If you’re looking to hike to the top of Katahdin or simply enjoy a trek through our Maine woods, we can make it happen. Hiking in Maine during any season offers a variety of terrain which highlight amazing views, great exercise and local ecology.
The New England Outdoor Center is located just eight miles from the south entrance of Baxter State Park providing families and friends great access to plenty of trails in the Maine outdoors.
Hiking in the Katahdin Region offers thrill seekers the physical and mental challenge of Maine’s highest mountain, Katahdin, or an enduring trek on the northbound end of the Appalachian Trail in Baxter State Park. Baxter State Park also has over 200,000 acres of trails for hiking, plus campgrounds for visitors that wish to enjoy a night under the stars.
An upgraded river access road allows us to offer a much less taxing adventure to the Ice Caves overlooking First Debsconeag Lake. We will travel by NEOC vehicle to Omaha Beach on the Debsconeag Deadwater. This is one of the largest natural beaches in central Maine. From there we canoe approximately 1.5 miles to the entrance to First Debsconeag Lake. One of the three pristine, white sand beaches on the pond will be the stopping spot to swim and have a snack or lunch. Depending on weather and size of the group, access to the trailhead to the Ice Caves will be either on foot from the beach or by canoe across the pond. There is an option of hiking to the top of a bluff with a spectacular view overlooking the First Debsconeag Lake before returning to Omaha Beach by canoe where we will pick up our ride back to NEOC base.
Ice Caves Trail (2 miles round trip): This quick, 1-mile trail offers three separate destinations. The parking lot is located at the end of the Hurd Pond Road, a left turn off of the Golden Road immediately after crossing Abol Bridge. Keep left at the fork and drive about four miles to reach the trailhead. The trail leads up and down through granite boulders, leftovers of the last Ice Age’s glacial activity. The first turnoff on the right leads to a scenic lookout, which offers a vista of First Debsconeag Lake and the Debsconeag Deadwater. Continuing down the Ice Cave Trail (left at the fork), will bring you to another fork. Veer right to see the Ice Cave – a deep hole under a jumble of boulders with a cool environment that retains ice sometimes as late as August. This is a great spot to cool off in some of Nature’s best air conditioning. Turning left at the fork will bring you to the shore of First Debsconeag Lake. (As described by the Nature Conservancy at http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/maine/placesweprotect/debsconeag-lakes-wilderness-area.xml.)
Horserace Hiking Trails:
Horserace Pond Trail (4 miles round trip) and Blue Trail (5 miles round trip): The parking lot for these two trails is south of the Golden Road, five miles west of Abol Bridge. The turn is an unmarked road at the top of the hill just west of the sign for Horserace Brook campsite. Follow the dirt road several hundred yards and park at the trailhead near Horserace Brook. This trail travels 1/2 mile along a small stream before the intersection of the Horserace Pond Trail and the Blue Trail. Turning right yields a 1.5-mile hike to Horserace Pond. The Horserace Pond Trail continues to meander along the picturesque Horserace Brook that drains the pond, as well as through a stand of old-growth hemlock. The pristine Horserace Pond is surrounded by deep green conifers and granite cliffs and boulders. There are three backcountry campsites on the banks of the pond.
The Blue Trail is the left fork and is a steeper 2.3-mile hike past Clifford and Woodman ponds, ending at Rainbow Lake. This trail is strenuous, so make sure to bring good shoes and plenty of drinking water. The path leads through some remarkable stands of old-growth forest, and loops around Clifford and Woodman ponds. Rainbow Lake, the terminus of the trail, is the largest of the lakes in the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area, and is a great spot to see Loons and Bald Eagles. It is also one of seven lakes in Maine with arctic char, a native fish related to salmon and trout. (As described by the Nature Conservancy at http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/maine/placesweprotect/debsconeag-lakes-wilderness-area.xml.)
If you’re looking for a simple day hike or an intense summit of Katahdin, we can help. For more information on hiking and guided experiences give us a call at 1-800-634-7238.
Click here to reserve your Katahdin trailhead parking space.