Kathadin winter scene
Kathadin winter scene   Photo Courtesy of Alice Frati

Hiking Tips & Wilderness Considerations

Those of us who work for Baxter State Park cherish the land we manage and hope you will strive to respect both the land and its inhabitants during your visit here.

Carry In/Carry Out

All trash and garbage, including cigarette butts, plastic wrappings, disposable diapers, orange peels, banana peels, etc., must be taken out of the park with you when you leave. Campgrounds can provide small litterbags for this purpose.


Please be sure the sound levels and activities of your group are suitable in a wilderness park where the majority seek solitude and quiet.

Special Notice to all groups hiking in Baxter State Park:

Beginning in the summer of 2013, Park regulations will require: "The maximum size of hiking groups shall be 12 persons. Affiliated groups on the same trail separated by less than one mile shall be considered one group."

Baxter Park also requires an adult leader:juvenile ratio of 1:5. Hiking groups consisting of more than 12 individuals encountered on trails in BSP will be considered in violation of this regulation and will be asked to terminate their hike immediately may be subject to a summons.


Wildlife should be enjoyed but from a distance. Remember you are a visitor. The Park is the animal’s home– please follow our guidelines for wildlife photography in the Park.

Avoid leaving the trail to pursue animals into the woods. Rangers can help you learn more about the best places and times to see animals. Used with respect and care, this knowledge can enable you to take pictures without unnecessarily disturbing species during critical times (i.e. egg incubating, birthing, etc.)

A reminder: it is against Park regulations to feed any animals, under any circumstances. "Please keep our animals wild and healthy!"

Daypack Essentials


Always carry water (at least 2 quarts/person when climbing any of the mountains). Trailside springs are unreliable, as are any named "springs" denoted on maps of Katahdin. The only water available inside the Park is from open, unprotected sources and requires either filtering or treatment for your safety.

Plan hikes with the intention of finishing in daylight, but ALWAYS carry a flashlight as a precaution. See BSP Rule 2.2.
Extra food and clothing:
Candies, nuts or dried fruit in addition to your lunch and liquids. Also wool/pile shirt and/or sweater, hat, extra socks, and raingear.
Sturdy footwear:
TTrails are rocky and footing is difficult. For your safety, be sure footwear is adequate. Tennis shoes are not suitable for mountain climbing.
First Aid:
Supplies, such as bandaids, ace bandages, and mole skin, to take care of you and those hiking in your group. Most common first aid problem: Blisters!
Map/Guide Book:
Know your route; plan alternatives for bad weather.
Cell Phone:
A Cell Phone is a valuable wilderness tool for emergency communication. Keep it turned off and stowed in your pack.
Other suggestions:
Compass, matches, foil emergency blanket, whistle, parachute cord, knife, pack repair kit.

Safe Hiking

Safe travel in a wilderness setting demands self sufficiency and good judgment. Your primary goal and responsibility is to return to your car/ trailhead by the end of the day.

Keep this goal first and foremost in your mind rather than focusing on reaching the peak or setting personal distance/speed challenges.

Carry a cell phone but keep it turned it off except in cases of emergency (phone batteries wear down in BSP due to continually searching for mostly non-existent towers). In the event of an emergency, if you are in a location with a signal (usually above treeline, but not always above treeline), your battery will be ready and if you do succeed in reaching us, it may save many hours of search effort.

Lightning Safety

With good planning and an eye to the sky, you should get below treeline before a storm arrives. Please Remember: If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning! At the first sign of lightning or the first sound of thunder— Get below treeline immediately! For complete guidance visit our lightning safety page.