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Gulf Hagas Circular - September 4, 2002


New member
May 21, 2002
Warwick, NY
Date of Hike: Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Pictures: link to Gallery - Baxter Park Trip - Album I - #61

Route: From the parking lot on KI (Katahdin Ironworks) Road we took the spur trail to the Appalachian Trail. Then we crossed the Pleasant River - West Branch and proceeded up the AT. We then made a left turn over Gulf Hagas Brook. After the brook crossing, we made another left on the Rim Trail descending along the stream. Continuing along we took many spur trails to vistas of the Gulf Hagas. After the "Head of the Gulf", the Rim Trail leaves the Pleasant River and intersects the Pleasant River (tote) Road - Trail. We made a right here and followed this old road (trail) back to the Appalachian Trail. The remainder of the hike we retraced our steps along the AT, fording the Pleasant River - West Branch and following the spur trail back to the parking lot.

Total Distance: 8.8 miles

Difficulty: strenuous

Conditions: slippery and wet in places

Weather: rain & mostly cloudy 60s

Participants: Aaron Schoenberg, Dean Gletsos, Alex Lantino

Hike Statistics: Total elevation gain: 1,440 feet.

0.0 680 9:30 AM KI Road - Start of Hike
0.2 670 9:35-10:00 Jct. AT at the Pleasant River - West Branch crossing
1.4 950 10:30 Jct. AT & Pleasant River Trail
1.5 950 10:35 Jct. Pleasant River & Rim Trails
1.7 900 10:45 Screw Auger Falls
1.9 830 10:50-10:55 Lower Screw Auger Falls
2.4 880 11:15 Hammond Street Pitch
2.9 970 12:00 Noon Jaws Outlook
3.5 1040 12:35-12:40 Buttermilk Falls
3.8 ----- 1:00-1:30 PM Lunch
4.1 1140 1:45-1:50 Billings Falls
4.5 1130 2:00 Stair Falls
4.7 1140 2:05 Head of Gulf
4.9 1180 2:15 Jct. Pleasant River Road Trail
6.9 1200 2:35 Jct. Gulf Hagas Cut-off
7.4 950 3:05 Jct. AT
8.6 670 3:35-3:50 leave AT & Pleasant River ford
8.8 680 3:55 PM KI Road - End of Hike

Trip Report:

This hike is not in Baxter State Park, but I considered a must do hike and also a good rainy day hike as there are no mountain vistas. Also, when and if I do the AT, I probably would not take the time to do a full day exploration of this natural scenic wonder, so I included this hike on this trip.

We started the drive in a heavy downpour. It drizzled while we explored the Katahdin Ironworks. Most of our stuff was still wet from yesterday's hike as the rain continued. I was surprised at the nominal fee to enter the lumber company lands as the lady at the entrance charged us $8 per person! We drove in on muddy roads reaching the parking area for the start of the hike. Almost immediately we came to the West Branch of the Pleasant River which I chose to ford although Dean & Alex found a rock route that they scampered across staying dry. A little girl fell in as a family we passed was also crossing there. We did the loop of the Gulf Hagas, which was definitely wild, remote, beautiful and worth seeing. Some of the ledges and rock formations were breathtaking and all the spurs to the various falls we traversed added distance to the hike. So many little ups and downs made this hike much more strenuous then we anticipated. The sun came out in the afternoon, making the return trip more pleasant. We met twelve people on this hike, mostly on the AT in the afternoon.