Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting to Katahdin

Anticipating being cocked, locked, and ready to walk in time for an early southbound Appalachian Trail start, I started looking into how one gets to Katahdin. Here's my notes:

Getting to Maine

Whether flying, driving a rental car, taking the train or the bus, most go thru Bangor. I looked at airline rates and found Delta flies into Bangor for ~$440 from Grand Rapids. The airport has many of the major rental car agencies. Greyhound services Bangor. Amtrak goes to Portland, and from there, Concord Coaches gets you to Bangor, all thru Amtrak ticketing.

Bangor to Baxter State Park

There are several shuttle services.  The Appalachian Trail Conservancy publishes a list of Shuttles and Public Transportation, covering the length of the trail.  It's in PDF format, so if you carry a smart phone you might download a copy to your smartphone in case you need one later on.

Shaw's Lodging in Monson provides shuttle services all over the region, including between Bangor, Monson, and Baxter State Park. 207.997.3597

100 Mile Wilderness Adventures and Outfitters will pick you up in Bangor, put you up for the night in Monson, and get you to Katahdin the next day. Cost is $100 (207) 991-7030

Another option is to take Cyr Bus Lines from Bangor to Medway for $22. There's only one Bus a day to Medway. It leaves Bangor at at 6:30PM, and gets into Medway about 7:40PM. 1-800-244-2335

From Medway, you can refer back to the shuttle list to get to Baxter State Park.  I understand that the old Town Taxi is no longer in operation.

For $70 the AT Lodge will pick you up in Medway, put you up for the night in Millinocket, feed you breakfast, and take you to Katahdin Stream the next day.  207.723.4321,

Baxter State Park to Northern Terminus

Once you get to Baxter State Park, you still have to get to the Trail's northern terminus, which is Baxter Peak on top of Katahdin.  The trek up and back is a full day for most. To get an early start, many make campsite reservations for both the night before, and the night after.  At $30/night, you might want to share a site with another thru-hiker … The most popular campsites for thru hikers are Katahdin Stream and Abol.

Baxter State Park uses a rolling reservation system for summer camping reservations starting four months from your desired reservation. Details are at their website

The morning of your ascent, you can leave your full pack at the Ranger Station, and use one of their day-packs to carry water, food, rain gear, an insulating layer and a camera.  A good deal considering the first day of your thru hike starts with a 4162' ascent, followed by the same descent.

Ooh Rah!

Baxter State Park Maps (in pdf format):

Trails from Katahdin Stream, or Abol campsites to Baxter Peak
Katahdin Stream Campground
Abol Campground