L.L. Bean and Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters encourage you to Be an Outsider while you’re in the Katahdin region for the 2nd Anniversary Celebration. You can hike, bike, paddle, explore the archaeology of Lunksoos Camps, stargaze, and explore local galleries and museums with the suggested trips and experiences sponsored by L.L. Bean and described below.

Whether you’re in the monument or enjoying the nearby towns of Patten and Millinocket, it’s a good idea to have our new Map Adventures Trail Map of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, which you can purchase through our online shop. You can also get this map as a part of your welcome package when you join or renew your Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters membership.

Click on a trip or experience below to read more.

Hike Barnard Mountain
Moderate hike 4 miles round-trip

This short day-hike up Barnard Mountain, just east of Katahdin Lake, offers beautiful sweeping views of the Katahdin tablelands and the towering Katahdin massif. To get to the trail-head, drive along the Loop Road until you reach a parking lot at the northwestern part of the loop past mile 11. If you’ve driven to mile 12, you’ve gone just a bit too far. Park your vehicle and begin the walk due north along the IAT. The path is an old logging road, which you’ll follow for a little over a mile until you reach the Barnard Mountain Trail. Take a right up the path, which leads you half a mile along the shoulder of Barnard Mountain until you reach the peak. Enjoy breathtaking views, and maybe lunch, before heading back the way you came and driving out along the remainder of the Loop Road.

Interpretive Archaeology At LUnksoos
Saturday, 10 AM to Noon, Lunksoos Camps

Meet James Nyman, archaeologist for the Northeast Regional Office of the National Park Service, and Susan Adams, Recreation Manager at Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., at Lunksoos Boat Launch to learn about the NPS site evaluation processes and a brief historical overview of the Monument and its past inhabitants and visitors. James will show how a site is evaluated, and lead a short demonstration of a dig.

Following time with James, you are welcome to stop by Lunksoos Camps for refreshments and a brief history lesson of a few of its former uses and famous visitors. Susan Adams will be your host accompanied by some of the monument’s devoted volunteers.

walk to the falls OF the East Branch of the Penobscot
WALK 6 1/2 miles round-trip

For a lovely walk in the woods and visit to the unique geological features running beneath the falls of the East Branch of the Penobscot, head to the north side of the monument. Drive your vehicle through Matagamon Gate due south until you reach the parking area at Haskell Gate. From there, walk along the IAT due east until you reach a fork in the trail. Take the left to visit Stair Falls and/or continue along the IAT south to visit Haskell Hut, a quaint camp renovated for monument visitors with a striking view of the Haskell Deadwater. From Haskell Hut, continue south to visit the Haskell Rock Pitch – named for a logger who was stranded in the middle of the river on the towering rock that would later bear his name.

If you have a bit more time, consider adding 2 miles round-trip to your walk by heading further south along the IAT until you reach Grand Pitch. The falls feature a larger drop and a more forceful surge of water than found at Haskell Rock Pitch and Stair Falls.

Experience the Art of the Katahdin Region
Saturday, 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, North Light Gallery

To honor our national monument and the surrounding areas, Millinocket’s North Light Gallery (256 Penobscot Ave) will be featuring artists from Maine and beyond in its gallery on Friday, August 24th and Saturday, August 25th. These artists, including Marsha Donahue, Candy McKellar, Pam and John Redick, Suzanne Savage Brewer, Deb Grabber, will spend the days leading up to the anniversary celebration preparing Plein Air style paintings from locations in the monument. The gallery will have a map of where the pieces were created so you can get out and experience the inspiring landscapes yourself. Artists will be present in the gallery from 10am to 6pm on Saturday to talk about their process and answer questions. Take home a perfect keepsake would be an original piece of artwork knowing you’re supporting local artists and that 10% of your purchase price will be donated to Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters in your name. Some of these artists appear in The Art of Katahdin, a book by Maine-based authors David Little and Carl Little, which you can purchase in our online shop.

Night Sky Viewing
Saturday evening, August 25th, Shin Pond Village

As the sun sets on Saturday night, attendees of our Anniversary Celebration will be treated to some of the best stargazing in the eastern half of the United States (weather permitting). The lands in and around the monument have very little light pollution. Check out this light pollution map to see just how dark it is at Shin Pond Village. On a clear night, visitors can get an unparalleled glimpse of the milky way and other celestial objects. Read more about this increasingly rare natural resource that makes our monument special in the Portland Press Herald. John Meader of the Northern Stars Planetarium will be setting up telescopes a short walkable distance from the celebration to help you experience our fabulous dark skies and the wonder of the universe. While the party ends at 9pm, feel free to stick around a little afterward to stargaze with John. The full moon that night may outshine many stars, but there should be views of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and deep space objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy.

