AT Hikers Encouraged Not to Summit Katahdin During Labor Day Weekend to Honor Penobscot Nation Pilgrimage

Editor’s note 8/28: The title previously stated that Katahdin would be closed on Labor Day weekend, which was incorrect. We sincerely apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Long-distance AT hikers are encouraged to avoid planning their summit date for Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 1-3) during the Penobscot Nation’s annual spiritual pilgrimage and traditional ceremonies. Fewer campsites are available, and the park is unusually congested during this time. The Monson Appalachian Trail Visitor Center recently alerted thru-hikers via social about the special circumstances:

Members of the Penobscot Nation will be participating in the Katahdin 100, a spiritual pilgrimage from Indian Island in the Penobscot River north of Bangor to Katahdin. The Penobscots view Katahdin as being sacred and holy, as the mountain was part of their territory before the AT came into existence. Katahdin Stream Campground—the Appalachian Trail route to summit Katahdin—will be closed for overnight guests Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2, to honor the Penobscots as they conduct their traditional ceremonies.

image via

Thru-hikers are asked to plan their summit date around this event, and either summit Katahdin before Sept. 1 or after the 3rd. The Birches, a satellite of Katahdin Stream Campground reserved for long-distance northbound hikers, will remain open for 12 hikers per night. The surrounding area will be highly congested at this time, making it difficult for drivers coming to pick up hikers and for the ones seeking rides out of the park.

All parties involved are thanking hikers in advance for their consideration.

Photo courtesy Pete Bromen

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Comments 5

  • John Gordon : Aug 27th

    No, Katahdin will not close for several days. It won’t close at all.

  • Wendy Weiger : Aug 27th

    I wrote the Facebook alert that is reproduced as part of the blog post above. Anyone who reads that alert will see that the title of the blog post is inaccurate. Katahdin will not close. Although Katahdin Stream Campground will be closed to overnight guests September 1 and 2, the Hunt Trail — the A.T. route up Katahdin, which passes through Katahdin Stream Campground — will remain open, and The Birches — a satellite of Katahdin Stream Campground reserved for long-distance northbound hikers — will remain open to 12 hikers per night. Long-distance northbound hikers who secure one of the 12 first-come, first-served spots at The Birches, long-distance hikers who enter Baxter State Park via commercial shuttle services, and hikers who have obtained day-use parking passes for Katahdin Stream Campground will be able to climb Katahdin via the Hunt Trail over Labor Day weekend. However, Katahdin Stream Campground will not serve as a backup option for hikers who fail to secure a spot at The Birches September 1 or 2, and no further day-use parking passes remain available for September 1, 2, or 3. I’m sorry that the blog post above misrepresents what I wrote. — Wendy Weiger, Monson A.T. Visitor Center Manager

  • Wendy Weiger : Aug 27th

    For anyone who may wonder what the comments John Gordon and I made above may mean: Our comments referred to the original title of the post, “Katahdin to Close for Several Days to Honor Penobscot Nation Pilgrimage.” I see that the author has corrected the title since John Gordon and I made those comments. Ideally, she would have noted that this was a correction of her original post, but at least the information conveyed by the current title is accurate.

  • Tim : Aug 28th

    All those thousands of thru-hikers who want to summit then sure would get in the way ???

  • Tom Young aka Grey Eagle 2017 : Aug 31st

    I summited last year on Sept 1. I tried to go up 31 Aug but weather wise, I took the hostel shuttle, first one, to Monson. Came back early AM Sept 1 and went up in 2 hr 49 min. Didn’t see any tribel people or activities. Was off Katahdin by 1100 AM.


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