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  1. #1

    Default hike the AT in BSP questions

    I thought I asked about some of this before but I can't find the thread. Please accept that I overthink some things. I use the excuse that its a long drive and I would like to be as prepared as possible.

    I've been reading the Baxter State Park web site and 2021 SoBo’s Guide to Baxter and Katahdin and contemplating my plans. In general, I would like to stay at a hotel in Millinocket, drive to BSP and hike Katahdin, then spend the night at a hotel in Millinocket again. I see that I can make a parking reservation in BSP. I see that the gates open at 6am and parking reservations may be lost if one arrives after 7am. I also see a permit to hike Hunt/AT trail is needed. I see "AT Hiker Permit Cards must be secured in person at Katahdin Stream Campground." I see that I should not begin hiking until after the 7am weather report is posted.

    So my questions:

    1. Is someone available at the Katahdin Stream Campground to issue a hiking permit at 6am, or maybe 6:30am with drive time? Is there typically a long line or is this a 5 minute process? Is it better to get the permit a day in advance? This may require adding an extra day of travel but I can plan for it if necessary. I assume hiking Katahdin on a weekday would be less crowded than on a weekend.

    2. My thought is to hike either the middle two weeks of July or the middle two weeks of August. This will include BSP and the HMW. Is one month better than the other? I'm thinking weather, bugs, traffic, crowds, etc. I'm planning to avoid July 4th traffic.

    Next day:
    3. If I decide to hike the AT from the Katahdin Stream Campground to the Abol Stream Store, is a parking permit necessary? I gather only the Katahdin trailheads have parking issues. This would only be done if I have a partner to key swap with.

    4. If I decide to hike from the Katahdin Stream Campground into the HMW, what total distance would I need to cover to get to a camp site in the HMW?

    Thank you.

  2. #2


    Unless the rules have changed this year as day hiker in the park entering the gate you do not need a permit to climb any trail in BSP. The rangers can close the trails for safety reasons. The AT permit is specific to through hikers who have entered the park via the AT at Abol Bridge. The day use pass available on line or at the park office or at the gate and the "road fee" charged to out of state car owners is all you need. There is no prohibition about starting earlier than 7 AM. I recommend it highly fro those hikign in from the east side of the mountain (from Roaring Brook). Since you are there to do the AT you will be starting from the west side. You can do a loop with road walk and go up the Hunt Trail and then down Abol (with a dusty road walk at the end of the day back to your car).

    Parking permits are only for three lots Katahdin Stream, Abol and Roaring Brook which are the three trailhead to the summit. Even if you do not want to climb Katahdin if you want to park at Katahdin Stream you need to get a day use parking reservation. Parking in any of the other lots in BSP do not require parking but none are close enough to make it convenient for a person with one car but if you have key swap buddy then you could park at Daicey Pond and do a hike out to Abol bridge and then come back and do the approx 3 mile walk through the woods on the AT to KSC.

    KSC is reserved for Maine native tribes on Labor day. July and August is peak season. Mosquitoes get less and less as the summer goes on and things dry out. It can be brutally hot either month.

    The first campsite in the 100 MW is Hurd Brook I do not have my mileage table. There is also a primative campground just out the park boundary on the river near Abol Bridge.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Upstate NY


    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The first campsite in the 100 MW is Hurd Brook I do not have my mileage table. There is also a primative campground just out the park boundary on the river near Abol Bridge.
    Looks like 4.2 miles from the boundary to that site, or 13.4 miles from the KSC (base of the mountain) to that site.

  4. #4


    If staying in town you may want to look into using a shuttle. Reservations would likely be a good idea so you know the plan. Otherwise, two nights at Katahdin Stream is a great option if you can find a reservation for your dates. Camp, hike Katahdin, camp and then hike out to Hurd Brook the next day.
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

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  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date


    The AT Lodge in Millinocket is a hostel, not a hotel, but is first class all the way. They will shuttle you into BSP and can tell you anything & everything you need to know.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

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