International Appalachian Trail (IAT) Maine

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Description

(The following trail guide is based on Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) trip guide. For the up-to-date trail guides and maps please visit IAT Maine Chapter website Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) The Maine Chapter of the IAT has provided most of the photos published on this web page.)

Baxter State Park to Shin Pond (45 miles, easy-moderate):

The IAT begins at the Katahdin Lake East (KLE) Access of Baxter State Park that can be reached via the Katahdin Lake Trail from the Avalanche Field parking area located 1.5 miles south of the Roaring Brook Campground.

After signing out at the Registration Box, follow the old logging road 0.4 mile to the intersection with the Gardner Rd. Follow the Gardner Rd. north about 2.4 miles, cross Katahdin Brook and continue up a long grade to an intersection with a logging road. Turn right and continue east on the logging road to the intersection of the old Wassataquoik Tote Rd. at 5 miles. Follow the Wassataquoik Tote Rd. south 0.5 mile to the Wassataquoik lean-to and campsite. From the campsite, continues south on the Wassataquoik Tote Rd, crossing Katahdin Stream and following the top of a steep esker. At 0.5 mile a trail to the left leads down to the Wassataquoik Stream ford (see trail guide about fording in high-water). Cross the stream a few yards upstream where it is shallower. After the ford, the trail follows the east bank of the stream for about 1 mile. The trail then turns east and ascends a steep bank where it joins the Keep Path. The trail, running southeast, edges close to Wassataquoik Stream and crosses a small tributary before turning northeast. At about 0.5 mile from the tributary, the trail leaves the Keep Path and turns northeast and climbs up to the col between Deasey Mt. and a small unnamed hill to the south.

The IAT skirts the nose of Deasey Mt., passing the house sized boulder, “Earl’s Erratic” and crossing Owen Brook (water source).  After 2.3 miles, the trail turns north and climbs over the east ridge of Deasey on. At 2.7 miles a short spur trail (east) leads to a fine viewpoint overlooking the East Branch of the Penobscot River. The trail then descends for 0.4 mile to the abandoned Warden’s cabin. From the cabin the trail begins a steep, 0.8 mile climb towards the summit of Deasey Mt., turning right just below the summit. A short spur trail leads to the summit of Deasey and the historic “Ground Cab” fire lookout, which provides fine 360º views. From the junction with the summit spur trail, the IAT drops into a col before climbing back to the summit ledges of Lunksoos Mt. in 1 mile, with views of Sugarloaf and Chase Mountains and the East Branch Penobscot River Valley below. From summit ledges, the IAT descends 1 mile towards the Luksoos lean-to campsite, reaching an old, overgrown tote road in 0.6 mile that it follows west to the campsite. A side trail to a spring is located on the left, a short distance before the campsite.

From the Lunksoos campsite, the IAT follows an abandoned logging road west 0.5 mile to the Messer Pond/Orin Falls Rd. The IAT turns north and follows this road 3 miles to a logging road entering on the right. Follow this logging road east about 1.2 miles, fording Little Hathorn Brook below the former location of a bridge, to the intersection with the Eagle Lake Tote Rd. Turn left on the Eagle Lake Tote Rd. and follow it north. In about 0.25 mile, the Tote Rd. approaches the East Branch of the Penobscot River near the site of the old Little Spring Brook Fish Hatchery. For the next 5 miles, the IAT follows the Eagle Lake Tote Rd., more or less paralleling the East Branch of the Penobscot River to the Grand Pitch Lean-to and campsite.

From the Grand Pitch campsite, the IAT continues north on the Eagle Lake Tote Rd., following the river closely for about 2 miles and passing several rapids and MFS river campsites. At Haskell Deadwater, the road/trail turns west, leaving the river. After 2.5 miles the trail returns to the East Branch near the site of Thoreau’s 1857 Checkerberry-tea Camp. In another 0.7 mile, the trail rejoins the Messer Pond/Orin Falls Rd. and continues northerly for 2 miles to the Grand Lake Road and Matagamon Wilderness Campground and store. Continue along the paved Grand Lake Road to Shin Pond Village, a distance of about 13.7 miles.

