International Appalachian Trail (IAT): Houlton to Fort Fairfield

Trail Overview

This section of the International Appalachian Trail travels northwards across a patchwork landscape of forest and field, hugging the US/Canada Border as it follows rural roads, abandoned railroad bed, and remote trail.
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Trail Activity
Length
52.6 miles, One Way
Difficulty
Strenuous
Towns
Blaine, Bridgewater, Easton, Fort Fairfield, Houlton, Littleton, Mars Hill, Monticello, TC R2 WELS
Surface
Dirt/Forest Floor, Gravel/Crushed Stone
Pets
Permitted
Fees
No
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Description

The following description is not intended for navigational purposes. Detailed route descriptions are available in the free trip guide provided by the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT). For the most up-to-date information and maps please visit the IAT Maine Chapter website.

This section of the International Appalachian Trail travels for 52.6 miles between the town of Houlton and the US/Canada international border crossing in Fort Fairfield. The route follows a combination of ATV trail, recreational rail trail, public roads, and the international border clearing itself. Along the way, hikers summit the scenic Mars Hill Mountain and pass three designated IAT lean-to sites. Though this section of the IAT has little in the way of steep or technical terrain, great distances between resupply points and the remoteness of the terrain make this a hike that should be attempted only by those with significant backcountry experience.

Beginning on Ludlow Road in Houlton, the IAT turns due north and follows ATV trail to the Southern Bangor and Aroostook recreational rail trail. The IAT follows the rail trail northwards for 28.2 miles, past the towns of Monticello, Bridgewater and ending in Mars Hill. Here, the IAT leaves the rail trail and travels east on public roads to the base of Mars Hill Mountain. Crossing up and over the mountain, the IAT then follows service roads and old ATV trails along the north ridge of Mars Hill Mountain to the intersection with Knoxford Road. A brief eastward jaunt on Knoxford takes hikers to the international border trail on the US/Canada border. From here, it is a 10.8-mile walk due-north along the border clearing, past the Fort Fairfield IAT Lean-to, to the final stretch of public road walk that brings hikers the last few miles to the international border crossing in Fort Fairfield.

Other Information

Water is available along or adjacent to the trail and campsites. Hikers should not assume that it is safe to drink without treating with a disinfectant, filtering, or boiling for at least 5 minutes.

LMF Logo

This trail passes through a property that was acquired in part with funds from the Land for Maine’s Future program. For more information about the LMF program and the places it has helped to protect, please visit the LMF webpage.

Trail Manager

Visit the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail online for more information and printable maps or contact:

International Appalachian Trail, Maine Chapter

International Appalachian Trail, Maine Chapter
PO Box 916
Gardiner, ME 04345
info@internationalatmaine.org
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Trail Tips

Minimize Campfire Impacts
Keep campfires small and contained to established fire rings in permitted sites only.
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Trailhead Information

There are multiple access points to this section of the International Appalachian Trail. For detailed access, parking, and planning information, please refer to the maps and trail guides provided on the IAT Maine Chapter website.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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