Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine (Baxter State Park)

Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine (PhotoDisc)


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What to do in Baxter State Park

This fabulous wilderness was set aside by benefactor Percival Baxter who bought the glaciated logging land with the goal of preserving the territory from human destruction. Today, the 314 square miles of what is often called Maine's Yellowstone offers majestic nature and desolate grandeur with limited human comforts. Recreation falls second to preservation at Baxter State Park.

Baxter State Park offers limited facilities on over 200,000 acres of gorgeous wilderness. The park boasts 47 mountain peaks and ridges, 18 exceeding 3,000 feet above sea level. It is managed by a separate division from Maine Bureau of Parks. The administering agency is known as Baxter State Park Authority.

The former Governor, Percival Baxter, is quoted "where nature rules and where the creatures of the forest hold undisputed dominion." The benefit of his wisdom, insight and finances resulted in this remote and protected area in the upper region of America's East Coast.

The thousands of miles within the dense boreal forest offers an unsurpassed passed habitat for wildlife including large game such as moose, deer and black bear. It has only been within the last decade that reported sightings of mountain lion have come to exist since the early 20th century.

The remote splendor of Baxter State Park offers numerous fishing lakes and cold mountain streams. Mountain peaks, deciduous and pine forests, spectacular vistas, cascading waterfalls, fern and wildflower covered forest floors are characteristic of Baxter State Park. Man's recreational use is secondary to preserving the glaciated habitat of the northern Maine park.

Baxter State Park offers over 185 miles of hiking trails throughout the park. Mountain bikes are permitted on Park Tote Road only. Ten campgrounds are open fall to spring. Overnight reservations are necessary and should be made very early in the year. Native brook trout are found in the lakes and ponds and may be caught by wading, fishing from shore or canoe. A number of picnic groves are open for day use. Baxter State Park is the terminus for the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. Hunting is permitted in the far northern and far southern regions. Strict regulations apply. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice fishing are enjoyed during the winter months. There are number of brave and hardy soles who camp and hike during the winter months as well.

From Millinocket, travel approximately 15 miles north on SR 11 to reach the Togue Pond Gate. There is an $8 entrance fee. No motorhomes, motorcycles or pets are permitted. There is a second entrance into Baxter State Park located in the northeastern corner of the park. From the remote burg of Shin Pond (above SR 159) travel Grand Lake Road northwest approximately 18 miles to the Matagamon Gate located on the western side of Grand Lake Matagamon.

Baxter State Park is known to experience sudden weather changes. Higher elevations are typically cooler and wetter. Rain gear and layered clothing are recommended for the unpredictable weather. The region in general has daytime winter temperatures in the northern area averaging 10 - 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 to -10 Celsius). In the southern area, winter temperatures average 14 - 18 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 to -8 Celsius). Summer brings cool, pleasant breezes with temperatures in the northern area averaging 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celsius) and in the southern area averaging around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius). The region receives an average of 38 - 44 inches (97 - 112 centimeters) of precipitation each year.

Reservations Clerk
64 Balsam Drive
Millinocket, ME 04462

Phone: 207-723-5140

  • Baxter State Park Travel Q&A