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Mt. Katahdin

Extremely Difficult
  5.0 ( 1 ) Favorite

Trail

9.4 mile 15.2 kilometer loop
65% Runnable
Extremely Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,785' 1,154 m
Descent: -3,785' -1,154 m
High: 5,213' 1,589 m
Low: 1,523' 464 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 15% (9°)
Max Grade: 59% (31°)

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Trail shared by Liz

A strenuous run up Mount Katahdin via the iconic Knife Edge Trail.

Liz

Features Fall Colors · Views

Overview

This route is not for the faint of heart. Although the trail starts off mellow enough, it quickly becomes quite rock with large steps. If the steepness wasn't enough you then the Knife Edge Trail will surely get your adrenaline going as you scramble along the narrow serpentine ridge to the summit.

Description

From the parking area by Roaring Brook Campground take the Helon Taylor Trail. After only about a mile in, the trail begins to climb in earnest. If there is one thing to know about trails in the East it's that they all go straight up-non of that switchback nonsense of the west. As the trees thin, the trail gets rockier and steeper as you ascend the eastern ridge of Pamola. This section of trail can feel incredibly challenging if you're not an experienced runner. Luckily, if you need an out, you can take the Dudley Trail back down instead of continuing on.

If onwards you track be prepared as you are about to take on the iconic Knife Edge Trail. In a tenth of a mile you'll reach probably the most challenging part of the route, though it is also the least exposed. This section, known as the Chimney requires a bit of fourth class scrambling down into a keyhole and back out again. Do not take this lightly, especially if the rock is damp. Once back up the other side, the Knife Edge lies before you. This narrow (at times only a couple feet wide) "trail" snakes along crest of the ridge with steep, precipitous drop-offs on either side. Some sections are rather scramble, and others you can move along at a decent clip—but ALWAYS watch your footing. A slight stumble could send you off the edge.

Before you know it, you'll snake your way all the way to the summit of Mount Katahdin (aka Baxter Peak). On a clear day the views are outrageous. If the wind isn't too bad, find a nice spot to enjoy a pack lunch.

From the summit, take the Saddle Trail down the northern flank. Enjoy the views all along the ridgeline until the trail makes a sharp turn east and begins heading into the bowl. This trail takes you down to Chimney Pond and Chimney Pond Campground. From here you'll take Chimney Pond Trail all the way back to the start. The trail levels out significantly initially following a small creek. It passes Basin Pond before joining up with Roaring Brook near the end of the run.

Hopefully you're camped at Roaring Brook Campground and can just stumble into your tent and rub your aching feet.

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  5.0 from 1 vote

#1740

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  5.0 from 1 vote
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Featured Run Rankings

#26

in Maine

#1,740

Overall
26 Views Last Month
28 Since Nov 7, 2019
Extremely Difficult

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Photos

Mt. Katahdin Knife Edge
Nov 7, 2019 near Millino…, ME
Talus field on Keep Ridge.  Helon Taylor Trail
Apr 2, 2015 near Millino…, ME
On the knife edge.
Mar 27, 2015 near Millino…, ME
Mt. Katahdin's Knife Edge.
Apr 2, 2015 near Millino…, ME
The mist is rolling in.
Apr 2, 2015 near Millino…, ME
Soak up the phenomenal views looking north from Pamola Peak on Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine, USA. If you're hiking the AT from Georgia, this is the last view you'll experience!
Apr 1, 2017 near Millino…, ME

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