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Appalachian Trail - Maine



Baxter State Park- Located in northern Maine and encompassing over 200,000 acres of magnificent wilderness, Baxter State Park offers a boreal forest experience often called Maine's Yellowstone. Limited facilities and abundant wildlife attract visitor to the state-owned preserve.
Bigelow Preserve Public Reserved Land- Bigelow Preserve encompasses 35,000 acres including the entire Bigelow Mountain Range and nearly 20 miles of the southern shore of Flagstaff Lake.
Four Ponds Public Reserved Land- Four Ponds lies just east of Mooselookmeguntic Lake. The Appalachian Trail traverses the length of this 6,000-acre unit with a lean-to at Sabbath Day Pond and a campsite at Little Swift River Pond.
Grafton Notch State Park- Grafton Notch State Park is one of the largest state parks offering 3,112 acres for hiking, picnicking and fishing. Spectacular scenery is offered of the Mahoosuc Range.
Katahdin Iron Works State Historic Site- Katahdin Iron Works is the site of a once thriving iron works built in 1843. A restored blast furnace and charcoal kiln remind visitors of an effort that produced nearly 2,000 tons of raw iron annually for half a century.
Mahoosucs Public Reserved Land- Mahoosucs is a 27,000 acre unit located at the end of the Mahoosuc Mountain Range. The area saddles Grafton Notch State Park. Some of the most challenging and rewarding hiking offered by the Appalachian Trail occurs here.
Nahmakanta Public Reserved Land- Nahmakanta encompasses more than 43,000 acres and is the largest unit in the public reserved lands system. The Appalachian Trail crosses the unit following the shore of Nahmakanta Lake.

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General Information

Description - The Appalachian Trail is a footpath of more than 2,150 miles with 276 miles lying in Maine between Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park to the New Hampshire state line. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. Primary use is by weekend or short-term hikers. "Thru-hikers" generally start from the South in early spring and hike the entire length in 5 to 6 months.

