This is the only direct trail from Chimney Pond to Pamola Peak (The other end of the Knife Edge from Baxter Peak). If your goal is Pamola Peak from Roaring Brook Campground, the Helon Taylor is shorter and has more distance above treeline. But if you need to get below treeline quickly off of Pamola, are Camped at Chimney Pond, or wish to see boulder caves, then this is the trail you want.
Starting from the Roaring Brook Campgound (8 miles from the Togue Pond entrance gate) sign in and hike 3.3 miles up the rocky trail to Chimney Pond. There is no difficult section in this trail, but taken as a whole, the rocky footing makes for slower hiking than you would expect from its length and elevation gain. It does offer some views, the first good one being at a turnoff just after Halfway Rock. At Chimney Pond you must sign in again. You can treat water from the pond - the last opportunity.
Follow the trail through the woods from Chimney Pond. Shortly it begins to steeply ascend the side of Pamola Peak, and in 3 tenths of a mile there is a rough .4 mile side trail to Pamola Caves, a series of boulder caves that the trail winds through. This is a fun diversion if you have energy, but not a "Must see."
After the side trail, the rocky trail continues steeply up through the thinning woods with occasional views until it emerges on an open rocky bulge on the ridge. From here the trail continues ascending steeply over boulders, with hands required frequently, but no real exposure, passing by the distinctive Index Rock near the top, until it gets to Pamola Peak, 4902 feet. The top is roughly where you think it is going to be from most of the way up, instead of a series of false summits. This is a gain of 2,000 feet in 1.2 miles. From here it is 1.1 miles over the rather exposed Class 3 knife-edge ridge to the summit of Baxter Peak. If you're worried about the knife-edge, in my estimation it gets progressively easier as you go towards Baxter Peak.
The trail is largely over rocks, so sturdy hiking shoes (the rangers suggest boots) are a major plus. You need a day's supply of water, or a half day's supply and a filter or iodine to treat the water at Chimney Pond. Rangers require you to carry a flashlight.
Additions and Corrections[ Post an Addition or Correction ]