BAXTER STATE PARK, Maine — The popular Dudley Trail up Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain, was closed recently because of unstable conditions resulting from a rock and debris slide. The trail will remain closed for the remainder of this year and all of 2017, until trail crews relocate a section of the historic and well-traveled trail.
The Baxter State Park Authority announced the closure Sunday, July 24, on the park’s Facebook page and on its official website, baxterstateparkauthority.com.
The 1.3-mile Dudley Trail leads from Chimney Pond up the mountain to Pamola Peak. This strenuous hiking trail, with an elevation gain of 1,988 feet, is a crucial section of a popular loop hike from Chimney Pond that combines Katahdin’s Baxter Peak summit, Knife Edge and Pamola Peak.
While Dudley Trail is closed, hikers can still hike to and descend from Pamola Peak on the 3.2-mile Helon Taylor Trail, which starts at Roaring Brook Campground. Hikers also can reach Pamola Peak by hiking to Baxter Peak first — on the Cathedral, Saddle or Hunt trails — then hiking the famous 1.1-mile Knife Edge Trail across a narrow ridge between the two peaks.
“We appreciate your patience and support as we work to protect the park’s resources and address the concern posed by this most recent change in the Katahdin landscape,” Baxter State Park administration stated at the end of the announcement on Facebook.
A rockslide that occurred in early spring obliterated a section of the Dudley Trail above Pamola Caves, according to the Baxter State Park Authority. Park management conducted reconnaissance visits to the damaged area and after careful deliberation decided to close the trail and relocate a section.
On the park website, they specify “the lower section of the trail” will be relocated. Work will begin soon to establish the new trail location, and work on the relocation will begin later this year or early in 2017.
Efforts to reach park management Monday morning for more details about the project were unsuccessful.