Getting There -- Baxter State Park is 85 miles north of Bangor. Take I-95 to Medway (exit 244), then head west 11 miles on Route 11/157 to the mill town of Millinocket, the last major stop for supplies. Go through town and follow signs to Baxter State Park. Another, less-used entrance is in the park's northeast corner. Follow I-95 to exit 259, then take Route 11 north through Patten and west on Route 159 to the park. The speed limit in the park is 20 mph; motorcycles and ATVs are not allowed here.
Visitor Information -- Baxter State Park provides maps and information from its park headquarters, at 64 Balsam Dr. in Millinocket (tel. 207/723-5140; www.baxterstateparkauthority.com). Note that no pets are allowed into the park, and all trash you generate must be brought back out. For information on canoeing and camping outside Baxter State Park, contact Maine Woods, Inc., 92 Main St. (P.O. Box 421), Ashland, ME 04732 (tel. 207/435-6213; www.northmainewoods.org). This is the consortium of paper companies, other landowners, and concerned individuals which controls and manages recreational access to private parcels of the Maine woods.
For help in finding cottages, rentals, and tour outfitters in the region, contact the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, 1029 Central St., Millinocket, ME 04462 (tel. 207/723-4443; www.katahdinmaine.com), open Monday to Friday from 9am to 1pm.
Fees -- Baxter State Park visitors driving cars with out-of-state license plates are charged a per-day fee of $12 per car. (It's free to Maine residents, as well as to any occupants of a rental car bearing Maine plates.) This fee is charged only once per stay if you're coming to camp; otherwise, you need to pay each day you enter the park.
Grinning and Bearing It In Baxter -- There are a few dozen black bears in Baxter State Park, and while they are not out to eat you, they do get ornery when disturbed, and they do get hungry at night. The park has published these tips to help you keep a safe distance:
* Put all food and anything else with an odor (toothpaste, repellant, soap, deodorant, perfume) in a sealed bag or container and keep it in your car.
* If you're camping in the backcountry without a car, put all your food, dinner leftovers, and other "smelly" things in a bag and hang it between two trees (far from your tent) so that a bear can't reach it easily. Never keep any food in your tent.
* Take all your trash with you from the campsite when you leave.
* Do I need to say this? Do not feed bears, or any other animals in the park. They may bite that hand that feeds them! And don't toss any food on the trail.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.