Looking at a map of Maine , it’s impossible not to notice the large green rectangle that sits sandwiched between the rivers and lakes smack in the northern part of the state. The straight lines are deceptive—within the shape are more than 200,000 acres of the wildest lands in New England, a paradise for hikers and campers who are willing to work for their wilderness.
In fact, the original charter of Baxter State Park dedicates it to exactly “those who love nature and are willing to walk and make an effort to get close to nature.” Because of that, Baxter State Park has few roads, rewarding hikers who make the effort with 200 miles of remote trails pockmarked with waterfalls, fishing streams, ruined lumber camps, and mountain peaks with views of green as far as the eye can see.
In mid-summer, the small town of Medway hosts the annual Katahdin Area Wooden Arts/Canoe Festival (Rte. 157, Medway, 207/723-4443, www.katahdinmaine.com ) with displays by local boat manufacturers, white-water races, live animal exhibits, and fireworks.
For trail maps and updated information about the park, stop at Baxter State Park Authority Headquarters (64 Balsam Dr., Millinocket, 207/723-5140, www.baxterstateparkauthority.com ) on the way to the park’s southern entrance. For information about the surrounding area, stop by the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce (1029 Central St., Millinocket, 207/723-4443, www.katahdinmaine.com ).