NEW TRAIL NOW OPEN (July 2016)
OverviewFrom Abol Campground to Baxter Peak (one way): 4.3 miles, 3,900 feet of gain
ApproachThe trailhead is within the Abol Campground. The campground is on the perimeter road not far from the park's southern entrance.
Route DescriptionClick links to see corresponding photos.
Starts as an easy wooded trail at about 1200 ft elevation. On this lower section the trail follows a streambed as often as not.
After about an hour, slope increases some more and the trees thin out just enough to afford partial views. Soon thereafter the trail veers westerly away from the rockslide (once the route of the trail, now closed to hiking), then climbs steeply to reach the summit plateau and the intersection with the Hunt Trail (A.T.) by Thoreau Spring (about 4600 ft elevation) Note: Thoreau Spring is not always reliable in late summer.
The Baxter Cut-Off continues north-northeast, avoiding Baxter Peak and instead providing a flat route to the eastern edge of the Saddle. Take a right on the Hunt Trail to bag the summit.
For more details about the new trail, see the official trail description (PDF)
Essential GearNothing other than the usual New England weather gear.
Waterproof boots are a good idea though not really needed if you watch your step.
Check with the park rangers before planning a snow or ice climb - when we were there in October, the rangers had closed the top of the mountain for a day due to a couple of inches of snow. The old trail up the rockslide would be very slippery with only a little snow or ice. I've climbed other New England peaks in icy conditions using just crampons and poles, but I wouldn't want to try it on the rockslide: arrest could be a real problem.