Puzzle Mountain via Grafton Loop Trail. Sunday River White Cap: This 3,335-foot summit is a real gem that would be easily forgotten if not for the Grafton Loop Trail. 771 votes, 17 comments. The Grafton Loop is a roughly 39 mile, 9 summit hiking loop formed by connecting a portion of the Appalachian trail with the Grafton Loop Trail. A forty-mile loop with four major peaks and several more glorious views, even if the weather was mostly crap we might have … Ladders aid hikers over rocky drops. While staying there on a backpacking trip of the Grafton Loop over July 4th weekend a few years back, we camped in the area by lean-to. A subreddit for traveling backpacking and wilderness backpacking, not restricted … After living in Maine for eight years, the hike easily ranks as one of my favorite hikes in the state. The AMC describes the camping areas along the trail here. Popular day hikes include the Table Rock Trail and the AT (to the summit of Old Speck). https://www.strava.com/activities/3878374720 Bull Run Campsite to Old Speck Mt 1.6 mi Despite the heat, it felt good to be hiking among the pines, evergreens and big rocks of the north. There’s one short but relatively steep stint, but overall Long Mountain is a speed bump on the way to Puzzle Mountain. There are other free online hiking apps for smart phones have at least some of Grafton's trails registered. The trail traverses strenuous terrain with substantial elevation changes. A large parking area is on the left, 12.1 miles from the junction here. Old Speck Mt to Eyebrow Trail 2.4 mi … You can also check out Tomcat's Outdoor Adventures on Facebook here... https://www.facebook.com/Tomcats-Outdoor-Adventures-1708122116123572/. Heading south from the summit, steel rungs built into the rock are needed to traverse steep cliffs. terrain. The open summit offers 360 degree views and is arguably the best vista on the loop. Excellent synopsis! The new sections of trail are connected on the northern end by nearly eight miles of the AT between East Baldpate Mountain and Old Speck, creating one of New England’s best backpacking loops. The climb to the East Peak, elevation 3,812 feet, is more of a scramble up a steep and open rock face. I saw a large bull in this section and a smaller cow. For a mountain that would need to get on its tippy toes to reach 4,000 feet, the four-mile hike to the eastern summit feels much longer. Go walk in a circle with these perfect hikes. backpackers to experience a multiday backpacking trip in fairly remote and rugged terrain The temperatures start to cool in September, with less humidity and haze. I personally recommend the Lane tent site on the eastern section of the trail. 3,812 foot East Baldpate sits near the northern end where the eastern half of the loop intersects the AT. You can read about my adventures at www.tomcatsadventures.com . The summit by itself isn’t too impressive. Backpackers of all experience levels will find the the loop a worthy destination. This 38.2-mile circuit is still the new kid in the hiking guidebook; the eastern half was completed and opened in 2003, while the western half began accepting boot traffic in 2007. It just so happened that soon after we crawled into our sleeping bags for the night at the Stewart Campsite, the moose calls returned. Day 1: Rt. The area averages around 40 inches of rain a year and wet weather isn’t uncommon. To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. That said, the climb is fairly tame with several switchbacks. The area was overrun with mice at night. Trail Manager. The vantage point offers an interesting look toward Mahoosuc Notch, a short distance from the summit. Those who make the climb are greeted with stunning 360-degree views from the lofty perch. Last week I headed up to Maine for a few days on the Grafton Loop Trail. Less worn down and in some spots overgrown, but I had no difficulty following the trail. North: From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26. Karan headed for an extra out and back to Speck Pond while I battled a swarm of black flies to regroup with Sharon and Trang. 1. Record your own itinerary from the Wikiloc app, upload the trail and share it with the community. MODERATE 6.6 mi. Learn more about Northeast Hikes here, and please feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions or feedback on this site. Nearby Hiking Trails. Washington and everything in between. Multiple blow downs that are easy to navigate around. based on 9 tracks & routes | | DIFFICULT DIFFICULT. For anyone looking to hike the 16.2 miles from Route 26 to the Stewart Campsite, you should know that the site is located at least two-thirds of the way up the mountain. The Grafton Loop piggybacks the Appalachian Trail for a short distance and crosses Route 26 twice, offering several choices for a starting point and direction. However, an observation tower stands on its summit. In a dry year, later in the season, plan accordingly in the event that the brook is not flowing. Thanks for your support! https://www.strava.com/activities/3878368520 Overall it’s 3.2 miles from the top of Puzzle to the parking lot, and the majority of it is relatively easy hiking. Lots of cobwebs encountered. Use caution on the east side of the loop between Puzzle and Long Mountains, where vegetation obscures the trail in the vicinity of past logging operations. On Sunday Deb and I (yes, and Tucker) ran the Grafton Loop Trail with a bunch of Maineacs and it was a mighty fine day on the trail. we hike with are dogs and wondering if there is a possible way around this for the dogs? Appalachian Trail hikers past, present and future are invited to follow along with the Maine and New Hampshire section hiking blogs. share Share ... Time. A beautiful, high meadow sits between the East and West Peaks that is traversed on bog bridges. Hike the trail for foliage views. At 3.5 miles in, the Grafton Loop Trail turned off the AT to the left. Androscoggin River Reservoir via Appalachian Trail and Mahoosuc Trail. 