Winter Camping

A small wooden cabin on a blue sky day surrounded by thick snow. The sun glares agains the windows with pairs of cross country skis standing outside.
Cross country skiing and/or snowshoeing to Haskell Hut is an activity that visitors enjoy during the winter.

Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters / Sam Deeran

In the winter, people often ski or snowshoe to Grand Pitch Lean-to or Haskell and Big Spring Brook Huts. Although all campsites and lean-tos at Katahdin Woods and Waters are available year-round, it is important to note that the only road that remains open to vehicle access in the winter (starting as early as the end of October) is the New River Road. Visitors are only able to drive as far as the parking area just past the north gate by vehicle before they begin their winter activities.

The parking area near the North Gate at New River Road is plowed during the winter. Please use caution and expect snow and ice when driving within the monument.

Camping in the Winter

Walk-in / First-come, First-served Sites:

  • Walk-in primitive tent sites at Upper East Branch
  • Walk-in primitive tent site at Haskell Deadwater
  • Walk-in lean-to at Grand Pitch
  • Walk-in lean-to at Lunksoos Mountain

* Overnight parking for the sites above is available at the north entrance.

Required Reservations Sites:

*Reservations open December 11th, 2023 through Recreation.gov for the 2024 winter season. March 17th, 2024 is the final reservable date of the winter camping season.

Camping Guidelines

  • Campers must be prepared for extreme weather conditions and must be self-sufficient.
  • There is no potable water at the campsites, lean-tos, and huts.
  • Camping is permitted only at designated campsites.
  • Campsites (including huts) are carry in/carry out! Trash, food scraps, and paper items must be collected, bagged, and carried out of the monument. Follow Leave No Trace principles.
  • Campfires must be in designated areas and in established fire rings. Bringing in firewood is prohibited. Dead and down wood may be gathered in areas adjacent to the campsites for campfires.

Winter Camping Safety

For those looking to snow-shoe or ski to a campsite during the winter months, it is important to understand that dangers do exist at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, and even small problems can become deadly if winter users are not prepared. Use common sense and caution when planning a trip. Winter weather and snow conditions can change rapidly.

  • Choose a reasonable route—know your limitations. Keep in mind your physical condition and winter travel experience
  • In winter, the consequences of an unplanned night out are more severe, so it is even more important to tell someone responsible where you are going and when you plan to return. Don't go out alone unless you are very experienced.
  • Group dynamics are even more important in winter. Do not separate from your group. Watch out for signs of hypothermia, exhaustion, or dehydration in others as well as yourself. Make decisions based on the weakest party member.
  • Prevent hypothermia by managing clothing as needed. Take off a jacket before getting sweaty; warm up your fingers before they are too stiff to work a zipper. Dry winter air means you need more water to stay hydrated—don’t forget to drink because it’s cold out.
  • Carry and know how to use a map and compass (even if you have GPS). Most winter travel is cross-country travel; the trails are covered with snow. Make sure your navigational skills are up to the challenge. Even following the marked ski trails in the park requires care and attention in new snow, at night, or in stormy conditions.
  • Wear or carry a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, gloves, warm jacket and raingear (both jacket & pants).
  • Be prepared for sudden changes in weather. Wear proper clothing (no cotton). Synthetic or wool clothing keeps you warm when wet and will help keep you alive.
  • Carry emergency equipment, such as a signal mirror, whistle, waterproof matches, emergency space blanket, and a flashlight/headlamp (with extra batteries).
  • Be prepared to spend a night out if necessary.
  • Drink plenty of water (and carry extra). There is no potable water in the monument.
  • Eat and carry high energy food.
  • Plan for the unexpected. A foot of new, heavy snow can drastically affect the speed one can travel, make route finding more difficult, and greatly increasing the avalanche hazard.
 
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Big Spring Brook Hut

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Haskell Hut

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Last updated: April 4, 2024

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 446
Patten, ME 04765

Phone:

207-456-6001

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