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  1. #1
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    Default Questions on Baxter permits

    I want to go to Baxter around the last week of September, after the summer heat and crowds are gone and before possible trail closures become possible. I have some questions about parking and permits.

    1. Do I need a parking permit for short hike like Sandy Stream Pond in evening? If I have a permit for Roaring Brook for the day, can I leave and come back to the same parking spot?

    2. Is it possible for a friend to drop me off at the trailhead instead of requiring a permit?

    3. I'm from New Hampshire so I can only make reservations 2 weeks before my trip. If I wait until I have parking permits to make hotel reservations, am I going to have problems finding rooms? I'm interested at staying at Big Moose Inn or Cabins. Will it be difficult to get a parking permit for that time of the year only 2 weeks in advance?

    4. Is getting in the park for parking around Abol and Round ponds possible? How do they know people who enter don't hike and park at one of the 3 lots needing reservations? If those first come first serve parking lots fill up, where do people park?

  2. #2

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    The park web site should answer those questions, but I believe you have to pay to get into the park regardless. If parking is full up, they won't let you in. Simple as that.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
    I want to go to Baxter around the last week of September, after the summer heat and crowds are gone and before possible trail closures become possible. I have some questions about parking and permits.

    1. Do I need a parking permit for short hike like Sandy Stream Pond in evening? If I have a permit for Roaring Brook for the day, can I leave and come back to the same parking spot? Technically yes, the reality is they manage the limited parking at Roaring Brook in the AM when dayhikers and campers from other campgrounds flood the area, later on in the day when day hikers have started leaving the lots they dont seem to manage the lot as there is space. The park staff are real helpful, so feel free to ask about a drive to Roaring Brook later in the day when you get there

    2. Is it possible for a friend to drop me off at the trailhead instead of requiring a permit?They have allowed that in the past

    3. I'm from New Hampshire so I can only make reservations 2 weeks before my trip. If I wait until I have parking permits to make hotel reservations, am I going to have problems finding rooms? I'm interested at staying at Big Moose Inn or Cabins. Will it be difficult to get a parking permit for that time of the year only 2 weeks in advance? Dont stress about it especially if you go any other day except Saturday possibly Sunday, park usage goes way down that time of year. I would make the reservations and get the permits when you can

    4. Is getting in the park for parking around Abol and Round ponds possible? How do they know people who enter don't hike and park at one of the 3 lots needing reservations? If those first come first serve parking lots fill up, where do people park?Not typically an issue especially in late September
    Yes if you or someone drives in the Togue Pond gate someone has to pay $15 for road pass unless the car had Maine plates.

    I think you are making comparisons between what you see in the whites and what you may see at BSP, there is no comparison. Its huge wilderness preserve several hours away from major population centers. Unless you hit the place in late august on a weekend you generally are not limited for options. By late September the leaves are frequently on the ground and folks have headed elsewhere.

  4. #4

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    No problem getting a DUPR that time of year, even during high use periods you can get a two hour 'moose pass' in late afternoon. Plan for a weekday visit to avoid crowds.

    If you have a DUPR you can't leave the Park and reuse it. Rangers staff the lots on peak mornings, and radio the gatehouse when they fill up. Yes you can get dropped off. Vehicle info is recorded by the gate staff, and is on your dash pass. Vehicles that park illegally get towed or booted.

    Have fun!
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    No problem getting a DUPR that time of year, even during high use periods you can get a two hour 'moose pass' in late afternoon. Plan for a weekday visit to avoid crowds.

    If you have a DUPR you can't leave the Park and reuse it. Rangers staff the lots on peak mornings, and radio the gatehouse when they fill up. Yes you can get dropped off. Vehicle info is recorded by the gate staff, and is on your dash pass. Vehicles that park illegally get towed or booted.

    Have fun!
    in a world full of acronyms...sorry...but what is DUPR?

  6. #6

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    Day Use Parking Reservation.

    It applies only to the three Katahdin trailheads. Katahdin Stream, Abol and Roaring Brook. It was put in place mostly as a means of limiting day use of Katahdin. The summit still can get crowded if all the lots are full but it does limit the crowding somewhat. Folks with camping reservations anywhere else in the park do not need one but if they are camping elsewhere in the park and day hike Katahdin they need to get to the lots before they are full which can mean a very early start especially if they want to start at Roaring Brook as its long (time wise) drive. Dependent on where they are in the park 1 to 2.5 hours which has to be done prior to the gate opening at Togue pond, this can sometimes be 4 AM wakeup call. Some folks who are paranoid about getting a DUPR book a "throwaway" tentsite or bunkspace in the cabin at Roaring Brook the night of the day hike which allows them to book 3 months in advance. They then do the day hike and then leave the park. They do not get their money back for the tentsite but once.

