5 Amazing Katahdin Area Day Hikes. Northern Maine’s best features are its wilderness, waters, and mountains. And there is no better way to fully immerse yourself in those places than to hike along some of the state’s greatest trails. And, just in case you missed it, be sure to check out our article, Climbing Katahdin: A Quick Guide to Maine’s Greatest Mountain.
Today, we highlight five amazing trails in the Katahdin area, all of which can be completed in a day hike. For more information on any of Maine’s trails, including a great interactive mapping feature, check out the Maine Trail Finder online.
Seboeis River Trail
Length: 2.2 miles, round trip
Amazing Features: The gorge and Seboeis Grand Pitch cascade; Wild brook trout
The Seboeis River Trail is a relatively easy hike along the river to its confluence with Shin Brook. There you’ll find a little picnic area. Looking upstream, you’ll see the river’s gorge and the Grand Pitch cascade. Downstream you’ll see Sugarloaf Mountain off in the distance. The hike to this amazing site takes you right along the river’s edge in a number of places where you can take in long river views in both directions from atop rocky outcroppings.
This hike offers an added bonus for fishermen. The Seboeis River is well known for its run of wild Eastern Brook Trout.
Horse Mountain Trail
Length: 3.0 miles, round trip
Fees: Baxter State Park access fees apply
Amazing Features: Views from almost 1,600 feet
The Horse Mountain Trail is located inside Baxter State Park. Per park rules, you’ll need to check in at the gatehouse. If you have anything other than Maine license plates on your car, you’ll also need to pay the park entrance fee (see the website for more information).
But once you’re inside, this trail more than makes it worth it. Along this relatively moderate hike up the 1,589-foot Horse Mountain are two overlooks. The first, 1.2 miles up, is on a side trail and offers a magnificent view of the East Branch Penobscot River valley.
Once you reach the summit after climbing 796 feet in 1.4 miles, you’ll find a view dominated by Mt. Chase, The Traveler, and Matagamon Lake. The summit has a mix of trees and open ledges so the views aren’t 360 degrees, but they’re nonetheless amazing.
Owl’s Head Trail
Length: 4.0 miles, round trip
Amazing Features: Remoteness and unique location
The Owl’s Head Trail is located in the Scraggly Lake Public Reserved Land, a 9,000 acre forest management area. The trail is accessible either by paddling the 836-acre Scraggly Lake, or by navigating miles of privately owned logging roads.
The Owl’s Head itself is actually a high knob on a peninsula that juts out into the lake. The summit of the knob offers great views of the vast forests northeast of Baxter State Park. The remoteness of the area makes it a great place to see wildlife and experience real wilderness. The tradeoff is that cell phones seldom work way up there.
Grand Pitch Trail
Length: 8.4 miles, round trip
Amazing Features: The waterfalls. Four of them.
Part of the International Appalachian Trail (AT), the Grand Pitch Trail follows part of the East Branch Penobscot River in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The key feature of this route is the four waterfalls, or pitches found along the river. Of those, the most remarkable is Grand Pitch, the tallest falls on that section of the river.
The Grand Pitch Trailhead is inaccessible in winter but during the three seasons you can hike it, it’s a great place to see wildlife and catch fish. The East Branch is also popular among North Maine anglers.
This more strenuous hike can be completed in a long day but there are overnight options nearby. These include isolated riverside campsites, lean-to’s, and one reservable camping hut. There are some regulations regarding camping in the Monument so be sure to check the website in advance.
Wassataquoik Overlook Trail
Length: 12.8 miles, round trip
Amazing Features: Panoramic views of Wassataquoik Valley and Baxter State Park
The Wassataquoik Overlook Trail is the most difficult trail on this list. At 6.4 miles one way, it’s a bit of a haul, especially considering you’ll climb about 1,000’ in just the last 2.4 miles. But once you’re up to the overlook, it will all be worth it. The view of the Wassataquoik Valley framed by Sable Mountain and Traveler Peak is truly something to behold. The valley descends from Baxter State Park and passes through Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument on its way to the East Branch Penobscot River. Other mountains occupying the stunning view include North Turner and Deasey Mountains.
This trail is open to both hiking and mountain biking and there is one hut along the trail for reserved overnight stays. Again, check online for on-trail lodging information.
All of these trails, an many more, are a short drive away from Camp Katahdin, your headquarters for adventures in North Maine.
Katahdin Area Lodging
A great basecamp for your next adventure. Our Denney Lodge sleeps 15, our updated 1800’s Farmhouse sleeps 8 comfortably, and our remodled cabin sleeps 7 – with all the amenities from home. All Camp Katahdin lodging sits right on ATV and snowmobile trails, no license needed, 7 days a week pheasant hunting, a private shooting pavilion and more. Read more here: