Photo Credit: Ken Jordan

Visiting Baxter State Park during COVID-19

Is Baxter State Park open?
Yes, Baxter State Park is open for day use and camping. All publicly accessible roads in the park are open. All trails, except Dudley, are open.

Should I still visit Baxter State Park during the pandemic?
Baxter State Park recognizes the critical importance of spending time in the outdoors for our well-being. The CDC recommends you visit parks and outdoor recreation areas close to home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you choose to visit Baxter State Park, please plan carefully and follow current public health guidelines to reduce the risks to yourself, other visitors, Park staff, and local communities. 

How should I prepare for my visit?
Please stay home if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, if you believe you may have been exposed to the virus, or if you don’t feel well.  Please bring hand sanitizer and a mask or cloth face covering in addition to your normal hiking or camping gear. Supplies in local communities may be limited, so please plan ahead and bring everything you need with you from home. 

What if I’m traveling to Baxter State Park from out of state?
Baxter State Park is currently open for residents of Maine and out-of-state residents who meet the quarantine and testing requirements set forth in the state’s Keep Maine Healthy Plan. Please refer to the Keep Maine Healthy Plan for a current list of states whose residents are exempt from meeting the quarantine and testing requirements. 

Adults who obtain and receive a negative COVID-19 test no later than 72 hours prior to arrival in Maine may forego the 14 day quarantine.  Individuals may be tested in Maine, but they must quarantine outside the Park while waiting for the results. Visitors who are not residents of Maine or an exempted state must complete a Certificate of Compliance form indicating that they have either received a negative COVID-19 test result, will quarantine in Maine for 14 days, or have already completed their quarantine in Maine. 

A printed Certificate of Compliance form must be provided upon entrance to the park.  Additional COVID-19 travel details are available at the Keep Maine Healthy website.

Will local businesses outside the Park be open?
Some local businesses in the Katahdin Region are open. When visiting local communities and businesses, please wear a mask or cloth face covering, wash your hands, maintain physical distancing, and follow the posted rules. 

Is the Park open for fishing?
Yes, the park is currently open for fishing. All normal fishing laws and regulations apply. Canoes are available without charge, and are not disinfected-- please bring your own paddle and life jackets, per state law, and use these items at your own risk.

Can I use my bicycle in the Park?
Bikes are permitted on maintained roads within the Park. 

Can I climb Katahdin?
Yes, all Katahdin trails, except Dudley, are open. Access to the mountain is limited by proxy of vehicle to preserve the visitor experience and protect Katahdin’s sensitive natural resources.  The Day Use Parking Reservation system is the mechanism by which we regulate access.  Maine residents can reserve a parking spot beginning April 1 for any available day of the summer.  Non-residents may reserve a spot up to two weeks in advance of their hike.  Please be aware that BSP will be reducing overall day use capacity to facilitate physical distancing in parking lots.

What park facilities will be available during my visit?
Park Headquarters in Millinocket will remain closed to the public until further notice. The Visitor Center at Togue Pond is open with a capacity limit. Outhouses will be open.  Most picnic areas will be available.

How do I practice physical distancing in the Park?
Please maintain at least six feet of physical distance from all other Park visitors and staff. Avoid congregating in indoor or partially enclosed areas, such as ranger station porches. If you meet another hiker or group on the trail, please stay on the trail, pass quickly, and wear a mask. 

How do I wash my hands?
There are no sinks or running water in Baxter State Park for handwashing. All Park visitors should bring and carry hand sanitizer that meets CDC guidelines (>60% alcohol). It will not be provided in the Park, and may be in short supply in local communities. Please use hand sanitizer before and after handling high-touch surfaces like hiking registers, outhouse doors, and ranger station doors, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and prior to eating.

Do I need to wear a mask?
All Park visitors must carry a mask or cloth face covering, and wear it whenever maintaining physical distancing guidelines is not possible, including when passing other hikers along the trail. 

Will my campsite be disinfected prior to my arrival?
Tent and lean-to sites will not be disinfected. Please avoid bringing scented disinfectant products from home - the CDC does not recommend their use on porous wooden surfaces at campsites, and they may attract bears and other wildlife. High touch surfaces in cabins will be disinfected by Park staff between parties. Outhouses will be cleaned and disinfected at least twice daily. 

Anything else I should know?
Please use extra caution during your visit. Wilderness rescues, dangerous in normal times, are even more so now, and require large quantities of protective equipment that is in short supply. Use good judgment and take responsibility for your own safety. Our staff, search and rescue volunteers, and local hospitals thank you.  Please understand that all of this is subject to change as the pandemic unfolds.