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23 September 2018

Hike to Barnard Mountain at Eastern Edge of Maine’s Baxter State Park


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.


Even if you opt not to do any hiking, the Katahdin Loop Road itself is well-worth the drive.  There are several roadside viewpoints that provide stunning views of Mt. Katahdin, such as the one shown above which was taken from an outlook near Mile Marker 6.
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.

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! :-)


Rita Wechter said...

What a nice post, John! I was in Baxter State Park a long time ago and really enjoyed the area. I'll definitely put the Katahdin Loop Road on my "to do" list. This looks like a beautiful hike on a very nice day.
Have you ever climbed Mt. Katahdin?

P.S. Did you receive my comment on your previous post? I wrote the comment and clicked "Publish" but my comment disappeared!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

It’s very likely that you and Tim would both enjoy the Katahdin Loop Road. I think it’s a worthy candidate for your “to do” list.
You asked if I have ever climbed Mt. Katahdin. Yes I did, but it’s been more years ago than I like to think about. :-)
And lastly, yes I did receive your comments on my previous posting. Thanks for alerting me about this potential problem.


Evan Hikes said...

These were some good photos John! My dads friend drove us around the loop back in July, and I really enjoyed the views of Katahdin. I was hoping to get a hike done there, but we didn't have enough time. I think it's worth mentioning that the forests in the monument still need some time to recover from logging. Either way, great blog as usual!

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks for your comments, Evan! Great to know that you have also experienced the fabulous Katahdin Loop Road! I am constantly amazed by the many places that you have been, and the hikes you have done.

All the best,