Barrell Ridge: A Hidden Gem

Tucked away in the wilderness of Baxter State Park can be found many hidden gems. It's difficult enough to get into the park, and even harder to find the best kept secrets there. One such sight is Barrell Ridge, which lies just north of The Traveler. Most people staying at South Branch Campground go canoeing, or hike The Traveler. It's as if nobody knows this place exists, even though the views are truly remarkable.

Bald Mountain from Barrell Ridge.

To access Barrell Ridge, we had to walk down Ledges Trail for a while. The trail was beautiful as it wound through yellow flowers and tall grass. We eventually reached the junction, and continued down Middle Fowler Trail, which when followed to it's end, reaches Middle Fowler Pond.

Ledges Trail
Looking up the path.
Continuing down Middle Fowler Pond Trail.

The trail climbed higher and higher until it reached the col between Little and Big Peaked Mountains. The path became rockier. Here, the trail opened up onto a few ledges, with views looking north to Norway Bluff and Willard Mountain. From here, the path continued back into the trees.

Looking north from the first few ledges.

We started going down for a while, but the trail passed several ledges looking up to Barrell Ridge, our destination. The trail came across a brook with a few waterfalls. The area was very beautiful, and the forests were thick and wild. Clearly, this trail doesn't get much use. We eventually arrived at the junction for Barrell Ridge.

The view up to Barrell Ridge.
One of the waterfalls.
Barrell Ridge
What an accurate sign!

After a few steep sections of trail, we reached the first few ledges, which had excellent views looking out to Bald Mountain and North Traveler. We went in and out of trees until we reached the summit, which was marked with a sign. There were great views looking out to other nearby peaks, like Trout Brook Mountain, Horse Mountain, and Bald Mountain.

Bald Mountain from Barrell Ridge. Mt.Chase with Sugarloaf Mountain
directly in front of it can be seen beyond to the left.
Looking northeast toward Trout Brook Mountain
and Billfish Mountain to the right.
Bald Mountain, with Lunksoos and Deasey Mountains visible in the distance.
The summit of Barrell Ridge.

Even though we had reached the summit, our hike wasn't over. We bushwhacked westward along the ledges until we came to a large rocky area with incredible views looking south and west. There was an especially good view looking over to Little Peaked Mountain from here.

Looking down Barrell Ridge.
North Traveler from Barrell Ridge.
Looking toward Little Peaked Mountain.
South Branch Mountain can be seen above the ridge to the left.
Looking back toward Bald Mountain.

It always feels great to explore new areas. While Barrell Ridge isn't too far from The Traveler, a mountain I've climbed before, I still got that sense, something reminding me that this is the most northern mountain I've climbed, and the farthest north I've been in general. It's far away from any signs of civilization, and very remote. I'm happy to know there are still places like this is New England.


  1. Excellent write-up as usual, I felt as if I was there with you. :-)

    1. Thank you for reading! This is an amazing destination.

  2. Sounds like a worthwhile hike. Glad you enjoyed yourself.

    1. Thank you for reading Kelly. This place was super enjoyable, and a real hidden gem!

  3. Your true passion for hiking in the wilderness of the Northeast, and your curiousness in exploration in general, is so inspiring!

    I continue to be awestruck at your knowledge of it all...

    Great write up! Love the pics...

    1. Thank you for commenting as always, and thank you for the kind words!

  4. Another great reminder that there is so much more to BSP than Katahdin. Great get-away!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment! There are so many other sites to visit in the park than just Katahdin, many of which don't get any visitors.