At this point, if you haven’t heard of Mount Katahdin, then I don’t know if you can really call yourself a true Mainer. The way I see it, the only way you can call yourself a Mainer now is if you have ever performed a headshot on a deer while leaping from your snowmobile to your four wheeler without spilling a drop of your Moxie. That shows how big a deal this is.
If you do decide to head on up to Katahdin, you should plan accordingly. Baxter State Park is way up there. You are looking at about a 3 ½ hours getting there from Augusta, and somewhere around 4 hours from Portland. For day-use activities, unless you’re at the park gate at about 5:30 in the morning (the gate opens at 6 am), it’s not likely you’ll get to go to the area you want. There are three major access points for day hikes on Mount Katahdin and Knife Edge (Abol Slide, Katahdin Stream, and Roaring Brook) and all three fill up wicked fast. Once the number of people has been reached, the park will not allow others to go to those lots.
Don’t think you can sneak in either after saying you’re going somewhere else. You must display a day-use pass in your window and it clearly says which parking lot you are supposed to be in. Access points for other parts of the park beyond Katahdin don’t fill up as fast, so if your heart isn’t set on climbing Mount Katahdin, it’s not quite so hard to get into the park for a day. To be honest, Mount Katahdin is the reason that probably 90% of park visitors are in Baxter. The mountain is the highest mountain in Maine, it has a huge area of alpine tundra, the knife edge ridge is like nowhere else in the United States.
So go my little Maineiacs. Go gather your friends, hiking boots, fruit roll ups and whatever randomness you want to bring with you and go hike a freaking mountain.