RUSSELL POND CAMPGROUND
(Elevation 1,333’) Established in 1950
Russell Pond is located on the site of
the former W.F. Tracy sporting camps.
Russell Pond can be reached by hiking
from Roaring Brook, South Branch Pond
or Nesowadnehunk Field campgrounds.
Hiking distance to Russell Pond varies
from 7.5-14.3 miles.
• 3 tent sites, 5 lean-tos, 8-person
• Rental canoes at outlying ponds.
(Elevation 2,914’) Established in 1938
Chimney Pond is the oldest campground
in the Park. The original Chimney Pond
cabin was built in 1923 by the Department
of Inland Fisheries and Game but the
area was not established as a campground
until later. Due to the elevation and slow
growth of trees here, open fires are not
allowed. Campers are asked to cook with
backpacker type stoves.
• 9 lean-tos.
• 10-person bunkhouse.
• Access to Davis Pond lean-to.
Stacking stones is an old business. Trail
builders in the Northeast picked up the
tradition from ancient cultures. The
Scots may be best known for it; after all,
the word cairn originates from a Gaelic
term for “heap of stones.” But the rather
prosaic definition does little justice to a
tradition stretching back millennia and
The early Norse used stones as precursors
to lighthouses, marking important
navigational sites in the maze-like
Norwegian fjords. Vikings blazed routes
across Iceland with varda (Icelandic for
cairn) more than a thousand years ago.
Cairns cross deserts on three continents
and dot the Tibetan Plateau, the
Mongolian steppe, and the Inca Road
system of the Andes. Erected for
navigation, spiritual offering, or as
monuments of remembrance, heaps of
stone occur in just about every treeless
landscape in which one finds loose rock.
Rock cairns have been used as route
markers for centuries, indeed since the
time of the Vikings. They are superior
to paint blazes in that they are visible at
much greater distance, especially during
times of low visibility, and stand up well
to snow and frost.
As trail markers in Baxter State Park
cairns are built with sensitivity to the
Alpine environment. How and where
rocks are collected for the cairns can
be a slow and painstaking process.
Great care is taken to not disturb plant
communities or thin soils. One three
foot high cairn can take three members
of our trail crew up to three hours to
Visitors will often build cairns with
the good intention of helping with
navigation, while others may simply
stack stones, add stones to an existing
cairn to leave their mark, or to create
monuments or memorials. Considerable
time is spent dismantling these in order
to maintain official way finding routes
and provide for a wilderness experience.
Within Baxter State Park are 32 individual
backcountry sites. Typically there is only
one tent or lean-to at each backcountry
site with a capacity of 4 campers. Each site
features a fire ring (except Davis Pond),
an outhouse, and a water source. All
water from sources in Baxter State Park is
non-potable. Treating your water is highly
Cairns on Katahdin
Campground Rangers, gate staff, visitor
center staff, and reservation staff at park
headquarters can provide more information
on these sites. You may also find
detailed information on the Baxter State
Park website: www.baxterstatepark.org