Hiking, Camping, and Canoeing
Hiking and Camping
The SFMA contains 16 miles of hiking trails including all or most of the Freezeout Trail and the Wadleigh Brook Trail. This trail system provides access from a drive-in campground at Trout Brook Farm and a trailhead on the Park Tote Road just west of Trout Brook Crossing to a long loop hike through the heart of the SFMA. Trails provide Park hikers with access to campsites within the SFMA including a lean-to and a tent site at Webster Lake, a lean-to along Webster Stream, and a lean-to at Hudson Pond. In addition to trail access sites, Baxter State Park/SFMA maintains and administers reservations for two additional tent sites on Webster Lake outside of the Park boundaries on land administered by the Bureau of Parks and Lands (through a formal agreement). Although the lean-to at Hudson Pond is moderately accessible from an SFMA forest management road, the primary purpose of all lean-tos and tent sites on the SFMA is to provide rustic stopover points as part of a 2 or 3 day backcountry trip. The SFMA provides one of the few places in Baxter State Park that hikers can plan a multi-day loop trip in moderate terrain.
The Webster Stream canoe trip offers paddlers a remote trip of at least 2 days duration beginning on Telos Lake or at the “thoroughfare” between Telos and Chamberlain Lakes at Chamberlain Bridge and ending at Matagamon landing near the eastern end of Grand Lake Matagamon. Longer trips could include the East Branch of the Penobscot and continue on to Medway. Current Park policy requires canoeists running Webster Stream to reserve a site on Webster Lake and begin running the stream no later than 10:00 am to ensure time to reach Matagamon Landing or a campsite on Matagamon Lake. This trip requires either guide service assistance or a day’s time to shuttle equipment and vehicles at the beginning or end of a trip.
Webster Stream is a moderate stream running from 90 to 600+ cubic feet of water per second and provides one of the best remote whitewater canoeing opportunities in Baxter State Park. The stream is roughly 9 miles in length, with 6 miles inside the SFMA boundary. Webster Stream offers a variety of canoeing water with the first 3 miles as class intermittent class 1 and 2 rock gardens grading to 3 miles of quickwater and then abruptly changing to a final 3 miles which includes 8 ledge drops up to class 4. Near the outlet of Webster Stream, at the confluence with the East Branch of the Penobscot and Second Lake Matagamon, exists an un-runnable falls known as Grand Pitch. Webster Stream is well known as a leg of Henry David Thoreau’s trip in 1848 with Penobscot Indian guide Joe Poulis. Webster was a difficult enough endeavor that Polis insisted that Thoreau walk while he canoed the stream with water he termed “ver strong”.