- Trail Signs
Our hiking trails are the heart and soul of Baxter State Park and the Park has over 200 miles of hiking trails in some of the wildest and most spectacular terrain in New England. Some of our trails are over 100 years old and the Park provides a variety of hiking trails from an easy hike to Big and Little Niagara Falls to a strenuous all-day climb to Baxter Peak.
The Park was intended by Percival Baxter to be "available for those who love nature and are willing to walk and make an effort to get close to nature." Our hiking trails are very primitive, with many rocks and roots, even on the flattest terrain. Visitors should have sturdy footwear and be prepared for obstacles including boulders and stream crossings. Please consult an up-to-date map for elevation gains or stream crossings on trails. As a wilderness Park, bridges are rarely found across streams.
Baxter State Park supports the Hike Safe Program. The Park is a large and very wild landscape and wherever you hike in the Park, we urge you to remember that your safety in this landscape is your responsibility. Rangers and Park staff will provide you with all the advice and helpful information we can, but when you leave the trailhead we hope you will "Hike Safe". To help guide hikers in planning Katahdin hikes, we also have recommended cut-off times for those hoping to venture above treeline:
Cut-Off Times for Climbing Katahdin (May, June and July)
- Katahdin Stream 12:00 Noon
- Abol 12:00 Noon
- Roaring Brook 12:00 Noon
- Chimney Pond 1:00 p.m.
We recommend all persons climbing above treeline get early starts to allow for the best utilization of daylight hours. As of August 1st, each campground will set its cut-off time back 1 hour for each month. This will still maintain over 8 hours of daylight beyond cut-off
One of the most common search and rescue activities in the Park is to assist hikers who have no lights and have been overcome by darkness. Night in the Maine wilderness can be very dark. Park rules require hikers to carry only one piece of equipment - a flashlight (or headlamp). Please be sure to have one when you leave the trailhead. A good map is a essential to a safe hike, please be sure you have one before leaving the trailhead. Maps can be purchased at Park Headquarters or the Park's Visitor Center.
Thunderstorms often bring one of the most exciting hazards to hikers and campers in the Park - Lightning. Please take a moment to check out our recommendations to protect yourself during lightning storms.
Every hiking experience will be better if you have the proper gear. Please read our hiking tips for suggestions. Park Rangers assign a hiking class to each hiking day to help hikers assess likely hiking conditions.
- Hikers on Trail
Some of our trails are very popular and heavily used, and all the resources of the Park are worth protecting. Please help us protect the Park by following Leave-No-Trace guidelines and practicing wilderness ethics in the Park.
We are sorry to say it, but human waste on and near the trails is becoming a problem in the Park. For proper waste disposal etiquette, please check our info on what to do when nature calls.
In order to protect the Park from overuse, day use is limited by the capacity of trailhead parking lots.
Parking lots for our most popular Katahdin-access trailheads fill very early (6:30am) on sunny summer weekends. Parking space at our most popular day use parking lots providing access to Katahdin trails is reservable under our Day Use Parking Reservation System (DUPR).
The Park is a big place and sometimes you may only have a couple of hours or a half day for a visit. We can help you with some ideas about what to do during a short visit to the Park. What to do?