Maine's Katahdin Region - Classic Wilderness & Big Fun
Make your New England vacation forever memorable with a trip to New England’s Wilderness Paradise. The hardest thing will be deciding which activities to choose. From May through October, the Katahdin Region and the Penobscot River offers a great vacation getaway with family or friends.
The Katahdin Region in upstate Maine is truly New England's Wilderness Paradise.
Where is the Katahdin Region?Located in the east central portion of the state, this region includes mile-high Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park, the vast southern Aroostook softwood flats, the hilly lake country south of Route 6, and the rolling farm country of western Penobscot County.
Did You Know?
- Maine’s Katahdin region rivals The Rockies or Alaska for fishing, wildlife, paddling, camping, birdwatching, hunting, whitewater rafting, and hiking recreation.
- The area’s abundant forests, mountains, rivers, trails, and lakes offer an accessible, pristine wilderness experience, all within an easy day’s drive from Major East Coast cities (approximately 4 hrs from Portland, Maine).
- The Katahdin Region is home to incredible wildlife, including moose, white-tailed deer, osprey, bald eagles, blue herons, otters, beavers, and more.
- The Penobscot River watershed is the backbone of the region and home to world-class fishing for trout, landlocked salmon, and smallmouth bass.
- Major rivers feeding into the Penobscot include the Mattawamkeag, the Piscataquis, the Pleasant, the Passadumkeag, and the east and west branches of the upper Penobscot.
Cool Facts About Maine's Katahdin Region:
1. The Katahdin Region has the highest mountain in Maine and the largest lake:
Mt. Katahdin is 5,267 ft, only 13 shy of a mile in height. It is also the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, in Baxter State Park. The Park has over 200,000 acres of trails for hiking at all levels, plus campgrounds.
Moosehead Lake is the largest body of water contained within a northern state east of the Mississippi, at 120 square miles.
2. There really are freshwater salmon in central Maine, miles from the Atlantic!Atlantic salmon were trapped in the St. Croix and Union River watersheds when the ocean receded. These fish adapted well to fresh water and evolved into the landlocked salmon that we catch today.
3. The many lakes, bogs, and streams in Maine’s Katahdin Region are a result of the last Ice Age when the Atlantic Ocean covered most of the region.Uplifting land when the weight of the ice was removed, trapped much of the water into the vast network of lakes, bogs and streams that now characterize this area.
4. Maine is more heavily forested than any other state in America, with 90% of Maine’s 19.8 million acres covered by forest.By comparison, Alaska is 35% covered by forest.
Fishing Heaven! The Penobscot River and Baxter State Park
- The Penobscot River is considered one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the eastern United States. The west and east branches support a world-class landlocked salmon fishery, known for salmon weighing over five pounds, as well as trout that can get up to 20 inches long.
- Baxter State Park contains great trout ponds and streams as well. Wassataquoik Lake in the center of the park is one of the few remaining waters with blueback trout (Artic Char).
Lakes and Waterways for Canoeing and Kayak Touring
- The Katahdin region is home to hundred of lakes, including the largest lake in Maine- Moosehead Lake.
- Section #11 of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail travels through the Katahdin region and joins into Moosehead Lake. Thoreau traveled this section of the NFCT and wrote of his trip in “The Maine Woods.”
- The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740 mile waterway “trail” from NY to the Maine-Canadian border. (Think of it as the paddling version of through-hiking the Appalachian Trail.)
Class IV-V Penobscot River offers the best whitewater-wilderness combination in the East.
- The dam-controlled Penobscot River has guaranteed Class IV-V flows from May 31st to September 8th.
View Penobscot Rafting Rates Calendar Now.
- Camping & restaurant available at Northern Outdoors’ Penobscot Outdoor Center.
Hiker’s Heaven: Multi-day and Day Trips:
- The Appalachian Trail goes through the Katahdin Region. It ends at Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park.
- The Park has over 200,000 acres of trails for hiking at all levels, plus campgrounds making it convenient to set up base-camp and do day hikes.
- Read about some of the favorite hikes of Northern Outdoors Staff.