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    Katahdin Via the Knife Edge

    Millinocket, Maine

    Katahdin Via the Knife Edge

    Katahdin Via the Knife Edge Professional Guide

    Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

    "This is the classic hike. There’s no hike more iconic in Maine. The route climbs Keep Ridge with ?ne views to Pamola Peak. You then descend into and climb right out of The Chimney.

    The Knife Edge begins as you cross Chimney Peak. The trail crosses over and around a series of serrated knobs that drop dramatically into Great Basin. An exhilarating climb brings you to Baxter Peak, the highest point in Maine and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail."

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    Katahdin Via the Knife Edge Trail Trip Reports

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    icon12 Total
    Explorer | 31 pts
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    Adventurer | 390 pts
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    This hike is crazy hard! It's definitely not for beginners and you better be in good shape and have good equipment like hiking boots, flashlights, water, weather-appropriate clothes and some gloves to get up over the rocks. There's a lot of rock scrambling, steep climbs and it's slippery in areas. There's also quite a lot of bugs at some points in the trail and it can be quite windy (which at least means, no bugs!) IIf you are scared of heights you will NOT like this hike. If there's any bad weather at the time or you know is coming then do not hike this trail. Now after the warnings, if you go you will be blown away by the amazing views and the most unbelievable sense of accomplishment. I'd give it 5 stars for the views but took one back for the sheer difficulty that made me exhausted (but still very happy at the end!)
    Caste Village, PA
    Explorer | 20 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    Do not underestimate Katahdin. We tried to hike to Baxter Peak via Cathedral trail in 2016 and only made it half-way before running out of steam. A year later, and after some much needed physical training we successfully climbed Katahdin via Cathedral trail, hiked/scrambled along Knife Edge trail and down Helon Taylor. This was the most rewarding hike I have ever completed. The views were spectacular and the park staff was very friendly. If you decide to do this hike, be sure to stop at Chimney Pond to take in the view from there as well. If you have the slightest fear of heights, Knife's edge is not for you.
    Holmdel Village, NJ
    Trailblazer | 537 pts
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    This review describes the second half of a combination hike of two unforgettable day hikes. Two days after completing the Franconia Ridge Loop, we took the old jalopy up into Maine, to tackle the Knife Edge. We stayed at the venerable Baxter Park Inn.
    We set out in darkness, as I wanted to make it to the trailhead by Dawn, with plans to make it to the Pond by Sunrise. The weather was perfect! We weren't. I took too many breaks, as usual. We got to the pond by 9:30 am. The ranger hut was occupied, and told us that we would likely be in darkness if we were to go up the Cathedral Trail to Baxter Peak, across the KE to Pamola, and then down via the Helon Taylor. No problem!
    The Cathedral trail rivals Huntington Ravine in scrambling. The views are amazing. Danielle shed a few tears on the way up. I shed a bunch of calories. Bill was in his usual Gazelle mode, and was taking pics while drinking various purchased liquids.
    Baxter Peak always is quite the accomplishment. We had some cheese and jerky, then contemplated the Edge. After ascending the Cathedrals, we were pretty satiated with adventure. Then there's the KE. No argument- we had to do it!
    We were blessed- not a crosswind over 20 knots in any direction. The uh-oh moments were predictable, yet not too precarious. That is, not until the downclimb before Pamola!
    Once we reached Pamola, we were exhausted! The sun was starting to cast shadows ahead of us towards Chimney pond. I almost wished I had packed enough gear to spend the night up above treeline- it was so beautiful. The surrounding mountains and terrain were truly showing off for us. We descended into treeline as the sky turned from azure to violet, then finally to black. On came the headlights, except for mine, which had spent batteries! Small problem.
    We eventually made it back, but were too late to celebrate that evening. That was fine; the hike itself was celebration enough.
    York, ME
    Explorer | 40 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    What a spectacular hike. I parked at Roaring Brook Camp Ground and took Helon Taylor to Knife Edge to Saddle to Chimney Pond Trails for a 9.85 mile circuit, Weather was unusually beautiful. And to top it all off I met a moose in the trail just below Chimney Pond!
    Davis Island, FL
    Pathfinder | 156 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    What can you say - maybe the best trail in the East?

    Expansive views and the knife edge is spectacular. Not a good place to be in rain or lightning storm though.
    Adventurer | 481 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    This is the best most difficult hike I have ever done so far. We stayed overnite at Roaring Brook Camp area. The weather was partly cloudy and in the 40s. We used the Helon Taylor trail up it is a tough and rocky trail. You will need your hands to climb up. It snowed alittle and the wind was increasing. Got to Pamola and it cleared up in time for knife edge the views where the best I have ever seen on the east side of the Mississippi. We took knife edge very slow because of the wind using your hands and alot of rock hopping. Made it to Baxter peak by mid day. We decided to take the Saddle trail back down to merge with Chimney Pond trail this was steep in the beginning then a steady rocky desent down. Bring at least 3 liters of water with you, you will need it. The last 2 hours on this hike was in the dark using head lamps. Have fun it is worth the pain!!
    Norht East, PA
    Adventurer | 231 pts
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    The views from the top are incredible and well worth the difficult climb. Don't under estimate the difficulty of this trip. The trial is well marked, but you can rarely take a normal step on it without climbing over or around a rock. The climb up the mountian and the knifes edge are like climbing across a big rock pile. It is the best and most difficult hike I have ever done.
    Brewer, ME
    Pathfinder | 90 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    Great Hike. Did it at night to avoid the crowds made the summit 45 minutes before sunrise. The Knifes Edge is a bit freaky by headlamp. Have fun
    Gardiner, ME
    Explorer | 30 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    The morning started around 4 am as we left our camp site at South Branch Pond in Baxter State Park. You should be in the Roaring Brook Parking lot by 6 or 6:30am because it fills quickly. We took the Helon Taylor trail up which was a difficult hike. Many parts are hand over hand climbing once at pamola peak we crossed over the Knife Edge. This was one of the best views I have ever seen, some parts of the trail are literally 2 feet wide with a 3,000 foot drop on either side. Once over the Knife Edge you are at Baxter Peak and have a couple choices of which trail to take back down the mountain. Overall it took us 8 hours at a leizurely pace. Bring about 75 to 100 oz of water, I had 70 and ran out at Baxter Peak. Enjoy the hike!

    More Katahdin Via the Knife Edge Professional Guides

    Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

    "Steeped in Native American lore and legend, Mount Katahdin has inspired people for countless centuries. Rising like a large island above the flat valleys and lesser peaks surrounding it, the mountain’s headwalls and deep ravines are like no other. The rugged beauty of Mount Katahdin has lured visitors, experienced and novice hikers alike, for over 200 years. While many visitors underestimate the physical and natural challenges the mountain presents, those who are prepared and successfully complete the journey will have memories that last a lifetime." Read more

    Trail Information

    Nearby City
    4,152 feet
    Elevation Gain
    Trail Type
    Skill Level
    8-10 hours
    DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer maps 50 and 51; Katahdin Lake; Baxter State Park.
    Local Maps

    Trail Log