Logistics For Starting A Southbound Thru-hike
Starting your hike
- The Appalachian Trail follows the Hunt Trail up Katahdin. It starts from Katahdin Stream Campground.
- Baxter State Park opens Katahdin only when snow has melted and conditions in the alpine zone can sustain hikers. This date can vary from the end of May to the beginning of June.
- We recommend staying two nights (before and after your Katahdin climb) in Baxter State Park, Millinocket, or a combination. Southbound hikers must make reservations before arriving in Baxter State Park. The reservation website is here. The Birches campsite is for northbound hikers only.
- If you are driving into the Park and hiking Katahdin as a day hike, you should consider getting a day use parking permit from Baxter State Park ahead of time. There is no guarantee that you will be able to park at Katahdin Stream Campground to start your hike if you show up without a parking permit on the day you intend to hike.
- Southbound hikers need to register for a A.T. hiker permit at Katahdin Stream Campground. Check in at the ranger station to register.
- You can also drop your backpack and borrow a day pack from the rangers for your hike up Katahdin. We highly recommend using a day pack for your Katahdin hike.
- There is no potable water in Baxter State Park. You should treat or filter all water from the Park and from backcountry sources along the A.T. You can fill (and treat or filter) your water bottles from Katahdin Stream.
- You must pack out all trash. There are no public trash receptacles in Baxter State Park.
- Dogs are not allowed in Baxter State Park. There are kennels in Millinocket that can take your dog.
Into the 100 Mile Wilderness
- The A.T. runs through Katahdin Stream Campground then enters the woods again across the Park Tote road from the Katahdin Stream Campground sign. The Trail skirts Elbow and Daicey ponds and follows the Nesowadnehunk Stream to the Penobscot River. This section is mellow, but there are two stream crossings of Nesowadnehunk Stream, which can be high. There is a high water bypass trail that avoids the fords. The trail leaves Baxter State Park when it crosses Abol Stream just north of Abol Bridge 9 miles from Katahdin Stream Campground. You cannot camp outside of designated campgrounds in Baxter State Park. The next A.T. campsite is Hurd Brook Lean-to, another 4 miles south.
- The 100 Mile Wilderness is one of the most remote sections of the A.T. There are no public road crossings until you get to Monson, 100 miles from Abol Bridge. There are logging roads at various points along the way.
- You should be prepared to hike 7-10 days. Know how much food you require per day before you start your hike. Resupplies and gear drops are difficult in this section.
- You will be figuring out your hiking style in this section. Allow yourself the time to find whatever style best suits you.
- Cell phone service is limited. High points and some lakeshores have service for some carriers.
- Monson is a great A.T. Community to resupply and recover from the beginning of your hike. There are multiple hostels and restaurants.
- Stop in at the Monson A.T. Visitor Center, open 8:00-11:00 and 1:00-5:00 seven days a week from June through mid-October, to catch up on trail information and learn more about the next section of Trail.