Mt. Katahdin Loop

8.8 Miles
Trail added by:
nikkiseeseverything user profile picture
Trail added on:
September 15, 2019
Updated on:
September 20, 2019



The Mt. Katahdin Loop Trail at Baxter State Park near Millinocket, Maine is a strenuous 8.8-mile loop hike that summits Mount Katahdin and follows three trails, including one of the most scenic, but dangerous trails on the mountain.

This loop, to the summit of Mount Katahdin, is a very strenuous hike and on average, experienced hikers will find their speed is close to 1-mph while taking this route, hence this is a very long day hike at best. Hikers should come prepared with the proper footwear, a light jacket for the summit (or heavier jacket depending on the season), and trekking poles to help ease your hike down the mountain.

Trails & Difficulty
Helon Taylor Trail, Knife Edge Trail, and Cathedral Trail. This route follows the Helon Taylor Trail up, follows the Knife Edge Trail, then follows the Cathedral Trail down the mountain and back to parking. This is the harder way to hike this loop due to the steeper portion of the Cathedral Trail - heading downhill is generally worse. If you want an easier hike, take the Cathedral Trail up and the Knife Edge, Helon Taylor Trail down the mountain.

The total elevation gain on this hike is just over 4,000-feet. This trail should be attempted by experienced hikers only.

Length & Notes
When I decided to hike to the Katahdin summit, I knew I wanted to take the Knife's Edge trail. I was up for a good amount of scrambling and the thrills of steep drop-offs on either side. However, I was not expecting this trail to take as long as it did. I came up the Helon Taylor trail and then continued on to knife's edge. This mile long section of trail took me a couple of hours to hike, and I found the process more draining than I expected. Maybe it was the lack of sleep and not-so-great breakfast I had, but I struggled with this trail. It was still a great hike and the summit was nice (although views were mostly obscured by clouds when I was up there). Initially, I was planning on hitting the summit of Hamlin before heading down the Hamlin ridge trail for an 11-mile loop, with a backup plan of taking the Saddle Trail down for a shorter trip, but as soon as we saw the first turn off the ridge for the Cathedral Trail, my hiking partner wanted to take it and head down ASAP. I would NOT recommend going down this trail. It was very steep and rocky, with a few wet slippery spots. I took it slow and completely burned out my legs climbing down the rocks. It felt like a long hike back to the car, even though it was only a 4-mile hike down from the summit.

Time to Hike
In total the hike took 9 hours. I usually hike 2mph including breaks so this hike was much slower for me. I would still absolutely recommend this gorgeous and exhilarating hike, but if you do this loop I recommend hiking up Mount Katahdin along the Cathedral Trail and down along the Knifes Edge and Helon Taylor to help your knees on the way down.

Appalachian Trail Terminus
Mt. Katahdin's summit is the northern terminus for the Appalachian Trail. Hikers may run into AT thru-hikers along this trail as many people try to work their way from the southern terminus in Georgia all the way up to Mount Katahdin.

View more trails near Millinocket, ME


Ticks - Lyme Disease More Info (CDC)

Surface Type




Get Directions

45.919653, -68.85737

Leave No Trace Partner

Maps Sponsor

Map tiles sponsored by the Mapbox Community Team
Logo xs
3803 '

Total Change
4074 '

4032 '

Download GPX with Waypoints
Note: Waypoints always include the parking location and trailhead. Campsites, waterfalls, and other points of interest are included in the GPX only if shown on the map.
Mt. Katahdin Loop default picture

Photo Albums

Hiked it? Upload pictures from the trail

Find Hiking Trails Near Me:

Map of MyHikes trails in North America

1 Trip Report

Hiked it? Add a Trip Report
Trail added
September 15, 2019
Updated on
September 20, 2019

Weather Forecast

In Millinocket, ME

Explore Hiking Trails

New Hikes

Snyder Point Vista Trail
Landrus Wildlife Observation Blind Trail
Jacoby Falls Trail
Colyer Lake Trail

Sign up with MyHikes today!

We're an independent hiking platform helping you find new trails to explore

Join for free

Before you leave...

MyHikes is an independently-owned platform aimed to make exploring public trails easier for everyone. MyHikes has no investors, no shareholders, no goal to profit, and is owned and operated by one person. We share trails on the interwebs for the fun of it and put a ton of time tracking, writing about, and publishing new trails each month.

But it takes a lot of money, time, and effort (including espresso shots) to run MyHikes. Our content is and always will be free to use, including interactive trail maps and elevation charts, pictures from the trail, and dope points-of-interest like vistas, overlooks, waterfalls, backcountry campsites, abandoned structures, and more...

So we simply ask that if you find our content helpful or useful when planning your outdoor excursions that you consider making a small donation to help keep our lights on.

You can become a Supporter* (*MyHikes account required) when donating to unlock perks. Or you can Donate without an account.

Either way, thanks for checking out MyHikes and have a great hike!
- Dave
Founder / Admin

We use cookies to learn about our site usage. If your browser is set to do not track mode, we will not use statistics cookies. Learn more