Russell Pond-Mount Katahdin Loop
ElevationAscent: 4,980' 1,518 m
Descent: -4,977' -1,517 m
High: 5,240' 1,597 m
Low: 1,323' 403 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 101% (45°)
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“A varied, challenging 19 mile loop around and up over Mount Katahdin.”— Bryan Gagner
The parking is limited in Baxter State Park and state residents get first choice so check out the parking restrictions and rules; baxterstateparkauthority.co…
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.
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Land Manager: Baxter State Park
Jul 2, 2019: Togue and Matagamon gates are closed and will re-open when local snowmobile clubs groom trails….All Katahdin trails and the Traveler Loop are now open; please register your above-treeline hike with our reservation office….Winter camping has begun…Reservation hours 8am – 4pm M-F