Katahdin, meaning "the greatest mountain" in the language of the Penobscot Indians, is the centerpiece of Maine's Baxter State Park, and the tallest mountain in our state.

Many Mainers and people from all over the world hike Katahdin every year, and it's supposed to be an amazing experience. It's on my bucket list, trust me!

But if you want to go, it's not like any other day trip here in Maine.

First of all, it's in the middle of the state, and Maine is huge. Plan on a ride before you get there! Baxter State Park is about three and a half hours from Portland.

The State Park and the mountain are controlled by the Baxter State Park authority, and there are a bunch of super important rules that you have to know before you go. On a clear day with excellent weather, Katahdin is still a challenging climb, and you need to be prepared.

The rules for climbing Katahdin are online here. Here are the most important ones:

Be prepared. Weather can change almost instantly, and climbing down from Baxter Peak isn't any less challenging or time consuming as climbing up.

Always check in. Park guests are required to check in at a ranger station and let park officials know how many people are in the group (always a max of 12) and what the plan is. Hikers who do not check in are famously held liable for any costs associated with a rescue.

No-Go List: There's a pretty big list of what you can't bring. Drones, pets, and firewood are just a few of the items you can't bring into the park.

All hikers must carry certain provisions, including a flashlight.

No children under six are allowed above the treeline.

Hunting and trapping are prohibited in the park, with notable exceptions. Maine's fishing laws apply throughout the park.

Parking reservations are required too.

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