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Hiking Katahdin with children

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:11 am
by khaag

We are planning a trip to Baxter in August and are considering a hike to Baxter Peak. My kids will be 6.5 and 9.5. My concern is not as much with the amount of time we will be on the trail (I would expect it to take us around 10 hours), but with the complexity of the rocky portions. What trail will be the safest and easiest for them (or am I nuts for even considering). We have done a fair amount of trails with them, some of which were considered challenging. I would appreciate your thoughts!


Re: Hiking Katahdin with children

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:22 am
by gwave47
Sorry, I don't have much info for you but I didn't want you to be left alone in here without any replies. I would not recommend the Abol Trail, or the Knife Edge. I would imagine the Appalachian Trail would be your best bet. I will do some more research and let you know if I find anything.

Re: Hiking Katahdin with children

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:02 pm
by nartreb
It's a hike, if your kids aren't dangerously distractible, aren't afraid of heights, and don't get too tired, they'll be fine. I don't know what previous trails they've done, but keep in mind this is not just time on the trail, it's continuous uphill effort. With a six- year-old, I'd plan on *lots* of breaks and an overall pace under 1mph - so yeah 10 hours is a decent planning estimate for Baxter peak alone.

The Cathedral trail is probably the scrambliest - I'd avoid that if you're worried about safety.

The A.T. (Hunt trail) has a couple of spots with metal handholds built in where small kids may want your help. Actually there are lots of spots where both adults and kids will want to use their hands. ... eral/72445

Like gwave, I'd avoid the Abol - it's steep and it's monotonous. The Hunt has more shade, more views, more variety.

If you want to be very conservative, you can go up the Saddle Trail - that's probably the easiest and safest route, and if you opt to go over the Knife Edge, you'll come back to the same parking lot where you parked your car.

The knife edge is not difficult (one "chimney" where the kids may want a leg up), but it does have very real exposure. Certainly avoid in bad weather. If Baxter peak is your primary goal, go up the Hunt or Saddle; you can go over the Knife Edge and down Dudley or Helon Taylor if the weather is good and the kids are having fun (and you have time).

Re: Hiking Katahdin with children

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:44 am
by Bark Eater
Agreed Saddle Trail is the easiest on the mountain. Abol is shorter but MUCH steeper.

Honestly I'd keep small kids off of the Knife Edge.

Re: Hiking Katahdin with children

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:11 am
by khaag
I appreciate all of your input. I had been leaning toward Saddle, but wanted to get input from some seasoned moutain hikers. I think Chimmney Pond will give us a good opportunity for a nice long pit stop both up and down (with mini breaks in between). I can't see us attempting Knife Edge.

For those who have been to the gate-do we really need to be there by 5am? I would like to be on the trail by at least 7am and will likely try to reserve a parking spot online, but you can never predict the weather .........

Re: Hiking Katahdin with children

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:39 pm
by Bark Eater
My dated experience was that if you want to park at Roaring Brook on a nice summer weekend you absolutely needed to be at the gate when they opened. That said, no experience with the reservation system since it didn't exist back then. If you search in this forum I know this topic has been discussed in the last year or two.

Re: Hiking Katahdin with children

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:58 pm
by Jow
If you get reservation you don't need to be there by 5am. there is two lines of cars the first is for people without reservations trying to get in if people with reservations don't show up keep driving pass that, and the second closer to gate is with reservations. if res said to get there by 730 i got there at 735 but then had to wait in line for like 25 minutes why they processed all of us with reservations. Maybe they've gotten faster. but not until they satisfied all of us with reservations did they consider the other line of vehicles. This was in October.

Re: Hiking Katahdin with children

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:17 am
by Wiktoria Plawska
I went on the Katahdin knife edge when I was 7 years old and my brother was 12 by ourselves because we had gone so far ahead of our parents since my dad stayed behind with my mother. If they are athletic and not scared, then it is fine, I know from experince.


Re: Hiking Katahdin with children

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:18 pm
by PackLightPaul
I would reserve your campsite Asap. They will fill up quick for Aug.....I cant see my kids on the knife edge trl either. Good call. Although I have hiked it from all different trails and seen kids all over the mountain.