State opens new 30-mile hiking loop covering part of the Appalachian Trail near Millinocket
The state will open a new 30-mile backcountry hiking loop this Saturday that straddles the Appalachian Trail in the Katahdin area, south of Baxter State Park.
The Great Circle Trail will connect two backcountry loops to the Appalachian Trail in its Hundred Mile Wilderness section on the Nahmakanta public reserve lands west of Millinocket.
The State Office of Parks and Lands will lead a guided hike on part of the trail on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. in honor of National Public Lands Day. They say the 30 mile loop has been in the works since 2005 and can be tackled “in small sections or as a multi-day adventure”.
“Our dedicated staff have shown great vision and a commitment to developing what is sure to become one of Maine’s best multi-day backpacking trips,” said Andy Cutko, Director of the Bureau of Parks and Lands , in a press release. “This trail offers a fantastic hiking experience in beautiful, secluded surroundings away from the crowds on more heavily trafficked trails.”
The Great Circle Trail is rated moderately difficult with some strenuous sections at times, but this is “well balanced by the rewards,” the state statement said. The loop includes four waterfalls, five scenic views, two gorges and several campsites.
The Nahmakanta region sits on the ancestral lands of the indigenous Penobscot people and is part of what is considered the furthest section of the Appalachian Trail before its northern terminus on Mount Katahdin.
The state says the public land reserve includes 24 large ponds, 50 miles of undeveloped shoreline, low mountains up to 2,524 feet, and 43,000 acres of forest in total. It encompasses the state’s largest ecological reserve, the Debsconeag hinterland.
Annie Ropeik’s story.