“Awesome gravel grinder that gives the sense of the raw beauty and stark isolation of Katahdin Woods & Waters.”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
This loop is for the not-quite-so-adventurous types who want to experience the raw beauty and stark isolation of Katahdin Woods & Waters without committing to the KAWW Loop
Much of the route follows the main Katahdin Loop Road
and the rest of this loop follows official mapped routes, which seem well maintained. You still have the chance to see bears (saw mama with three cubs), moose (one cow), deer, and maybe even the odd homo sapien (one male /female pair). The Wassataquiok Stream is readily accessible from the start/finish and there is a great overlook of Mt. Katahdin itself about halfway through the ride. The area is particularly stunning in leaf season in early to mid-October.
Need to Know
The gravel Katahdin Loop Road
is open to vehicular traffic, including logging trucks (which have the right of way), although it closes for the season in winter.
Katahdin Woods & Waters is America's Newest National Monument (2016). It's still basically undeveloped, and the loop road is one of the few amenities. The Katahdin Loop Road
is a semi-improved gravel road open to passenger vehicles, but for now it sees very little traffic and makes for a very peaceful gravel grinder.
This loop starts at the end of the Orin Falls Road
because I like to start at the low point and get the climbing out of the way, but there are several other parking areas along the main loop. Take Orin Falls Road
to the main loop. You'll definitely want to take the short diversion on the Scenic Overlook Road
to get a good view of Mt. Katahdin itself. There is a picnic area and pit toilet at the overlook.
Continue along the loop road until the three-way intersection with The Broken Road
. There are a couple of other views of Mt. Katahdin on this stretch. When you reach The Broken Road
, follow it past the gate until you reach Barnard Mountain Road
. Turn right to complete the loop.
If you're looking for a little bit more, you can take the Orin Falls Trail
north to Orin Falls before you return to Orin Falls Road