    Sure the park could stuff in more people and long lines of cars along the road like the whites and ADKs but the intent is try to limit the number people on the summit each day. Prior to the DUPR, folks would just line up at the gate with their cars the night before and hope they could get parking space before they were full, once the lots were full they had to go elsewhere in the park where there still is some very nice hiking. Doubletop and the Coe Brothers loop come to mind.

    The other thing is getting to the park from even Millinocket is a drive in the morning Katahdin from the Roaring Brook side is best started before sunrise as when the sun does pop up over the horizon in the AM, it lights up the east side of the mountain. Photographers call it the Golden Hour. Far better to grab a tentsite at Roaring Brook and get an early start before the morning "bubble" of day hikers come stampeding through.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies. Been busy reading up on trails and such.

    Got another question if anyone is still reading this. The $15 fee/pass for non-Mainers to get in, how long does it last? A week? A day?

  8. #8
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    I went up to Baxter in early October 2019.

    I spent the night in Millinocket. Got to the gate at BSP at 525am. I was the second car in line. Gate opened promply at 0600. By opening time there had to have been at least 20 cars behind me I could see.

    $15. Drove to Roaring Brook. Did a big loop. And was out of the park by 330pm.

    Just one man's experience.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
    Thanks for the replies. Been busy reading up on trails and such.

    Got another question if anyone is still reading this. The $15 fee/pass for non-Mainers to get in, how long does it last? A week? A day?
    Good question. I searched the website and its not obvious and didnt come up with a search. The road use fee used to be listed in the rules but the version currently listed does not. So I am working on past experience. If you have reservations in the park and have out of state plates, you pay the $15 road fee for the duration of your visit. You can come and go out of the park during your visit on the same pass. If you are staying outside the park it gets expensive. I believe (but can not confirm) that you need to pay the $15 every day even if you are going multiple days in a row. You can buy a "seasons pass" which I believe is $40 which covers an entire season. Obviously if you are going multiple days in a row the economics mean 3 days and the season pass is the better deal. Its important to note, the road fee is in addition to the DUPR. Also note that bring cash for the gate.

    Do note that Fastfox's experience is decidedly a very fast hike. His experience at the gate is typical during the week. If the DUPRs havent sold out (typical during the week) then any open slots go to those waiting in line once the gate opens (usually 6AM). If the DUPRs have been sold out, people without them have to wait until 7 AM. At 7 AM anyone who did buy a pass lose their space and those in line are let in until all the slots are filled in. Note the DUPRs are lot specific, the most popular lot for hiking due to its logical access to the Knife's Edge is Roaring Brook. (its the logical one to park at if you need both Katahdin and Hamlin) The next most popular seems to be Katahdin Stream with Abol the last. Unless you know your hiking pace in similar rocky conditions is much faster than the general public, plan on spending a few hours longer on the trails. Many folks take 12 hours.

    It should be obvious that when added all up visiting the park for multiple days while staying outside the park is a expensive proposition with a lot of driving. If you are checking off the NE 100 list, its a minimum of two potentially long hiking days to grab Katahdin Hamlin one day and the Coe Brothers and Fort loop the next (think Mt Washington with Eisenhower throw in one day, Zealand to Lincoln Woods Zealand West Bond Bond Bondcliff the next). Most would want a day off or shorter hike in between but many make the death march to get the lists checked off in two days in row. Far easier to make reservations in the park. Plan on being a bit of road zombie if you try to drive home to North Conway after the second days hike (Been there done that to Gorham NH)
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-13-2020 at 07:25.

  10. #10
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    I agree the site isn't clear on how long the $15 fee lasts. I'll be in the area for 4-5 days, so I'll probably get the season pass.

    I have 2 planned hikes up Katahdin. One is up Hunt to Baxter, down Saddle a short ways, Baxter Cut Off to get back down Hunt. Second is up Chimney and make a loop up Saddle, up to Hamlin, then down Hamlin Ridge.

    Due to being in the park long enough and 2 hikes up Katahdin, I'll maximize the 3 allowed DUPR reservations. I assume I still need a DUPR for an early morning hike to Sandy Stream Pond (sunrise photography), which I'm hoping to do on a 3rd day.

    In response to your warnings about having enough time, I am a fast hiker, but some of the trail descriptions on Katahdin sound even rockier/rougher than the Presidentials. For possible comparison, I completed the Bond traverse from Zealand in about 9 hours, and that's with time for enjoying the views and taking photos. It was hard leaving Bondcliff, so gorgeous up there!

  11. #11
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    A fresh pair of hiking shoes is my #1 recommendation for Katahdin.

    *I also did hike Katahdin pretty fast. I did a loop with pamola, Baxter, hamlin.

