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Abol Trail

Abol Trail

Abol Trail

Page Type: Route

Location: Maine, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 45.89819°N / 68.90735°W

Object Title: Abol Trail

Route Type: scramble

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: very steep walk-up

Route Quality: 
 - 11 Votes


Page By: nartreb

Created/Edited: Oct 5, 2004 / Jul 1, 2016

Object ID: 162388

Hits: 34496 

Page Score: 75.34%  - 8 Votes 

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The original Abol Trail closed in spring 2014, due to instability in the rockslide.  The new trail avoids the rockslide, making it slightly longer - 3.4 miles to Thoreau Spring - and therefore a bit less steep.

The new route starts on the original trail leaving Abol Campground, but before reaching the rockslide it will diverge to the northwest, making a traversing ascent for a while before switchbacking along the rib that is west of the slide.  The new route rejoins the old trail just below the Tablelands.

If you have hiked the new trail and would like to contribute to (or take over) this page, please contact me.


From Abol Campground to Baxter Peak (one way):  4.3 miles, 3,900 feet of gain

The Abol Trail provides the most direct access to Baxter Peak, making it attractive to day hikers who arrive by car to the park's southern entrance and wish to start gaining altitude right away. The nearby Hunt Trail is less monotonously steep and offers wider views, but if you wish to see fewer Appalachian Trail through-hikers, or you just prefer a shorter and steeper route, then the Abol will be your choice. It is possible to continue on from Baxter Peak to South Peak, the Knife Edge, and Pamola Peak, but if your primary goal is a day trip over the Knife Edge then you should consider the Helon Taylor trail, which also has easy road access.


The trailhead is within the Abol Campground. The campground is on the perimeter road not far from the park's southern entrance.

Route Description

Click 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 Gear

Nothing 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.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.