Shin Pond to Smyrna Mills (30.5 miles, easy):

At this point, the Grand Lake Road becomes State Highway 159 and heads southeast out of the village toward Patten, Maine. Stay on Route 159 and in 3.1miles reach the Shin Pond Pub, located on the left (east) side of the road at the junction of Highway 159 and the Owlsboro Road. To continue toward Mars Hill, turn east on the Owlsboro Road and follow it 4.6 miles to State Highway 11. From this point on to Bridgewater, each trail/road junction is marked by an official Maine Department of Transportation road sign with directional arrows. Turn north on Route 11 and reach Halls Corner and the Moro Road (Town Line Road) 4.8 miles north of Owlsboro Road. Follow the Town Line Road due east towards Smyrna Mills. After traveling east on the Town Line Road for 7.6 miles, pass a yellow farmhouse on the left, north side of the road. Just beyond this house, look for an IAT/SIA campsite sign with a tag, on the north side of the road. Follow the farm field road, at that point, up the hill to the north for 0.5 miles. Near the top of the hill, turn west at the tag and, in 300 yards, the Roach Farm Campsite and lean-to (sleeps six) are located. Water is located by following the field road to the edge of the woods and then south on the edge of the field to a small pond. Return to the Town Line Road and turn left. In another 3 miles, reach a junction with Route 2. Turn left, north, on Route 2 and continue to the village of Smyrna Mills in 0.5 mile.

Smyrna Mills to Houlton (9.84 miles, easy):

Immediately after a junction with State Route 212 in Smyrna Mills, cross the East Branch of the Mattawamkeag River on the highway bridge and in 0.1 mile more, the Bangor and Aroostook Railway line is reached. Continue east on Route 2 to the Smyrna Center Road on the left. At 2.3 miles beyond the Smyrna Center Road, Interstate 95 crosses above Route 2 on a highway bridge. Just beyond the overpass is the Brookside Motel and Restaurant. From here it is 0.8 mile farther to the Ludlow Town Line where a paved town road (Ludlow Town Line Road) enters on the left (North) side of Route 2. Leave Route 2 at this point and follow this town road to the north for 0.4 mile to the Ludlow Road and turn to the right (East) on the Ludlow Road. From the Ludlow town line on Route 2, it is about 10 miles farther east to the town of Houlton, Maine, on the Ludlow Road. Continue east on the Ludlow Road for 4.0 miles to the intersection with the McGlinn Road. Proceed east on Ludlow Road 5.8 miles until reaching US Route 1 in Houlton,

Houlton to Monticello (12.6 miles, easy):

From Ludlow Road turn left/north on Route 1 in Houlton, and proceed for 1.6 miles to the London Lane. Turn west (left) onto London Lane and walk 0.5 miles west to the intersection of London Lane and the State’s multiuse recreational trail. Turn north on the trail and follow it to the town of Mars Hill. (There is a five mile section of the multi-use trail that is not an official part of the IAT, but the landowner does not prohibit persons from walking across it.) The Monticello-Trestle campsite will be reached in 12.6 miles.

Monticello to Bridgewater (11 miles, easy):

The Monticello-Trestle Campsite is located 100 yards north of the high trestle over the north branch of the Meduxnekeag River. From the campsite continue north on the multi-use recreational trail 11 miles to where the multi-use trail crosses Route 1, just North of the Village of Bridgewater.

Bridgewater to Mars Hill (7.3 miles, easy):

Continue across Route 1 northeast along the multi-use recreational trail and in 1.7 miles you will cross the Bridgewater Corner Road. Then continue generally north into the valley of the Prestile Stream, crossing a small tributary called Three Brooks at 1.2 miles. In another 0.5 mile, cross the Robinson Road and the little village of Robinsons. The trail follows along the western bank of a small pond formed in Prestile Stream by the dam at Robinsons. Follow the multi-use trail 3.3 miles to the town of Mars Hill. Mars Hill Mountain can be seen on the trail.

Mars Hill to Easton US/Canada Border (8 miles, easy-moderate-advanced):

(It is requested that you e-mail (BChapman@firstwind.com) or call (207-425-7929) the Wind Farm in advance so they know who is on their premises. When entering a tower pad, stay clear of the tower. Head to or from the access road. Trail entrances/exits are marked with two ribbons on a tree or bush. IAT tags will be on trees every so often. There is a small tower number above the door of each tower.)

Come into Mars Hill village either on the railroad bed or Route 1. Go on to Route 1A which continues straight across the bridge, until reaching Boynton Road on the right. At the end of this road, by going left one may get to the border trail without climbing the mountain. To get to the lean-to and walk the mountain, turn right onto E. Blaine Road. A short distance farther, take the left onto Graves Road. Continue past the parking lot and go to the right to the access road leading up the mountain that starts near the lift. There is another trail to the left in front of the lodge, but this trail is not recommended.

Climb the mountain using this road. At the top, go to the right on the gravel road for the lean-to (about 0.4 mile), or to continue toward the border walk ahead to the Wind Farm access road, that is close to Tower #25. Turn left on this road.

Leaving the lean-to, walk toward the nearby Tower (#27). There is a trail down a slope to the Tower pad. There is only one other tower to the south.