    Majority of hikers wouldnt have been able or wanted to stay my pace. I didn't stop much at all

    I'd rather stay a night after the hike than before lol. Driving to Conway after hiking Katahdin would be more dangerous than doing knifes edge in the rain
    Last edited by fastfoxengineering; 01-13-2020 at 11:26.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
    I agree the site isn't clear on how long the $15 fee lasts. I'll be in the area for 4-5 days, so I'll probably get the season pass.

    I have 2 planned hikes up Katahdin. One is up Hunt to Baxter, down Saddle a short ways, Baxter Cut Off to get back down Hunt. Second is up Chimney and make a loop up Saddle, up to Hamlin, then down Hamlin Ridge.

    Due to being in the park long enough and 2 hikes up Katahdin, I'll maximize the 3 allowed DUPR reservations. I assume I still need a DUPR for an early morning hike to Sandy Stream Pond (sunrise photography), which I'm hoping to do on a 3rd day.

    In response to your warnings about having enough time, I am a fast hiker, but some of the trail descriptions on Katahdin sound even rockier/rougher than the Presidentials. For possible comparison, I completed the Bond traverse from Zealand in about 9 hours, and that's with time for enjoying the views and taking photos. It was hard leaving Bondcliff, so gorgeous up there!
    Just remember all plans change the second you step out of the car Since you are local to the whites I included the whites comparisons. I did the Baxter Peak Cut off for the first time after close to 40 plus years visiting the park. Even on a nice busy day in the park it gets little use. Very similar footing to Alpine Garden trail. Flat rocks but not of lot of rock hopping like Gulfside just make sure you fill up at Caribou Spring as there is no water on the Cut off and Thoreau Spring is usually a muddy puddle. I highly recommend switching your second day to go to Chimney pond and then up Cathedral to the summit then down to the Saddle junction then up Hamlin and down Hamlin Ridge (you will be blown away by Hamlin Ridge it really doesn't get the PR it deserves. Cathedral is steep but plenty of things to grab onto and step on. I have nothing much good to say about Saddle except that it gets you down under cover in bad weather quickly. It a loose slide and gets a lot of traffic which means folks above you can inadvertently let loose projectiles that zing past your head at high rate of speed. Sort of like the south slide of the Tripyramids. If you are comfortable on Lions Head or Huntington's there is nothing more difficult on your proposed hikes. The Knifes Edge is far more about exposure but some spots will remind you of Huntington's or Six Husbands and the Chimney has one near vertical wall climb (plenty of surface features to grab onto and step on and one steep spot that is bit hairy due to lack of visibility). Yup you need a DUPR the third day. Sunrise is potentially incredible from that side of the mountain as it lights up the ravines when the sun rises very far to the east. The tough part is that if its busy weekend it takes quite awhile to process all the cars in line, sometimes 30 minutes to an hour. That means that with the 20 minute drive to Roaring Brook you may miss sunrise. The only way to guarantee sunrise is stay in the park at Roaring Brook or get in line quite early in the AM before the gate is open.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the suggestion on Cathedral, that does sound like a better option.

    I haven't climbed Lions Head or Huntington's. No desire to do Huntington, just sounds horrible. I'll try to do Lion's Head this summer to get an idea of what Katahdin may be like.

  14. #14

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    FYI the views from the top of the two lower Cathedrals are hard to beat as long as you dont mind shear drop offs. Another good prep hike is the upper Castle trail going up Jefferson (above the Link junction).

    Lions Head is good practice. Huntington's is definitely an acquired taste In some ways its more difficult than the trails you are planning on Katahdin.

  15. #15
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    My brother will be in Maine in March. Does anyone know the trails to climb Mt. Katahdin are likely to be open then? Thanks!
    Flatfoot, Ga->Me 2013

  16. #16
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    The trails will be open for "winter use." In March, they will not resemble the trails of summer hiking. They will still be covered in snow and ice. If your brother is familiar with snow and ice climbing, have him check out the Baxter State Park website to see if it is something he wants to do. The information can be found here: https://baxterstatepark.org/winter-basics/

    If your brother is interested in hiking the trail without snow, he might want to return at the beginning of June.

  17. #17

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    March is definitely winter conditions. You need full technical gear and have to apply in advance with a group. The roads into the park are closed so even visiting requires a several mile ski/snowshoe just to get in the park. Acadia National Park might be a far better option. Its still early season but the way this winter is going up in Maine it may have some trails that are melted out. Definitely much better to wait until June at the earliest.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the replies guys! He's definitely not a snow/ice guy. We both grew up and live in Louisiana and rarely see snow. I'll give him the bad news.

    Thanks again for the replies!
    Flatfoot, Ga->Me 2013

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