Reaching Katahdin Lake is not difficult. The trailhead is along the Roaring Brook Road about five miles from the parks southern gate. The trail stays in the low country the entire trip to the lake. At times the trail is wet and muddy, however, plenty of bog bridges along the way keep you out of the worst of the mud. There were quite a few animal tracks along the way including several spots of moose tracks. In just over three miles, we reached South Katahdin Lake Lean-to and a day use area with a small pavilion and picnic table. Just beyond a couple of canoes are available to rent for use on the lake.
Katahdin Lake Trail, easy section
One of several bog bridges
By the canoes, we finally reached the lake. There is a small strip of a gravel beach. From this point the lake is pretty, but you can't see any big mountain views. It is a quiet relaxing spot. The water was softly lapping on the shore and the occasional loon call was heard.
Following the beach a short distance the views changed dramatically. Katahdin Lake Wilderness Camps, a privately owned primitive backcountry lodge, operates their facility not too far from the end of the Katahdin Lake Trail. As you approach the beach area by their camps, the views open dramatically. To the north, the bare alpine summit of Traveler Mountain (see last blog post.) However, the most stunning view is that of Katahdin. The Knife Edge is easy to see. The Great Basin and true summit are somewhat obscured from the angle but the North Basin is in full view. A unique and beautiful view of the Katahdin area with the attractive lake in the foreground.
The Turner Mtns are the first to come into view
Katahdin coming into view
Traveler Mtn to the north
Turner and Katahdin
Close up of Katahdin Massif over Katahdin Lake
There are several trails to explore in the Katahdin Lake area. We stuck primarily to the Katahdin Lake Trail because of a late start and were rewarded with stunning views. North Katahdin Lake Trail will take you to another lean-to and beyond to remote Twin Ponds. Another Trail leads to Martin Ponds and another lean-to.
As far as Baxter State Park goes, this is a fairly easy hike. With a few short side trips we covered nearly 7 miles but never had any significant elevation change. We reached the lake in just over an hour. For anyone exploring Baxter State Park looking for a shorter, easier hike that would be possible with children, Katahdin Lake is a nice break from the large mountains. There is a definite feel of remoteness at the lake. Despite seeing numerous cars at the trailhead, we saw only two groups on the hike but seemingly had the lake to ourselves.
Puma relaxing along Katahdin Lake