Continue north on the access road. After walking 1.4 miles past several towers and a couple of Hills, a service road is located on the left at Tower #17. Stay to the right hand road, walk less than 1 mile past six more towers up a hill. Rounding the hill going by Towers #12 and #11 on this road, two TV/Cell towers can be seen higher up to the left. The access road continues to the right to Tower #9, but stay to the left to Tower #10 (less than 1 mile from service road). Walk onto the pad past the tower, staying a few yards away to the left. Just north of the tower, where the woods begin, the ribbons marking the IAT will be visible. This short stretch goes fairly straight to the edge of a cliff from which Tower #9 can be seen straight below, and a great view to the north is present. A few yards before this cliff, the IAT goes into the woods to the left and is marked by ribbons.

Follow this trail through the woods for 0.7 mile and come out to the pad for Tower #8. Coming out of the woods, ribbons pointing a path to the pad will be seen. Once on the pad, walk to the access road and turn left onto the North Access Road.

Walk down this road 0.4 mile past Tower #7 and a little way past Tower #6. Passing Tower #6, look down the bank for the two red ribbons that mark where the IAT goes into the woods. An option would be to stay on the wind farm road, walk around the gate and turn right onto the main road (East Ridge Road).

It is 0.7 mile to the East Ridge road. After a short distance the trail will be near the North Access Road across which Tower #4 can be seen. The trail then goes farther downhill and comes to an old farm road. Go right and leave the woods after a short distance into a grassy field. Continue near the tree line until reaching the East Ridge Road. Turn right and walk to the U.S./Canada border.

Easton US/Canada Border to Fort Fairfield Border (14.8 miles, easy):

(Hikers must stay on the U.S. side of the border clearing and call the U.S. Border Patrol in Houlton (207-532-6521) before walking on the border section to tell them when you plan to be hiking there.)

Turn left onto the Border Trail. A little more than 2 miles on the trail will bring you to the Easton customs border station. Continue almost 4 miles on the border trail. There is a large gate blocking a road on the Canadian side. 1 mile farther brings you to a large beaver pond. As you approach the pond, look for marking tape to the left. A rough path along the base of the pond will take you around the dam back to the border again. The Fort Fairfield lean-to is about 3 miles farther. Hikers using the Fort Fairfield Campsite are allowed to use a cook stove only. No open fires are allowed. Water is available at the nearby brook west of the lean-to. From the lean-to walk 0.6 miles north along the border. Turn left onto a dirt road leading to the Sam Everett Road and then to Rte. 167, a total of about 3 miles. Turn right and walk a little more than 1 mile to the border. After crossing the border into Canada follow the New Brunswick Trail Guide.

More Information

Water is available along or adjacent to the trail and campsites. Hikers should not assume that it is always safe to drink without treating with a disinfectant, filtering, or boiling for at least 5 minutes.

Registrations are required at all Baxter State Park overnight facilities. Please make reservations by contacting:

The Baxter State Park Authority
Reservation Clerk
65 Balsam Drive
Millinocket, ME 04462
Phone: (207) 723-5140

Visit the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail for more information.  It is from their hard work and dedication that we created the maps, guides, and photos you see on this page.  For a more detailed descriptive narrative of the Maine International Appalachian Trail and everything to experience along the way please check out their Trail Guide.

IAT Maine
PO Box 916
Gardiner
Maine
04345

Photos

Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
International Appalachian Trail Sign
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Overlooking Bowlin Falls on the East Branch of the Penobscot River
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Deasey Fire Loopout
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Spectacular View of Katahdin from Deasey summit
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Standing Next to the House Sized Boulder Earl's Erratic
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Abandoned Fire Warden's Cabin along trail up Deasey's Mountain
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Fort Fairfield lean-to
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Grand Pitch
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Grand Pitch lean-to
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter (Bill Forbes)
Haskell Rock Pitch
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter (Bill Forbes)
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Hulling Machine
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
The trail
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Katahdin from Lunksoos campsite
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Little Spring Brook campsite
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Lunksoos Mtn lean-to
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
View from Lunksoos Mtn
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Photo courtesy: Matthew Johnson
Marble Fern
Photo courtesy: Matthew Johnson
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Mars Hill lean-to
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Mars Hill wind farm (First Wind)
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Matagamon metal gate
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Matagamon Wilderness Camps
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Monticello-Trestle lean-to
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Pond Pitch
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Roach farm lean-to
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Shin Pond Village (IAT Maine Chapter spring meeting)
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Stair Falls
Photo courtesy: Bill Duffy
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Wassataquoik lean-to
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Wright farm lean-to
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: Frederic Church
Katahdin Mtn viewed from Katahdin Lake
Photo courtesy: Frederic Church
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Don Hudson on Wassataqoik Ford
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Thoreau Checkerberry-Tea 1856 Campsite
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Dick Anderson on IAT
Photo courtesy: IAT Maine Chapter
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Mars Hill Big Rock IAT trail
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: pooks511 at www.pootalk.com
Bowlin Camps in winter time
Photo courtesy: pooks511 at www.pootalk.com