View Full Version : visiting Baxter

wayward son
09-06-2014, 11:47 PM
My wife and myself will be annually camping in Acadia this Oct. As a day trip, we would like to visit Baxter State Park to see Katahdin and hopefully moose. Unfortunately, my wife is not much of a hiker. Her speed is Acadia's carriage roads and not tough, rocky trails. Sometimes I can't say that I blame her. So is it possible to drive thru the park to catch views of Katahdin and moose at scenic overlooks? Relatively short, moderate walks would be ok for obtaining views of these plus those of deer, ponds, falls, etc. Are permits needed for all parking lots or just those designated for hiking Katahdin? Is my objective worthwhile for a day trip with limited hiking?

09-07-2014, 05:40 AM

Katahdin from Daicey Pond - it's about 45 minutes from the gate. You may have to walk up there (short walk, 5 minutes) if you aren't actually camping. Not sure about drive-up moose sightings. The park closes mid-October, so that may prevent you from even going.


09-07-2014, 06:15 AM
The views inside the park from the park roads are very limited but when you get them they are spectacular. 99% of the roads are narrow with trees right up to the edge of the road with no views. The views from the park road to Doubletop are worth it. There is a short (15 to 20 minutes) walk to Sandy Stream Pond from Roaring Brook. Sandy Stream Pond is where a large number of Maine moose photos are taken with several resident moose. The down side it Roaring Brook is on a long dead end. One of the nicer views is on I 95 north of the turn off for Baxter State Park between the Medway and the Sherman Mills Exit.

It is a quite a detour from Acadia. Figure 3 hours to the park gate from Acadia and 2 to 3 hours in the park. Thus you will be on the road for 8 to 9 hours. The park used to be closed on October 15th but there are some sites that are open a few weeks later so you may be able to get in there past October 15th.

Tom Rankin
09-07-2014, 08:33 AM
If you just want to lay eyes on Katahdin, you do not need to enter the park. After you leave Millinocket, you will start to see view of the peaks. There are a few lakes along the way that have great views of the park. There are people you can pay to take you to see moose (probably no guarantees).

Mike P.
09-07-2014, 09:51 AM
5047 Sandy Stream is almost a guarantee but it may not be wise to get this close.

wayward son
09-07-2014, 06:54 PM
Thanks guys for all the info. Very useful. I just need to decide if the overall time spent to take this trip is worth it or not. Plus, I will need to board my dog. But on the flip side, this is the closest I'll get to the park as I live in western NY and I always wanted to see Katahdin. Appreciate everyone's time to respond.

TJ aka Teej
09-07-2014, 10:56 PM
Wayward, think about visiting the Abol Bridge area on the Golden Road outside the Park. No need to board your dog, classic views from the bridge, and a flat hike to had at the start of the 100 Mile Wilderness. You can walk in to the Park boundary at Abol Stream via the AT for a postcard perfect view, too.

The Park does not close in mid-October. Camping season lasts til October 25th, and there's fine day hiking right up til November.

09-08-2014, 01:48 AM
In my experience, moose are much more plentiful in Sandy Stream Pond in the spring than in the fall.

09-08-2014, 06:43 AM
I checked the rules before I mentioned October 15... Didn't say day hiking closed, but I've heard the through-hikers worry about getting there in time.

1.2. Camping is permitted by reservation only and only in authorized campgrounds and campsites May 15 through October 15,


Where does it say October 25? Or later?


09-08-2014, 11:08 PM
Frankly, I don't think it is worth a day trip from Acadia just to spend a few hours in the Baxter Park area. First, there is no end to the things to do at Acadia so why lose a day there to spend ... mostly driving? I suggest dedicating at least a long weekend to Baxter Park and a visit with the nice people at the HQ in Millinocket. That will give you some familarity with the place, a chance for a couple hikes and/or paddles on the ponds (canoes available even at some remote ponds) and an opportunity to pick out your choices for overnight accomodations on a future longer stay. A sip of Baxter is not enough, it must be savored and then you'll appreciate why so many people return time after time.

TJ aka Teej
09-08-2014, 11:38 PM
Tim, there's an extended camping season this year at selected campgrounds and sites. Daicey and Kidney Ponds, Abol and Katahdin Stream campgrounds, and the Birches long distance hiker site. You're right about ATers, we caution them to aim for an arrival date of no later than Oct. 1st. Many late GAMErs have been flipping up from Monson in recent years and hiking south thru the 100 Mile after summiting.


wayward son
09-09-2014, 10:32 PM
Stan, all good and valid points. I totally agree about Acadia. We've been vacationing in Acadia almost every year since the late '80's. It still continues to amaze and impress me. I always see or experience something new. However, I have this yearning to visit Baxter and this would be the only time this year I would be able to do it. Perhaps next year I could plan a few days just for this purpose when we visit Maine again. We'll see how the spirit moves me when I get up there this year. TJ, thanks for providing alternatives for my canine buddy. Thanks to all who responded. Different thoughts and ideas are always welcomed.