Drive the Loop Road
17 mile drive // ~ 2.5 Hours

Grab a copy of the Loop Road Interpretive Map, pack a good lunch, and set out in a four-wheel drive vehicle with decent clearance and you’ll be ready for a trip around the iconic Loop Road in the south of the monument.

The 17-mile Loop Road offers a great opportunity to see the southern portion of the monument and includes pull-offs with scenic views. There are several short hikes from trail-heads along the Loop Road. Allow approximately 2.5 hours to drive the loop and enjoy a few stops for sightseeing and even more time if you plan to hike.

A project of the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters, the Loop Road Interpretive Map is keyed to “stops” along the Loop Road. The map features information about the historical, biological, and geological significance of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument’s southern landscape.

Bike LOOP From Bowlin Camps to the Lookout
Advanced Bike 13.2 Miles // ~ 6 – 9 Hours

Having a Map Adventures Trail map is highly recommended for this route, as roads and trails are not all indicated with signs at important junctures. For more details, read our trip report of an overnight version of this trek. Skip below for a shorter version of this trip.

Pack a good lunch and start your day by driving to Bowlin Camps Lodge. Founded in 1895, its one of the oldest camps in the region. It sits on a beautiful stretch of the East Branch of the Penobscot and they offer parking for the day for $10.

Unload your bikes and head out due west across the East Branch on the Bowlin Suspension Bridge. Go up the short hill after the bridge. You’ll come across a sign pointing to the north and south along the International Appalachian Trail (IAT). Take a right along to the north on the IAT. Stay straight and bike along the K Comp Rd for .7 miles. You’ll merge back up with the IAT at The Pines area for another .7 miles. Then veer left to bike along the K Comp Rd for 1.5 miles. Eventually, you’ll hit the juncture of the K Comp Rd and Little Messer Pond Rd. Take a left there and bike 2.7 miles until you hit the Lookout Trail .3 miles after the turnoff to Big Spring Brook Hut. You can bike up the Lookout Trail nearly to the top of the Scenic Lookout. When you cross a fork in the trail after a mile, stay left on the Lookout Trail. There will be forks to the left after the first. Only take your first left. Continue for 1.4 miles until the trail narrows and starts winding into the woods. You will need to leave your bikes or carry them to walk the last few hundred yards to the Lookout. Enjoy sweeping views of the monument to the east, and Katahdin and the Katahdin tablelands to the southwest.

To loop back to Bowlin Camps, go down the Lookout Trail and take a right out onto Little Messer Pond Rd. Bike .3 miles and then turn left onto Keyhole Rd. Take the fun, gradual downhill bike along Keyhole Road 2.9 miles until you hit the IAT. Turn left onto the IAT and bike 1.4 miles until you hit the hilltop where you first came up from the Bowlin Suspension Bridge. From there, take the bridge and return to your car.

To take a shorter mountain bike trip to the Lookout, park at the Haskell Gate in the north of the monument. Set out east then south along the IAT for 2.6 miles until you hit the Little Messer Pond Rd. Take the Little Messer Pond Rd .3 miles until you hit the juncture of the K Comp Rd and Little Messer Pond Rd. Follow the directions from that juncture to the Lookout, as described above. When you return from the Lookout Trail, take a left onto the Little Messer Pond Rd, back along the way you came. Return to the IAT and head north then west to return to your car at the Haskell Gate.

Visit the Patten Lumbermen's Museum
10 AM to 4 PM, 61 Shin Pond Rd, Patten

On your way to Shin Pond Village or adventures in the north of the monument, stop in at the Lumbermen’s Museum on Rt. 159 right outside Patten. At the Lumbermen’s Museum, you can learn all about Maine logging history, including the use of bateaux on waterways to transport supplies, the stories of the fearless river drivers, what life was like inside a remote logging camp, and even the role of bean hole beans. The Lumbermen’s Museum also houses one of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument’s Visitor Contact Stations and sells the waterproof, recreational Map Adventures trail map Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters co-published. The Lumbermen’s Museum is open 10 AM – 4 PM Tuesday to Sunday.

Paddle Shin Pond

Near Shin Pond Village and on your way to the north of the monument, there are two beautiful ponds that can be paddled. To paddle Lower Shin Pond, bring a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddle board to the boat launch on Lower Shin Pond. To access the boat launch head north on Rt. 159 towards Shin Pond Village and take a left before you’ve reached the bridge at the north of Lower Shin Pond. Put in at the pond and enjoy a leisurely paddle around the lake. There are two small sections of the monument, which abut the pond and can be accessed from the shore along the southeastern shores.

If you’re a guest at Mt. Chase Lodge, you’re welcome to take out one of the four canoes and four kayaks they have on the shores of Upper Shin Pond. If you’re paddling in a Mt. Chase Lodge boat, it is required that you wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), also available at Mt. Chase Lodge.