Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is a National Park Service unit in the early stages of planning and management. The lands and waterways are remote, wild, and often pristine. There are patches of untouched old growth trees as well as forests of new saplings growing up in lands logged in the past. Throughout the monument, there are historic trails, logging roads, and stretches of the International Appalachian Trail; but it was only recently that they became managed by the National Park Service. When you visit, it’s important to adjust the expectations you may have from experiences at other National Park lands. To have an enjoyable and safe visit to this wilderness area, take time for added preparation.

Rescues in the backcountry can take hours or even days so people should be responsible for their own safety and well-being as much as possible. The area is remote, and you may not see another person during your visit to the monument.

Expand the sections below to read important details to Know Before You Go.

Notes on infrastructure within the monument
  • Signage: Leading into the monument, and within the monument itself, there is not yet ample directional signage. It is critical that you bring good driving directions to find entrance gates into the monument. While hiking, driving, biking, or paddling in the monument, carry a map and compass. The waterproof Map Adventures recreational map is an excellent resource for navigating the monument and the surrounding communities. For any trip longer than a day-trip, we recommend carrying a GPS.
  • Roads: Many driving roads within the monument are old, gravel logging roads. We recommend using a four- wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle with good undercarriage clearance if you plan on driving the Loop Road in the south of the monument or the Haskell Road in the north of the monument.
  • Bridges: Many bridges within the monument need repair and maintenance. Be mindful of bridges that are wobbly or creaky when crossing on foot or on a bike.
  • Cell Service: The bulk of monument land does not get any service. You cannot rely on connecting with the outside world via cell phone. It’s a nice way to step away from the hustle and bustle, but it does require your added awareness.
Tent-sites, Lean-tos, and Huts inside the Monument
  • Tent-sites, lean-tos, and huts within the monument are taken at a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • All huts except for Big Spring Brook Hut are closed during the Summer of 2018.
  • For a list of lodging outside the monument, visit the local accommodations page.
Obtaining Permits before your Trip
  • Overnight Parking Permits: If you intend to leave a car parked overnight in the monument, you are required to display an overnight parking permit. Please contact Susan Adams, Recreation Manager for Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., at lunksoos@gmail.com to get a parking permit.
  • Fire Permits: Campfires can only be kindled with a valid Maine Forest Service Campfire Permit and only in designated locations such as established campsites and lean-tos. A free permit is easily acquired prior to a visit by calling the Northern Regional Office of the Maine Fire Service at (207) 435-7963 or visiting them at 45 Radar Street in Ashland, Maine.
Usage Rules
  • Hiking: Hiking is allowed everywhere, but please stick to well-marked, clear paths. If it doesn’t feel like a maintained trail, it’s not a maintained trail.
  • Biking: Mountain biking is allowed only on previously disturbed gravel roads.
  • ATVs and Snowmobiles – ATV and snowmobile riding is allowed in the Seboeis parcel.
  • Hunting – Hunting is allowed in the Seboeis parcel. Maine state hunting regulations apply.
  • Dogs – Unlike in some National Parks, dogs are allowed in the monument. Leave No Trace rules apply throughout the entirety of the monument so please pick up after your pet.
  • Leave No Trace – Please follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace. They provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts.
    1.  Plan Ahead and Prepare
    2.  Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
    3.  Dispose of Waste Properly
    4.  Leave What You Find
    5.  Minimize Campfire Impacts
    6.  Respect Wildlife
    7.  Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Visit the Leave No Trace website for more detailed guidance on the seven principles.

Suggested Pack Lists

Below you’ll find suggested pack lists for day-long and overnight trips. These are general suggestions for packing lists. Your list will vary according to weather and your activity of choice. Be aware there are not outfitters anywhere within the monument. You will want to come prepared with outdoor gear before you visit the Katahdin region.

Suggested Daypack List

  • 64 oz of fresh water per person
  • Map and compass
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Waterproof matches
  • Trail snacks and energy bars
  • Headlight/flashlight & batteries
  • Bag for carrying out all waste
  • Camera, guidebooks, sketchpads
  • Appropriate footgear for backcountry trails
  • Extra clothing for change in weather (can be very cold/rainy even in summer)
  • First Aid kit

Suggested Overnight Pack List

  • 64 oz of fresh water per person
  • Map and compass
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Waterproof matches
  • GPS
  • Camp stove & fuel, cooking gear
  • Water filtration system or iodine Tablets
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag and pad
  • Headlight/flashlight & batteries
  • All food necessary for trip & bear-proof storage container
  • Extra clothing for change in weather (can be very cold/rainy even in summer)
  • Appropriate footgear for backcountry trails
  • Bag for carrying out all waste
  • Camera, guidebooks, sketchpads
  • First Aid kit