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Maine Recreation - Visit Mount Katahdin

I grew up nearby Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park in north central Maine. I enjoy hiking the many trails, paddling its small ponds and fishing for the parks wild brook trout. For those new to Maine or just discovering the joy of hiking and exploring wild places, I encourage you to visit.

The park was generously donated to the people of Maine by Percival Baxter, Maine governor from 1921 - 1925. It took Baxter many years to raise the funds and negotiate the purchase of the land. Baxter made his final land purchase in the 1960's. Since then additional lands have been acquired and today the park has in excess of 209,000 acres.



Views of Hamlin Ridge from Cathedral Trail



Without a doubt, the crown jewel of Baxter State Park is Mount Katahdin, Maine's highest peak at about 5,270 feet. When asked why they climb mountains, many people are often heard replying "Because it was there". Well I don't know about the rest of you but I climb mountains for the view, and Katahdin views are some of the best in Maine.

The hike to the top of Maine is not for the unfit. The rugged trails to the peak all vary in difficulty but no matter which trail you pick, it is going to be a long day in the field. This is not intended to discourage you, just know you need to be prepared physically for the experience. Many not familiar with the mountain think that just a mile of elevation is but a hill. Not so, when you start as close to sea level as Katahdin does.

To get to Baxter Peak you have a number of options. From the Park Tote Road you can find parking near the Katahdin Stream Campground and locate the Hunt Trail. This trail is also the Maine end of the Appalachian Trail and does get a lot of use. This is one of the less exposed trails to the summit. The trail is a little more than 5 miles long.


Author on Hunt Trail

Author on Hunt Trail


Another potential trail option accessed from the Park Tote Road is the Abol Trail. The trail was closed in 2014 because of a debris slide on the existing trail. The Park Authority has made plans to reroute the trail and last word was the trail may be completed by the fall of 2015. Do check with Park Officials before heading out for a hike. There are penalties for any use of the closed trail section.

My favorite trails to the summit of Maine begin from Roaring Brook Campground. From here you will find the Chimney Pond and Helon Taylor Trail heads. The Helon Taylor Trail proceeds to Pamola Peak on the eastern side of Katahdin. From here it is just one mile across the arête known as the Knife Edge to Baxter Peak.



Basin Pond - Chimney Pond Trail

Basin Pond - Chimney Pond Trail


Chimney Pond Trail is one of my favorites for a number of reasons. First it is quite scenic. Second, my wife likes to hike but is not a fan of exposed trails and heights. She enjoys hiking with me to Chimney Pond where she can spend part of the day enjoying the scenery and reading a good book. She is often rewarded with a visit by a moose to the pond. Along this trail a short off trail brings you to the Basin Ponds. The views of Katahdin's north basin from here are stunning. The reason I like this trail the most is because it gets me to my #1 favorite trail - Cathedral.



Ascending Cathedral Trail - Chimney Pond in background


The Cathedral Trail gets its name from a series of rock formations that resemble the buttresses and spires of cathedrals. The trail is short but very steep and exposed. If you don't like exposure I would not recommend this trail. If this does not bother you, the views in all directions including Chimney Pond, the Knife Edge, Hamlin Ridge and the outlying expansive forest land are amazing.



Chimney Pond



There are other trails to the summit that I have not mentioned here. To see more information on these you can get both paper and online maps from the Park Service and other sources. Also, there are many other trails in Baxter State Park that don't require as much commitment as a climb to Baxter Peak. I will try to write about these in future posts.

For park and other information click on the following links:



Cold Stream Pond - Central Maine's Premiere Cold Water Lake


Cold Stream Pond View

Cold Stream Pond View from Webb Cove


Overview - Cold Stream Pond is one of the finest lakes in central Maine. It is very scenic with views of Mount Katahdin to the north and the "Bluff", a large elevated peninsula that separates the southern and northern basins of the lake. This large lake which is partly located in the towns of Enfield, Lincoln and Lowell, is probably best known for its incredible water quality and clarity. The water quality is so good that the state of Maine established a fish hatchery in Enfield using the lakes water via a pipeline.

The lake is supplied water by springs and also fed by the outlet of the two Upper Cold Stream Ponds located in Lincoln. This outlet is Smelt Brook and enters Cold Stream Pond in the northern basin. A few other cold brooks enter the lake including Miles Brook and the outlet of nearby Trout Pond in Lowell.

Size, Depths and Boating - The surface area of the lake is more than 3,600 acres. The upper basin is approximately 704 acres and max depth of 56 feet. The state lake survey says that the upper basin has good water quality but can suffer from lower dissolved oxygen levels in the later part of summer. This is a quiet place to explore large rocky coves with a kayak and is usually the first area of safe for ice fishing in the winter. The lower basin contains about 2,924 acres with water depths up to 104 feet. This is a deep round basin perfect for boating, water skiing and sailing.



Depth Map of Cold Stream Pond



Fishing - Lake Trout are native to CSP and naturally reproduce in the spawning beds within Webb Cove and other locations. No stocking is necessary to maintain this fishery. The lake is known to occasionally produce a trophy lake trout in excess of 20 pounds. Landlocked salmon and brook trout are maintained by a stocking program. One fish not mentioned on the online survey of the lake by Maine DIFW is the cusk. If you have never eaten this fish you are missing a real treat. The odd looking fish in the Cod family is somewhat difficult to clean unless you know how. Google search some videos on how it is done. I recommend the technique of skinning then filleting. Fishing regulations for Cold Stream Pond include no taking of smelts in the lake or tributaries, no size or bag limit on bass and daily bag limit on salmon is one fish. For all regulations click on this link to Maine 2015 open water and ice fishing regulations. CLICK HERE FOR MAINE FISHING REGULATIONS


Maine Lake Trout

Ice fishing for Maine Lake Trout or "Togue"



Boat Landing and Beach Location - Cold Stream Pond has one improved boat landing located at the south west corner of the lake at its outlet. There is a concrete ramp and parking area located at the end of Old Hatchery Road near the center of Enfield. The ramp is located in the outlet and is sheltered from wind and weather. Large boats can be launched at this landing but use caution when exiting the channel of the stream as there are a few large rocks.

There is a public beach located on the western shore known as Morgans Beach. It is a beautiful sand beach and an excellent place for swimming and a family picnic. Traveling north on the Lincoln Road from Enfield village look for the signs for the beach on the right.

Real Estate Types & Values - Property types around Cold Stream Pond include small seasonal cottages and cabins which are mostly on the west shore of the lake. This was the area first developed nearly 100 years ago. Some of these properties have since been converted to year round homes. Finding land for building is rare on this side of the lake. Cottages will range in value from $125,000 to $250,000 depending on lot size, building and lake front quality among other variables. Year round converted properties will sell from $200,000 - $300,000 on average.

The eastern side of the pond was not developed until the late 1980's. Lots on this side of the lake are much larger because of changes in zoning regulations and required setbacks that went from 75 to 100 feet in residential zones and 250 foot lake setbacks in the resource protected areas of Enfield and Lowell. Most of the properties found on this side of the lake are much newer and larger than the west side. Most are year round residences. Property values on this side of the lake currently range from $250,000 to over $400,000.

Getting Here - From I-95 you take exit 217 and head east on Route 155 about 6 miles to the boat landing on Old Hatchery Road. The landing is located 39 miles from Bangor, Maine and 272 miles from Boston, Ma.

If you are looking for a perfect central Maine waterfront property see our listings linked CLICK HERE FOR MAINE WATERFRONT PROPERTIES.