Attractions - The white-blazed Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states, 8 national forests, 2 national parks and numerous state parks. The A.T. enters Maine in the Western Lakes and Mountains Region on Maine's public reserve land near Mount Carlo heading northwest to Goose Eye Mountain which has an elevation of 3,980 feet. Maintaining a northerly trek, the trail crosses Grafton Notch State Park then crosses SR 26 to reach the prominent rock ledge of Table Rock. This area is known for its gorgeous views and the extensive cave system underneath the ledges. The trail heads east to West Peak. Turning north again to East Peak, elevation 3,812. Both are peaks on Baldpate Mountain known for spectacular waterfalls, deep pools, swimming cataracts and steep climbs. About 4 miles north on the trail is a beautiful series of falls named Dunn Falls which is along the West Branch Ellis River in Andover North Surplus. Traveling at an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet, the trail maintains an east bound direction to Surplus Bend. The A.T. heads up to Wyman Mountain, elevation 2,945. A mile up the trail is a shelter located near Moody Brook. Hall Mountain is the next crest before descending to Sawyer Brook. The climb to Moody Mountain provides views of Sawyer Mountain to the east. Once past South Arm Road, which runs parallel with Black Brook Notch, the trail makes a long, steady ascent to Old Blue Mountain, elevation 3,600 feet. The A.T. descends only a few hundred feet within the next 8 - 10 miles reaching onto Bemis Mountain. An A.T. shelter is located at this point. The next several miles is a descent of approximately 500 feet reaching Height of Land, a known scenic point of interest offering panoramic views of the White Mountains and the Rangeley area. The trail crosses Four Ponds Brook, SR 17 and Spruce Mountain before winding around Moxie Pond, Long Pond and Sabbath Day Pond. Between Long Pond and Sabbath Pond is an A.T. overnight shelter. From this juncture, the trail heads due east over to Little Swift River Pond where there is a Forest Campground, elevation approximately 2,500 feet. There are five miles of wilderness travel before reaching SR 4. Several streams and South Pond are along this stretch. After passing over SR 4, the A.T. offers a side trail to Piazza Rock at Sandy River. This is an enormous, flat ledge with huge pine and several deciduous outgrowths. Just beyond this point, is another A.T. shelter. The path heads north passing Ethel Pond and Eddy Pond. There are several primitive campsites in this location in addition to a boat launch at Eddy Pond. The trail ascends sharply to Saddleback Mountain, elevation 4,116 feet. A gradual descent follows to The Horn, 4,023 feet, Saddleback Jr., 3,640 feet then Poplar Ridge where there is another A.T. overnight shelter. The descent stretches over a distance of 3 - 4 miles. The trail turns eastbound to ford Orbeton Stream along with a few smaller creek beds and to cross several unsurfaced roads before climbing Lone Mountain, part of the Mount Abraham Range. A northern trek carries the hiker to Spaulding Mountain, a few feet shy of 4,000 feet. A shelter is located near the peak. Approximately 2 miles from the shelter the trail forks. The A.T. splits to the left and Sugarloaf Trail bears right. Heading in a western direction, the A.T. reaches Crocker Cirque which is a glacial cirque between north and south Crocker Mountains. The trail ascends to a height of over 4,000 feet then gradually descends to reach SRs 16 and 27. The hiker must trek through low lying swamp land passing several primitive campsites then reaching Cranberry Pond. The trail turns back east overlapping with Bigelow Range Trail. Climbing The Horn is rewarded with an overnight shelter at Horn Pond. Traveling east on Bigelow Mountain, the next crest is White Peak at an elevation of 4,150 feet. Myron H. Avery Peak lies about a mile east. Several camping opportunities are within this area. Dramatic, panoramic views of boulders, mixed forest communities and pristine waters is common to the territory. Little Bigelow Mountain offers a shelter a mile or so before descending to Flagstaff Lake. The trail parallels the lake approximately one mile then heads northeast to Roundtop Mountain at an elevation of 2,240 feet. A shelter may be found along the lower tip of West Carry Pond. Over the course of 5 miles, the trail travels through swamp land passing Middle Cary Pond and Easy Cary Pond. The A.T. heads north after passing Easy Cary Pond to enter another swamp community before reaching Pierce Pond where yet another overnight shelter may be found. Hikers will be heading due east at this point paralleling Pierce Pond Stream which is a tributary of Kennebec River at Caratunk. A ranger station is located at Caratunk which is on the east side of Kennebec River. The Maine Appalachian Trail Club provides a daily ferry service for hikers wishing to cross the Kennebec River. Fording the river can be dangerous and many take advantage of this service which welcomes donations. From Caratunk (which is the last road encountered before reaching Monson), the trail changes to a northern course crossing Holly Brook then reaching the upper tip of Pleasant Pond on Pleasant Pond Mountain. A shelter is located here. The trail descends for a few miles between Middle Mountain and South Mountain reaching the lower tip of Moxie Pond. On the east side of Moxie Pond, along the tributary of Bald Mountain Brook, another A.T. overnight shelter is available. Bald Mountain and the public reserved lands are the next destination which lies north of Bald Mountain Pond along a shadeless granite route. The A.T. weaves around the tip of the pond into a diverse wilderness rich in rushing cold water streams. Many of the streams are fordable with boulder strewn areas. The sparkling clear waters carry a strong current. Paralleling the Picataquis River, the hard desolate trail offers a shelter before heading over to Lake Heron, which is known for excellent trout fishing. The town of Monson is a mile or so east at this point, but the trail turns sharply north past Doughty Ponds and over Greenville Road also known as SRs 15 and 6. In Monson, is a famed quest house for A.T. walkers. It is named for its owners, the Shaws. They offer overnight rooms, showers and meals for a very reasonable rate. Shaws is known for providing the last and / or first respite off the Hundred Mile Wilderness segment of the A.T. Upon leaving Monson, the trail enters a gorgeous moist area dotted with numerous ponds, one right after another which must be negotiated by either land or water. The first pond after crossing Greenville Road is Spectacle Pond, then Bell Pond, Lily Pond, North Pond and Mud Pond. An overnight shelter is located between Lily and North Ponds. The A.T. treats the hiker with a side trip to Little Wilson Falls Gorge which is a beautiful 300-yard gorge of tumbling falls. About a half mile up the main trail is another side trip to Big Wilson Cliffs which offers views of huge slate outcrops and beautiful views of the lower valley. The path heads northwest to Slugundy Falls located near Barren Ledges. About 2 miles westward, the hiker will find an overnight shelter on Barren Mountain, a mile from Cloud Pond. A trail marker points to a location at Cloud Pond where water may be filtered from the deep coniferous forest pool. Back on the trail at an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet, it heads into a valley northward for 2 miles to reach Fourth Mountain at an elevation of 2,378 feet. Panoramic views of pond-sprinkled land are magnificent from this peak. The next crest is Third Mountain, about 400 feet lower. At this point in the Hundred Mile Wilderness, the terminus at Baxter State Park is approximately a three to four day hike. Six miles from Third Mountain is West Chairback Pond Falls are two major mountain stream-drops of 54 feet. The trail quickly ascends 400 feet to Columbus Mountain. The trail descends to Chairback Mountain where there is a former logging road with a sign directing the hiker to the State Historical Site, Katahdin Iron Works (open Memorial Day through Labor Day). It is also known as an access point for the A.T. The nationally known Hermitage Preserve is the next significant landmark having 35 acres of old growth pines along a spectacular river bluff. Screw Auger Falls is a short distance northwest offering views of interesting falls. Three miles north along Hagas Brook is another shelter. Four consecutive peaks await the hiker, Gulf Hagas Mountain, West Peak, Hay Mountain and White Cap Mountain. Approximately 2 miles north of White Cap Mountain is B Pond Road, which is unpaved. Wet low-lying grounds greet the hiker before East Branch then Mountain View Pond. Little Boardman Mountain must be challenged before crossing Johnston Road. Crawford Pond lies parallel with Johnson Road. Camping is offered on the north side of the pond. Cooper Creek is a tributary of Crawford Pond and the A.T. follows it northbound about 5 - 7 miles to reach Church and Cooper Ponds, elevation about 1,500 feet. The trail travels through dense mixed forest types of spruce, pine and cedar, weaving around numerous bodies of water of varying acreage. Shelters and primitive campsites are plentiful in the area as well as beautiful mountain scenery, resident wildlife of both large and small mammals and gorgeous mountain-fed waterfalls buried within deep gorges. Finally, the traveler will reach Rainbow Lake, where the A.T. follows the lake's southern edge traveling in an easterly direction. From this point, the terminus rests approximately 10 - 15 miles east on Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park.

