Maine bed and breakfast lodging - waterfront inn offers rooms overlooking Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park

Hiking to Horserace Pond and Scenic Outlooks
on the Debsconeag Wilderness Blue Trail

Hikers taking a break on the south shore of Horserace Pond
Hiking in Maine's Katahdin Region

Hiking the Blue Trail to Horserace Pond and Scenic Outlooks

Guests love the scenic beauty of this day hike, and we are very happy to give you a full briefing and directions to help you prepare for the day. As you can see in these photos, there are many beautiful places to stop for a rest or lunch.

The Horserace Pond Trail (4 miles round trip) and Blue Trail (5 miles round trip) provide access to some of Maine's most pristine ponds. Both trails cross a wooden bridge over a stream and pass through the forest for about a half-mile before splitting at the intersection of the Horserace Pond Trail and the Blue Trail.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 5 miles round trip
Time: 5 hours

The hike to Horserace Pond (2 miles) is "easy" in our mind, traveling gradually uphill. The new scenic trail (Blue) leaves the pond and gains about 600 feet in elevation as it heads south to the Rainbow Outlook. That part of the trail was very nice and it is good all the way to the Katahdin Outlook.

Once you start downhill, the trail becomes rather "tight" and difficult in some spots. It is best to hike the loop counter-clockwise because clockwise is much harder.

The Horserace trail markers are yellow, the "loop trail" is orange and the Rainbow trail is blue.

Trail & Map

  • The "Blue Trail" goes to Rainbow Lake. It leaves the Horserace Trail (yellow trail) about 1/2 mile from the trailhead.
  • The "Existing Trails" (Black) are the Horserace Trail (yellow markers) and the Rainbow Trail (blue markers).
  • The "Red Trail" (orange markers) is called the Outlook Trail. It creates a "Loop" and runs from Horserace Pond to two different outlooks and then connects to the Rainbow Trail very close to Clifford Pond.

Horserace-Outlook-Rainbow Trail Map

(See bottom of right column for download options)

Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area

The Nature Conservancy's Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area (DLWA) is a vital link in nearly 500,000 acres of contiguous conservation land, located just south of Baxter State Park.

Debsconeag means "carrying place," named by native people for the portage sites where they carried their birch bark canoes around rapids and waterfalls. The DLWA contains the highest concentration of pristine, remote ponds in New England, as well as thousands of acres of mature forests.

Except for some areas around pre-existing camp lots the DLWA is managed as an ecological reserve. Ecological reserves are areas set aside for conservation and study of Maine's ecosystems. Ideally, reserves are large enough to withstand storms, diseases and other natural disturbances and to provide secure habitat for wide-ranging species like moose, fisher, bobcat and pine marten. Ecological reserves are important to scientists studying how nature responds to challenges such as climate change, forest pests and diseases, and airborne pollution.

For more information:

Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area.

More Hiking Trails in the Katahdin Region

The Katahdin Region is blessed with many scenic, challenging, interesting or wildlife-filled hiking opportunities created naturally as the last Great Iceage Glacier retreated north of the Appalachian Divide.

We know these hikes very well, having lived in the area all our lives. We hope you enjoy the photos and trail information of some of our other favorite hikes on these pages:

Hiking Trails on Mt. Katahdin

Mt. Katahdin, or K'tahdn as the Abnaki tribes refer to it, is Maine's highest peak at 5,267 feet above sea level. It is surrounded by 200,000 acre Baxter State Park and miles of forests beyond that.

Every room at 5 Lakes Lodge looks directly at Mt. Katahdin, a view that beckons guests to come closer. Many climb to the top. Others hike to its base. Everyone enjoys the numerous scenic views of Katahdin.

More about Hiking Trails on Mt. katahdin

Ice Cave Trail

The Ice Cave Trail is on property owned by the Nature Conservancy known as the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area (DLWA), 46,000 acre Wilderness Reserve that is open to the public for a variety of recreational uses.

The trail is very easy to get to, short in length (3 miles round trip) and is about as "easy" a trail as can be found in the Katahdin Region!

The Ice Cave is a talus type, which means it's a pile of heavy boulders that were plowed together by glaciers during the Ice Age. They didn't fit right so they formed a cave. Large talus caves like this one are not very common.

More about Hiking to the Ice Caves

Appalachian Trail

Katahdin marks the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail that starts 2,181 miles to the south at Springer Mountain in Georgia. Many hike its full length each year, generally ending at Katahdin. Many times, more folks hike short sections either on day hikes or overnight backpacking trips.

5 Lakes Lodge is located along the Appalachian Trail's section known as the "100 Mile Wilderness" because the trail runs that distance between paved public highway crossings. However, numerous logging roads now cross thr trail, providing access to many short hiking opportunities.

Additional Baxter State Park Info

For more information on Baxter State Park, visit:

Click on Photo for a
detailed Blow Up View

Rick &amp: Debbie on rocky out cropping after leaving the Outlook
Rick & Debbie on rocky out cropping after leaving the Outlook

Giant boulder left by glaciers
Holding up a giant rock left behind after the glacier age

5 Lakes Lodge guests hiking
Lodge guests (and friends) Tom, Lorie & Tina

No Name Pond
"No Name" Pond. Wonderful place to see moose

approaching the Katahdin Outlook
Approaching the
Katahdin Outlook

Hiking trail toward Rainbow Outlook
Rainbow Outlook in the background

Clifford Pond
Canoeist on Clifford Pond seen from 1/2 mile prior to reaching the "Blue" trail

Rainbow Lake and Big Spencer Mtn
View of Rainbow Lake and Big Spencer Mtn

Horserace Pond
Horserace Pond with a rocky cliff on the north side

Trailhead Sign
Trailhead Sign

Debsconeag Blue Trail
(click below for big map)
Trail Map (500 KB)

If you're looking for incredible scenery, warm hospitality and rustic elegance, 5 Lakes Lodge Bed and Breakfast, on "the other coast of Maine", is a wonderful place to experience the best that Maine has to offer.

5 Lakes Lodge
46 Marina Drive
South Twin Lake
Millinocket, Maine 04462
GPS Coordinates: 45°36.174' North 68°49.295' West
Home Page
Your Hosts |  Great Room |  Breakfast & Dining Room |  Guest Book |  Lodging Rates |  Reservations
Guest Rooms |  Ambajejus Room |  Eagles Nest |  Elbow Room |  South Twin Room |  North Twin Room |  Pemadumcook Room
Directions & Map |  Download Brochure
Summer Fun Photos |  Mt. Katahdin Hiking Trails & Scenery | Ice Cave Hike | Horserace & Outlook Loop
Winter Fun Photos |  Snowmobiling Gallery | Snowmobile Lodging |  Snowmobile Trails  | SnowGoer Article
  Bed and Breakfast Links