Katahdin Thru-Hiker Alert
Baxter State Park

What you need to know for your entry into Baxter State Park


Mount Katahdin


Overnight Camping


Until October 15:

At Baxter State Park’s Long-Distance Hikers site, “The Birches” near Katahdin Stream Campground : Visitors hiking at least 100 continuous miles and arriving at Baxter State Park without reservations may stay at “The Birches” site (limited to one night stay), which has a capacity of no more than 12 (two 4-person lean-tos and one tent platform). Standard per person, park-wide fee applies. Large groups or commercial entities will not use The Birches, but will use their advance knowledge of trip itineraries to work with the Baxter State Park reservation system.

At Katahdin Stream Campground : There are no Thru-Hiker designated sites, but you may check with any ranger you see for availability of a regular public site (at regular fee). Availability is least likely in August and on fall weekends, most likely mid-week after Labor Day.

Reservations for regular campground sites (not The Birches), 10 or fewer days before the desired date, can be made using credit cards over the phone — call Park Headquarters at (207) 723-5140. However, as has always been the case, ranger stations INSIDE the Park, DO NOT ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS. The Park does not allow “work for fee” camping or other discounts. Please take care of all your food, supply and payment needs before entering.


After October 15:

There is NO overnight camping ANYWHERE within the Park, so you will need to :


  • Camp at the private Abol Bridge Campground OR 
  • Stay at the Maine DOC Abol Pines Campsite just downriver of Abol Bridge. Both charge fees.

There are no other options for authorized overnight camping near the trail after October 15. Your hike to the summit is thus 15 miles (one way) from this area outside the Park. Most late hikers end up staying in a motel in Millinocket instead, and hire a taxi to shuttle them in and out of the Park on the day of their hike.

Hikers winding through a boulder field on Katahdin's Hump



Your Climb of Katahdin


Until October 15:

No restrictions unless a Class III Day (some trails closed) or IV Day (all trails closed at trailheads) is declared in the morning, when all climbing is prohibited.

A Class III or IV Day is declared when there are dangers and risks to (1) Hikers, (2) Those who may have to be called on for Search and Rescue efforts, and (3) the fragile alpine environment itself.

After October 15:

The Park is open for Day Use only (sunrise to sunset) to ALL hikers (regular visitors as well as Thru-Hikers), conditions permitting. Again, restrictions apply on Class III Days and no climbing is allowed on Class IV Days, which are more frequently declared at that time of the year due to ice and snow.

November 1:

Vehicular access to the Park usually ends completely by November 1 or whenever conditions that pose a threat to personal safety or the resource have locked in for the season.

The Appalachian Trail Conference, the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, and the Park all strongly recommend you complete your climb of Katahdin before October 15 — after that, there is too high of a risk of winter conditions and increased likelihood of harm to the environment.

If you do not feel you can reach Katahdin by that date, you may wish to “Flip Flop,” climbing Katahdin earlier and returning to the rest of your hike afterwards.

For further details to help you plan your visit to the Park, please ask for the Baxter State Park Thru-hiking Brochure by contacting the Park or private hostels and campgrounds along the trail in New Hampshire and Maine. Contents include: BSP’s philosophy of management, arrangements for pets, meeting friends/family in the Park, terrain conditions and Class Days, mail and messages, and much more.

Baxter State Park

(207) 723-5140