Celia and Jackson Ponds (Baxter State Park)

View across Kidney Pond, Baxter State Park

(Note: As of October 23, 2020, Baxter State Park offices and headquarters remain closed to the public, but reservations can still be made online and by calling (207) 723-5140. Togue and Matagamon Gates are open 6am to 7pm. Katahdin and Traveler trails are closed at their trailheads to protect alpine resources.)

Having completed two strenuous hiking days in the northern part of Baxter State Park, I wanted to explore an easier path on my long, scenic way out through the Togue Pond Gate. Celia and Jackson Ponds, reached in that order, are accessed from the Kidney Pond campground day-use trailhead via a 3.2 mile (1.5 to 2 hours) out-and-back hike using the Sentinel Connector Trail, and Celia and Jackson Ponds Trail. I found this hike using Falcon Guides’ Hiking Maine’s Baxter State Park.

The pleasant smell of woodsmoke from the campground quickly gave way to that of pine, and the path has a definite enchanted woods feel, with soft, greenish light cast on the moss surrounding the trail. Shortly after the trail’s beginning, a large boulder on the left is whimsically marked “Kidney Stone – do not remove.” Kidney Pond can be seen through the trees, and then a small side trail to the shore provides excellent views of Katahdin to the west.

Giant boulder, Celia and Jackson Ponds Trail, Baxter State Park

Turn right at the well-marked trail intersection towards Celia and Jackson Ponds on a piney path with mossy hummocks on each side. A giant, incongruous wedge-shaped boulder is visible shortly along on the right, like an alien spacecraft that crashed to earth. Fresh moose poop (again) littered the trail, but never materialized into a moose sighting.

Celia Pond, Baxter State Park

By about 1.1 miles, a gradual uphill climb has led through a thickening pine forest to the edge of Celia Pond. Fly fishing is allowed here, and there also canoes to rent. I met a fly fisherman headed the other way, his fishing day done. The pond itself was utterly quiet except for the sounds of birds, dragonflies, and a light wind through the trees. Continue straight at the junction with Little Beaver Pond Trail.

View of Moose and Doubletop Mountains across Jackson Pond, Baxter State Park

You will start to see Jackson Pond through the trees to your right, as well as the BSP rental canoes. On the return trip, I saw a ruff-necked grouse, which escaped swiftly into the thick forest. The pleasant mid-day light covered the trail as I retraced my steps to the parking area. This easy hike was the perfect way to recover from a difficult hike the day prior, with wildlife viewing opportunities, and incredible views of the surrounding mountains.

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate Hiking in Maine blog earns from qualifying purchases.)

3 thoughts on “Celia and Jackson Ponds (Baxter State Park)

  1. Mike Hohmann October 20, 2020 / 11:00 am

    Nice hike and photos, thanks for posting.


  2. J. Matlock, Director of Fantasies September 17, 2021 / 1:41 pm

    Love Maine. Lived there as a kid & my Mom used to take us to Baxter State Park. I look forward to the day I can retire to Maine and enjoy its incredible beauty. Your posts & photos give me the Maine fix I need. Thanks


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