BSP / IAT Loop Plans

Option 1(7 Nights): Similar to the loop I did in ’15 but adding in a night at Davis Pond and Katahdin summit, weather permitting.

Mileage compressed in elevation profiles. Total is likely 80+ miles

This route follows the first two days as before then on day 3 follows a wet trail with a slippery climb near the end and a night at Davis Pond as the reward. Day 4 starts with a steep climb up to the tablelands, then a totally exposed approach to the Katahdin summit followed by dropping down into the bowl right below the peak for a night at Chimney Pond. Day 6 rejoins the previous itin with a night at Katahdin Lake and follows it to the conclusion. That Davis reservation can be hard to score, so can’t promise anything heh.

Day 1: Drive up, park on lot next to road and walk into Baxter. Check in at gate, go over Horse Mt and camp at either Long Pond (prettier) or a few miles on at Middle Fowler to cut miles the next day. Both are tent sites.

Day 2: Option to hit Barrel Ridge for a view or skip it and make miles. Pass through South Branch campground area then around Upper and Lower South Branch Ponds before heading on to Pogy Pond. Lean To site.

Day 3: Pass through Russell Pond campground deep inside the park. Stop to say hi to the ranger if they are home because it makes them happy then head out to Davis Pond. Some wet trail for sure and one ice cold, knee deep crossing before reaching the slippery slope up to Davis. Never climbed it but coming the other way is bad heh, this way has to be better. Davis is a killer Lean To site.

Day 4: Steep, wet climb right out of the box but then you get to spend hours crossing the tablelands heading towards Katahdin. Options to summit Hamlin and/or Katahdin depending on time, weather and legs. Steep but short descent off the tablelands towards Chimney Pond either way. Heading down towards Roaring Brook via the Knife Edge may sound fun, but dangerous with a full pack and adds a lot of miles to an already challenging day. Chimney Pond is a small collection of 9 Lean To sites and a bunkhouse that sit right below the mountain. Beautiful spot, but you have to share the space with lots of people, at least by my standards heh.

Day 5: Rocky descent to Roaring Brook, bit of a road walk, then flat forest walk on old logging road bed. Casual day after the peaks. Big 6 man Lean To site on the south shore of Katahdin Lake. Canoes, fishing, swimming depending on season.

Day 6: Cross through the Baxter boundary and road walk up to the IAT terminus. I have this day mapped as ending at the Lunksoos Lean To, but there is no one out there to enforce the camp at sites only rule so we could stop where we want so long as we make water arrangements.

Day 7: Mix of trails and old logging roads, at times near the East Branch of the Penobscot. Pretty flat from here to where we parked. Grand Pitch Lean To has some nice fishing near by and doesn’t require a fire permit to build a cook fire.

Day 8: Trail turns to gravel road for the last few miles. Place near where we parked has big ice cream cones if needed. Long drive home.

Option 2(7 Nights): Same loop as Option 1, but different starting point at the southern terminus of the IAT. This moves the big climb to towards the end of the trip as opposed to in the middle.

Mileage compressed in elevation profiles. Total is likely 80+ miles

This puts the big climb later in the trip. It also puts us in the most populated part of the route later in the trip with one last quiet night at the end. The first option gives us the length of the IAT to mellow out after being in the populated area. No right answers, just options!

Option 3(9 Nights): Fantasy trip that takes Option 1 and takes us from Pogy Pond to Wassataquoik Island for a two night stay before heading on to Davis Pond and the rest of the loop.


Mileage compressed in elevation profiles. Total is likely 85+ miles

The island site is only open in the late season, so not an option for earlier in the Summer. You paddle out to the island in a canoe. The extra day there is for paddling around the lake, fishing, or just enjoying your own private island. Between the limited availability due to loon nesting and the need for both the island and Davis to be available on the right days this is a hard one to put together. There is another option for a site a bit farther along the shore of Wass Lake, very pretty, but a rugged couple of miles of trail and you have a beach instead of an island. Open all season and easier to score the reservation.

Either way it bumps Day 4 of the Option 1 itin to Day 6. Day 3 is a pretty casual hike to the lake even if we have to go to the second site. Day 4 is for rest, canoeing or a day hike up to the view above the lake. Day 5 is a few miles of heading back to Russell Pond and then picks up the trail to Davis Pond.

Links to previous Baxter trips that show some of the areas along the loop:

Pogy Pond Wassataquoik Lake Baxter with the Boys 2017

Pogy Pond and the Wass Lake site described in Option 3

Baxter State Park Chimney/Davis/Russell/Wassataquoik Stream Loop Adventure Report

Looping the other direction but shows Chimney, Katahdin and Davis Pond.

Six Day Family Baxter Trip August 2017

Includes a night at the Wassataquoik Island site.