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Baxter State Park advice wanted

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  • Baxter State Park advice wanted

    First off - as much as we might hate getting to the Garden parking lot to find it's full, the first-come-first-serve setup we have in the ADK is MUCH preferable over the nonsense rules they have at Baxter State Park.

    I was hoping to make a two-day loop around the park. I reserved a campsite at Katahdin Stream and another at Wassataqouik Stream the following night. My hiking party consists of three 46'ers. We would arrive at Katahdin Stream mid-to-late day, camp there and then get an early start at the loop below:

    Starting at Katahdin Stream and making our way to Wassataqouik Stream would be about 14 miles (never mind my 13 mile label on the map). The following day would be another 14 miles back. Both days would require significant elevation gain (~4500 feet). These would be long days but I believe totally achievable. My group has done similar and slightly longer trips in the ADK and in national parks.

    But when I called to figure out how I could reserve parking (something that you can only do if you're a resident of Maine!!), I was told first that my itinerary was impossible - the person on the phone greatly overestimated the number of miles/day (~20? When I clarified the route she confirmed that it was probably more like 14)... she believes we are not prepared for this, and I couldn't even make my case because then she got to point two: Each campsite is associated with a specific parking area - something that is not stated on the Baxter site. Katahdin Stream has it's own parking area so with my campsite reservation, I have a space reserved for the first day (which is great and should be stated on their website). But Wassataqouik Stream has parking at Roaring Brook. So to do a backcountry loop, I'd have to magically teleport to my car, move it to Roaring Brook, and then teleport back to Wassataqouik Stream. (Unless of course I was a resident of Maine in which case I could reserve parking where I wanted it).

    I'm wondering if someone with experience hiking in Baxter could weigh in on this. Are the trails that different than the High Peaks trails? Is this itinerary really impossible? If I were to leave my car at Katadin Stream for two nights, as would make sense for a backcountry reservation(!!!) will they tow it?
    My 46'er Peak Tracker

  • #2
    As far as I know, you don't need parking reservations. Just move your car from your site parking to the main lot early in the morning before the park gate opens and you would be guaranteed to get a spot. I might be wrong, as I have only hiked there once. It seemed that once you were in the park, you could park anywhere in any lot if there was space.


    • #3
      You will be leaving your car overnight in the Katahdin Stream day-hiking lot. You should put a note on the dash telling the ranger what you are doing and when you are returning. Otherwise they may assume you are an overdue hiker. They do check. It would be better to tell the ranger your plans when you arrive at KS.

      The Hunt trail is very rugged and goes over and through huge rocks. It will be VERY slow with overnight packs. You will wish you didn't go that way. Knife Edge will also be difficult with full packs. Few hikers go over Katahdin with full packs. Yes it is only 4000 ft but the trails are more difficult than you think. I have hiked it five times and all the trails except Saddle and Dudley which is closed.

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


      • #4
        Thank you both for your replies - watching some YouTube clips of the Hunt Trail and Knifes Edge did help put it into perspective. It's more rock scrambling than hiking and I see why they say it would take far too long to do this loop. Back to the drawing board
        My 46'er Peak Tracker