18 Breathtaking Photos of Katahdin’s Famous Hiking Trails

When it comes to hiking in Maine, the summit of Katahdin is the ultimate achievement.

Maine’s tallest mountain stands at 5,269 feet, and there are a number of different trails that hikers can take to ascend and descend Katahdin. And while some are harder than others, none are easy.

But the views are amazing.

From the rugged terrain of Knife Edge to the expansive 200,000-acre landscape that makes up Baxter State Park below, here’s a taste of what it’s like to climb Katahdin.

hunting trail

Hunt Trail traces the edge of a ridge on the west side of Katahdin known as the Hunt Spur. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN
Sara Clark (front) navigates a steep section of the Katahdin Hunting Trail, while Sam Schipani pauses on a rock. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN
Katahdin Stream Falls is one of the many scenic spots on the Katahdin Hunt Trail. It is located about a mile from the trailhead at Katahdin Stream Campground. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

Abol Trail

A group of friends and family hiking on Abol Trail, Katahdin. (Top to bottom) Jeff McBurnie, Janet Jordan, Eve Jordan, Kerry Jordan (far right), Bruce Jordan, Joyce Sarnacki, Aislinn Sarnacki (far left) and Gary Robinson, in 2010. Credit: Photo courtesy of Derek Runnells
Hikers climb and enjoy the clear view along the Abol Trail on Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain, September 10, 2016, in Baxter State Park. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

Chimney Pond Trail

Bright fall foliage surrounds Derek Runnells of Dedham as he walks along a boardwalk on the Chimney Pond Trail in Baxter State Park. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

Cathedral Trail

A rock formation on Katahdin called the Second Cathedral is seen from above on the Cathedral Trail September 27, 2014, in Baxter State Park. Peaking behind the cathedral is Chimney Pond, a pristine tarn at 2,914 feet above sea level. The nearest ridge on the right leads to Pamola Peak and is crossed by Dudley Trail. And the mountain range in the center of the view is the South Turner, North Turner, and East Turner mountains. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN
Hikers approach the First Cathedral on the Cathedral Trail on Katahdin. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

saddle trail

Members of the 2015 Beyond Limits Katahdin Expedition descend the Saddle Trail after reaching the summit of Katahdin. Six men took turns for ten minutes to carry Jacquelyn Lowman, 63, – who is a paraplegic – to the top, helping each other along the way. The expedition took a year of planning and involved the help of around 20 people, who helped with planning, transporting food, equipment and cooking. Eleven band members reached the top with Lowman. Credit: Gabor Degree/BDN
Clouds settle over the upper part of the Saddle Trail, a road that leads to the summit of Katahdin, August 10, 2012. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

Northwest Basin Trail

BDN reporter Aislinn Sarnacki heads to Hamlin Peak on Katahdin on the Northwest Basin Trail in Baxter State Park. Credit: Courtesy of Derek Runnells

Knife’s blade

From Katahdin’s Baxter Peak, hikers can enjoy stunning views of Pamola Peak and a mile-long ridge known as the Knife Edge. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN
BDN reporter Aislinn Sarnacki walks the Knife Edge of Katahdin July 13, 2013. The ridge is only a few feet wide in some places and the mountain drops thousands of feet on both sides. The trail should only be walked in good weather. Credit: Courtesy of Derek Runnells
Hikers on Katahdin’s Knife Edge have few options for going off the beaten path to relieve themselves of human waste. Above the treeline, Leave No Trace principles recommend planning ahead to avoid having to go to the bathroom in fragile alpine areas, or getting off trails as much as possible to relieve yourself on steep slopes. rock or gravel. Credit: Courtesy of Brad Viles


A hiking trail winds through delicate alpine vegetation on the Katahdin Tablelands in Baxter State Park. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN
The Katahdin Plateaus, a relatively flat area between Baxter and Hamlin peaks, are seen from Cathedral Trail September 27, 2014, in Baxter State Park. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

South Summit

Hikers descend from South Peak on Katahdin in 2016. Credit: Courtesy of Brad Viles

Hamlin Peak

Rocky Hamlin Peak stretches east, and beyond are Basin Ponds, South Turner Mountain, Katahdin Lake, and Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

Lindsay Putnam is the Sports and Reporting Editor at the Bangor Daily News. Lindsay previously worked as an editor and reporter for the New York Post. She hails from York Beach and Colby College… More by Lindsay Putnam