Recreation - Primary use is by weekend or short-term hikers. There are a number of shorter blue-blazed side trails. "Thru-hikers" generally start from the South in early spring and hike the entire length in 5 to 6 months. A.T. shelters and campgrounds may be found along the trail. They are spaced about a days distance between each other. Permits are not required to walk the A.T., but overnight camping permits are necessary in Baxter State Park.

Climate - The climate in this northern state is cool year round. Summer high temperatures average near 75 degrees F, but often reach 90 degrees in the southern portion of the state. Summer evenings are cool and a sweater is usually necessary. Fall is usually dry with crisp days and cool nights. Expect nighttime temperatures to reach into the high 30s, especially in the northern regions of the state. This weather brings spectacular foliage colors between early September and late October. Winter can be long and gray in Maine, but recreation opportunities abound to beat the cold. Average daytime temperatures from December through March remain close to 20 degrees F. Nighttime temperatures can dip below zero. Spring is usually wet with snowmelt and rains. Moderate temperatures between 45 and 60 degrees F can be expected during the day.

Location - The Appalachian Trail begins in Springer Mountain, Georgia and travels into North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and terminates at Mount Katahdin, Maine.

It enters Maine in the Western Region along the New Hampshire state line at near Mount Carlo and follows a northeasterly direction into Baxter State Park.


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More Information

Contact Information:
The Appalachian Trail Conference, P.O. Box 807, Washington & Jackson Streets , Harpers Ferry, WV, 25425-0807, Phone: 304-535-6331

Additional Information:
Baxter State Park - Located in northern Maine and encompassing over 200,000 acres of magnificent wilderness, Baxter State Park offers a boreal forest experience often called Maine's Yellowstone. Limited facilities and abundant wildlife attract visitor to the state-owned preserve.
Four Ponds Public Reserved Land - Four Ponds lies just east of Mooselookmeguntic Lake. The Appalachian Trail traverses the length of this 6,000-acre unit with a lean-to at Sabbath Day Pond and a campsite at Little Swift River Pond.
Grafton Notch State Park - Grafton Notch State Park is one of the largest state parks offering 3,112 acres for hiking, picnicking and fishing. Spectacular scenery is offered of the Mahoosuc Range.
Katahdin / Moosehead / Penquis Region - This gorgeous area of Maine is the last stronghold of wilderness in the Eastern United States. Studded with beautiful lakes, wild running rivers and gorgeous forests are characteristic of this region where Baxter State Park makes its home.
Katahdin Iron Works State Historic Site - Katahdin Iron Works is the site of a once thriving iron works built in 1843. A restored blast furnace and charcoal kiln remind visitors of an effort that produced nearly 2,000 tons of raw iron annually for half a century.
Kennebec and Moose River Valleys Region - Known for its peaceful lakes, churning rivers and wonderful moose sightings, Kennebec and Moose River Valley is located inland above the busy metropolitan area of Freeport. Winter and summer sports abound on the region's lakes and land.
Mahoosucs Public Reserved Land - Mahoosucs is a 27,000 acre unit located at the end of the Mahoosuc Mountain Range. The area saddles Grafton Notch State Park. Some of the most challenging and rewarding hiking offered by the Appalachian Trail occurs here.
Maine - The beautiful state of Maine is mostly rural and encompasses a great variety of landscapes. There are over 5,000 miles of gorgeous surf-crashing coastline, majestic mountains, cold rushing streams and rivers, crushed seashell beaches and picturesque island-dotted glistening lakes.
Maine National Forests and Parks - Within Maine lies Acadia National Park, a portion of White Mountains National Forest and the terminus of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Nahmakanta Public Reserved Land - Nahmakanta encompasses more than 43,000 acres and is the largest unit in the public reserved lands system. The Appalachian Trail crosses the unit following the shore of Nahmakanta Lake.
Western Maine Mountains Region - Western Maine Mountains is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whitewater boating, fishing, hunting and winter sports abound in White Mountain National Forest, Rangeley Lake and Sebago Lake Areas.

Links:
Appalachian Trail Association - Local non-profit information.
Appalachian Trail Conference - History, Personal Journals, Trail Conditions, Etc.

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