Northwest Basin

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.90440°N / 68.9228°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hiking-some hands
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Hiking class II
Sign the Climber's Log


Russell Pond campground at the north end of Katahdin. The signage and the rangers are good about aiming you in the right direction. You will be taking the Northwest Basin Trail and traveling toward Fort Mtn. The Katahdin Saddle is 8 miles distant. The basin itself is at:

Route Description

Walk in a southwesterly direction up Wassataquoik Brook, crossing it at least once. At the foot of Fort Mtn. hang a left (no choice here) and walk into the remote Northwest Basin to lake Cowles and Davis pond. Both are wicked cold in the summer. Ascend southward from 2900 ft. to northwest plateau at 4410 feet in
about a mile. This is a bit steep as I recall. Admire the view including the giant elevated spruce swamp which is the headwaters of Wassataquoik Stream. Stroll up to the North Peaks to the east and continue south to Hamlin Peak. You'll probably have this part of the mountain to yourself for the day.

Essential Gear

Good boots would be helpful. There is some scree climbing out of the basin, so gaiters might help. Approach shoes would be fine if you had appropriate experience in them. At a young age, I descended this trail in Converse All Stars but I didn't know better. The rangers would prefer that you be better shod. The water is extremely clear but it would be good to filter it even though only critters use the water. If the weather is nasty take some pile and have some kind of windbreaker. In any case you will spend at least 3 miles above timber. Remember that Maine(in June) has the mosquito and the blackfly- The black fly is a gnat 1/10 the size of a mosquito but ten times as blood thirsty. They do swarm. Remember to stop along the way and smell the diapensias.

Miscellaneous Info

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