You could climb 5,268-foot Katahdin in a day (as many hikers do). But Densmore has a weekend itinerary that sidesteps parking-lot crowds—and includes lakeside camping at Chimney Pond (reserve four months in advance). From the Roaring Brook Campground, take the Chimney Pond Trail 3.3 miles to your lean-to below Katahdin’s steely cliffs.
Next morning, begin a strenuous, 4.6-mile loop on the Dudley Trail, scrambling over car-size boulders up 2,000 feet in 1.4 miles. Top barren, 4,919-foot Pamola Peak and check for signs of storms before braving the Knife’s Edge, a 1.1-mile ridge only three feet wide in places, with 1,500-foot drops. Snag summit views of primeval forest and glacier-carved cirques before heading back to camp on the slightly mellower 2.2-mile Saddle Trail.
Contact: Baxter State Park, Millinocket, ME; (207) 723-5140; baxterstateparkauthority.com
-Mapped by Ryan Villano