger as do the holes between them. Part of the trail follows a steep stream on bedrock for a bit. A quick side trip to Davis pond is worth it.

Once above treeline, continue to the saddle, up to the peak, across the Knife Edge to Pamola and then down the Helon Taylor Trail. This trail is exposed at the top, bushy in the middle, and ledgy on the bottom. It ends at that Chimney Pond Trail, 0.2 miles from the ranger station.

Flora & Fauna

Moose and Bear are around!

Contacts

Land Manager: Baxter State Park

Shared By:

Bryan Gagner

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 12 votes

#452

Overall
  5.0 from 12 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#12

in Maine

#452

Overall
19 Views Last Month
8,194 Since Mar 27, 2015
Difficult

0%
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8%
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58%
33%

Photos

Mt. Katahdin Knife Edge
Nov 7, 2019 near Millino…, ME
Katahdin summit from the Saddle Trail
Apr 23, 2015 near Millino…, ME
The rocks along Keep Ridge
Apr 2, 2015 near Millino…, ME
Talus field on Keep Ridge.  Helon Taylor Trail
Apr 2, 2015 near Millino…, ME
On the knife edge.
Mar 27, 2015 near Millino…, ME
Katahdin from Whidden pond
Mar 27, 2015 near Patten, ME

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 85 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Sep 9, 2020
Dawson Allwine
Stayed 1 night at RP. Did an extended first day Wassataquoik Stream trail to Grand Falls trail and back to RP. Very difficult but great hike! 26.5mi — 12h 30m
Aug 22, 2020
Bogdan P
Done in reverse, via north peaks trail (instead of NW basin). Good views, but descent trail was the ugliest part of the hike. 20mi — 16h 00m
Sep 29, 2019
Russel Wood
6h 08m
Jul 13, 2019
sheindl Heindl
Jul 4, 2019
Emma Stoltze
Aug 2, 2018
Devon Calvert
Hiked up the Hunt trail and came back on the Abol trail.
Aug 27, 2017
Becca Dupont
12mi
Oct 18, 2014
Nikola Robinson
Difficult, but nice for begginers. 20mi — 12h 00m