In mid-September 2018, I enjoyed a very scenic drive on the Katahdin Loop Road, and did a very delightful hike off the loop road to a little peak named Barnard Mountain (1,621 ft elevation).
The trailhead for Barnard Mountain is off the Katahdin Loop Road in a day-use section of the Katahdin Woods and Waters Recreation Area, which abuts Baxter State Park east of Mt. Katahdin. The Bernard Mountain hike (4.6 miles round-trip) starts at the north end of the Katahdin Loop Road (near Mile Marker 12) on an old logging road that is blocked off to vehicles. Here, there in a small parking lot where you can begin your hike.
The Katahdin Loop Road is a 17-mile gravel road that affords access to a number of trailheads, ponds and scenic overlooks. Each mile is marked with an indicator post. On the day of my visit, the road could have been driven by most passenger cars. However, it was easy to see why it is recommended that you use a vehicle that has high ground clearance and is equipped with 4WD/AWD. The Katahdin Loop Road is generally open from late May until late October.
To download a map of the loop road, click/tap this LINK. And, it should also be mentioned that a lot of very good information about the Katahdin Woods and Waters property can be viewed by clicking/tapping on this LINK. (Note: Both of the above links can be accessed directly from the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters website.)
And lastly, presented below is a map showing the location of Barnard Mountain and the Katahdin Loop Road in relation to Sherman, ME. The beginning of the loop road is about 16 miles west of Sherman, ME and is reached by traveling Rt. 11 and Swift Brook Road.
|This is a zoomed view of Mt. Katahdin from the Katahdin Loop Road. Visible in this photo are: Pamola Peak, The Knife Edge, South Peak, Baxter Peak.|
|Regarding the hike to Barnard Mountain, most of the trek is along old logging roads, such as seen in the photo shown above.|
|The last 0.8 mile of the hike begins at this sign which marks the beginning of the footpath that gradually climbs the mountain using several well-constructed switchbacks, as well as stone stairs.|
|A short segment of the Barnard Mountain Trail leads you through this split boulder!|
|The Barnard Mountain Trail terminates at an open granite ledge near the top of the mountain, where hikers are greeted with a spectacular view of Baxter State Park, with Mt. Katahdin front and center. In the foreground of this photo is Katahdin Lake.|
TO SUM IT UP:
Barnard Mountain, with an elevation of only 1,621 ft, is just a bump on the landscape. However it’s one of those little mountains that offer a huge reward. Sometimes, less is indeed more! :-)