Columbus Day Weekend at Katahdin Lake Wilderness Camps, 2016 version

Katahdin Lake Wilderness Camps

It’s October 7th, 2016 and 70° outside, sunny, with blue skies that are clear of clouds, mosquitoes, and even the pesky black flies. Down in the Southeast USA 1.5 million people are presently evacuating Florida and the Carolinas, expecting significant damage from the latest hurricane.  I’m safely settled here with my wife, Marcia, with our friends Ivan and Lynn for what is now our second collective Columbus Day weekend in Baxter’s Katahdin Lake.


Katahdin Lake Camps boasts a continuous lineage of supporting the outdoor woods and waters enthusiast dating back to 1885. Check out Aislinn Sarnacki’s comprehensive 2013 trip report of her visit to WLWC.

Hilyard’s Cabin – typical lodging at KLWC

A couple of updates to Aislinn’s report are that there is no plan to keep the Camps open this particular winter season, and that the charge for a single person to spend the night (without prepared meals) at the Camps is up from $35 to $45, still a great deal.

You can’t drive here.

Marcia trekking in

You have to hike 3.3 miles from the parking area on Baxter’s Roaring Brook Road or fly in via a float plane, typically serviced by Katahdin Air, where the price is $75 per person, one way.



There are 11 miles of new trails that can be hiked in into and around Katahdin Lake, with the longest walk reaching Twin Ponds,-a day hike from the WLWC.

Last year, Ivan and I shortened the hike to reach Twin Ponds by canoeing directly north, straight across Katahdin Lake where we picked up the Twin Ponds Trail right beside a Baxter State Park Lean-to.

Canoeing across in 2015


There are two other lean-tos in this part of the Park that can be reserved through the BSP office:  Martin Ponds and South Katahdin Lake lean-tos.

North Katahdin Lake Lean-to

If you are unlucky enough to have a windy day that makes a canoe traverse too dangerous, then the option to visit Twin Ponds on foot from KLWC is to walk the Martin Ponds Trail out to join the North Katahdin Lake Trail, which ends at the North side of KL, where you pick up the 3.4 mile Twin Ponds trail. It’s a long day on foot- 14.4 miles out and back. While the grade is relatively easy around the Lake, there are sections of hummocky ups and downs, and places where plenty of rocks and boulders have you slowing down and picking your footpath.

Marcia and I decided to pack in most our own food for our three night stay, with the exception of signing on for a Saturday night dinner and Sunday morning breakfast in the main dining room.  Prices are moderate: $25 for complete dinner, and $15 for a big full camp breakfast.  There is no running water or electricity in the ancient log cabins.  Your refrigerator is a chest cooler with a block of ice inside, and the water is drinkable, in a 5 gallon container, from a spring fed source.  Three propane lanterns lit up our Windy Pitch long cabin at night, and cooking is on a propane 4 burner stove top.  Marcia and I were up and down in a corner bunk bed, with Ivan and Lynn sharing a double bed diagonally across the single room. On the coldest night, we cranked up the wood stove to warm the place up before we settled into sleep.

The weather was perfect for Ivan and I to take a 7.7 mile round trip hike to the northern end of Katahdin Lake on our first full day here.

Ivan walking along Katahdin Lake

Lynn and Marcia chose to explore, and draw landscapes and natural details along the inlet at the SW corner of the Lake.

The only trail left for me to explore around Katahdin Lake was the final 1.8 mile length from KLWC to the eastern edge of BSP, where the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument share that boundary.


That will be tomorrow’s adventure.  Stay tuned.

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