Lookout Trail

Trail Overview

This double-track hiking and biking trail travels through upland mixed hardwood forest to an overlook with panoramic views of the Wassataquoik Valley and Baxter State Park.
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Trail Activity
Mountain-biking Hiking
12.8 miles, Round Trip
Dirt/Forest Floor, Gravel/Crushed Stone, Rock/Ledge, Grass
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The Lookout Trail is an ideal trail for a long day hike or mountain bike trail ride. The trail starts at the summer trailhead at Haskell Gate. This is also a great trailhead to access the International Appalachian Trail, and the several waterfalls along the East Branch Penobscot River which are only accessible by trail. The Lookout Trail heads south from the trailhead, beginning with a gradual ascent through mixed hardwood forests.

2.4 miles from the trailhead, the trail comes to a junction with the Little Messer Pond Trail. To access Messer Pond, turn left here, go about 500 feet and turn left again onto a narrow trail that leads another few hundred feet to the pond. To reach the Lookout continue straight through this first junction, not turning onto the Little Messer Pond Trail.

Continue another 1.6 miles to a signed junction marking the Lookout Trail to the right (just after crossing Big Spring Brook). From here the trail ascends more steeply, gaining about 1,000 feet in 2.4 miles to the Lookout. Alternatively, the trail to the left leads to the Big Spring Brook Hut (see accommodation information below).

The Lookout offers excellent views of the Wassataquoik Valley as it descends from Baxter State Park, through the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument towards the East Branch. To the northwest, Sable Mountain and the South Traveler Peak frame the northern side of the valley. Directly across the valley to the south is North Turner Mountain; 8 miles southwest is Deasey Mountain.

There is a small loop on top of the Lookout. Return by the same route used to reach the trailhead.

Other Information

Currently, there is one camping hut along this trail that is community- and user-maintained: Big Spring Brook Hut.There is no charge for staying at the hut, which has basic accommodations to comfortably sleep 8, with wood-burning stoves, outdoor pit toilets, and gas stove tops. However, permits are required for stays at the hut as well as for overnight parking. Reservations are made through the National Park Service.

Pets are not allowed in or near the hut, and must be leashed in all other areas of the National Monument.

The Maine Section of the IAT also maintains lean-tos for thru-hikers and others to share on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Fires are permitted only in designated sites and require a permit from the Maine Forest Service (Ashland Office, 207-435-7963).

Trail Manager

Visit Katahdin Woods and Waters online for more information and a printable map, or contact:

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
PO Box 446
Patten, Maine 04765
Phone: (207) 456-6001
View website

Nearby Events


Trail Tips

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

From I-95 take Exit 264; turn west onto ME-158 which shortly joins ME-11. Bear right on ME-11 and travel 9 miles to Patten. Leaving Patten, turn left on ME-159, the Shin Pond Road. Continue 26 miles on this road to the Matagamon Wilderness Store and Camps. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument can be accessed just beyond the camps on the left. Follow this road about 4 miles south where the road ends at the trailhead (note: these last 4 miles are not open to vehicles during the winter).

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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