West of the Klondike is a series of mountains known as Katahdinaughuoh. The are (from south to north) Mount O-J-I, Mount Coe, South Brother, and North Brother. All have open summits with spectacular views of Katahdin and the surrounding country. For my money, the view from North Brother is the best in the state. The trails on the four mountains are all connected, offering the possibility of several loops of varying difficultly. Okay, they’re all pretty hard, but worth it.
It used to be that the trail up O-J-I followed the slides that gave the mountain its name. They no longer spell out the name—ongoing sliding had filled in and connected the letters. The park moved the trail to the west end of the mountain for safety reasons. Similarly, Abol Trail up Katahdin was moved off the slide. That means that the Mount Coe Trail is the only trail in the park to ascend a major slide.
The hike begins at the Marston Trailhead west of Kidney Pond turnoff on the Tote Road. You climb steadily through the forest to a junction. To the left leads eventually to North Brother; the right, Mount Coe. At first, the trail follows a small picturesque stream. But as you enter the steep valley between Mounts O-J-I and Coe, the trail becomes dusty and open.
The trail steepens as you near the base of the slide. Boulders and scree become as numerous as spruce trees. The slide itself is exposed bedrock with some debris on it. The footing mostly good. Sections of the climb are wet, though. In the photo at the beginning of this description the dark areas are wet. It’s not the difficulty of the climb that earned the slide a place on the WW25 list, rather it’s how high it is.
There are blazes on the rock to lead you up the safest and easiest route. Near the top, you need to cross the slide below a narrow ledge. This section is often wet. It’s a long steep slide if you lose your footing. This is the crux move. It’s the sense of exposure that’s the problem, not the difficultly of the climbing.
From the top of the slide, it’s a shot jaunt through the tightly packed and stunted spruce to the summit. You get a spectacular 360 degree view.
Do not return down the slide. It’s better to return by continuing over South Brother to Marston Trail and descending that way. It makes a 9.6 mile lollipop (including the side trip to the summit of South Brother).
For more complete directions to the trailhead and a fuller description of the hike see my Hiking Maine’s Baxter State Park.