9200 feet of climb. Mud and biting insects could cause problems early in the season. You made it all the way to the bottom. This major trail effort was a cooperative effort among private landowners, the state of Maine, and nonprofit organizations such as the AMC. It occurred to us that as the crow flies we weren’t very far from the Frye Notch Lean-To, where Brad and I stayed on our Maine Appalachian Trail section hike. There’s parking at each road junction (directions at the bottom), one at the AT parking lot in Grafton Notch State Park, the other near Eddy Road in Newry. There are several brook crossings along this stretch, as well as three campsites in the 7.6-mile stretch from East Baldpate to Long Mountain. Take note that the western portion of the trail is accessed .6 miles south of this trailhead via a road walk on 26. Took me about ten hours to drive up from Jersey. Most of the loop’s route can be seen from the summit, including Old Speck, Grafton Notch, the Baldpates, and nearly all of the eastern half of the loop. Both the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the Grafton Loop Trail (which spurs off the AT both north and south of the Rt. Thanks! The wear and tear difference between the Appalachian Trail and the Grafton Loop Trail is striking, bringing with it a feeling of further removal from civilization. The loop was built with backpackers in mind. The trail traverses over eight summits including several that are open and exposed. Puzzle Mountain Loop via Grafton Loop Trail. And as a bonus, you enjoy 360-degree views of gorgeous terrain the entire way. Most maps will show four campsites, but the Knoll Campsite was closed in 2013. Check out the western half of the Grafton Loop Trail. This would be a nice spot to end the day early to enjoy the brook, with waterfalls that make nice swimming holes on hot days. Grafton Loop Hiking trail in Ketchum, Maine (United States). Only concern is the ladder that you picture in this article. While I never saw a bear in this area, they are not uncommon. There is also a direct view of Sunday River Ski Area. The trail, which connects to the Appalachian Trail at Old Speck and the East Peak of Baldpate Mountain on either side of ME Route 26, highlights the natural features and mountain peaks of the area encircling Bear … The Grafton Loop Trail offers a great taste of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. The Grafton Loop trail was a true backpacker's trail, and a welcome addition to the roster of GO backpack trips in the future! Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park as well as a … I experienced them on East Baldpate and just below Old Speck. We planned to hike in a short way that evening, then take three more nights on the trail to complete the Grafton Loop Trail, one of my favorite backpacking trails in New England. The Grafton Loop is a roughly 39 mile, 9 summit hiking loop formed by connecting a portion of the Appalachian trail with the Grafton Loop Trail. • Grafton Loop Trail … This significant trail-building effort was done over a six-year period by members of the Grafton Loop Trail Coalition, which includes the Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Maine Conservation Corps, Hurricane Island Outward … The Grafton Loop Trail, near Newry and Bethel, Maine is 38.6 miles long and has approx. Whether new to backpacking or a seasoned veteran, the Grafton Loop Trail offers something for everyone. Day 2: 8.5 mi Baldpate swings a knockout punch from the opening bell, gaining around 1,600 feet of elevation over the first mile and a quarter of the rock-studded trail. Appalachian Trail. That said, the abundance of hardwood hiking makes fall a perfect season for hiking the Grafton Loop. I don’t recall a bypass for the ladder below Baldpate. Endless peaks can be seen in every direction. We frequently had to smack them off our tents through the night. I at least had the comfort of knowing that Brad, by virtue of his full beard, was the better mating prospect for the moose. For those who have the benefit of a good day, the 1.8-mile Woodsum Spur Trail circles the open ledges of Puzzle Mountain to provide views in all directions. The longest stretch without a campsite is on the northern end of the loop between Baldpate Lean-to and Bull Run tent site south of Old Speck, approaching eight miles between sites. North of Stewart tent site the trail crosses and follows several brooks en route to East Baldpate. Slide Mt Campsite to Bull Run Campsite 1.0 mi The Grafton Loop Path presents a terrific style of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. The peak can only be approached via the Grafton Loop Trail, with a long journey from either end to reach it. Jan 12, 2019 - The Grafton Loop Trail offers a great taste of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. Location: Western Maine on the ridges and peaks surrounding the Bear River Valley, Grafton Notch, and Maine Route 26, Scenery: Forests and brooks with small waterfalls give way to numerous open summits with views across western Maine’s rugged mountains, especially the Mahoosuc Range, and into New Hampshire to the Presidential Range, Approximate Time to Hike: Most can comfortably finish the loop in three to five days. With all the great hiking in Maine, the Grafton Loop Trail is a rarity for the state: a multi-day backpacking loop on the outskirts of the White Mountains. I enjoy all things outdoors including hiking/backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, xc skiing, kayaking, and writing about my experiences. Gray jays also frequent the area. Thanks to the AMC and the Grafton Loop Trail Coalition, 30 miles of new trails were built since 2002. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. The trail passes by the summit of Puzzle Mountain and follows numerous open sections with fine views. South: From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26. Your email address will not be published. Sargent Mt Campsite to Sunday River Whitecap Mt 1.0 mi DIFFICULT 26.6 mi. It's a recently constructed ~40 mile loop that utilizes a few miles of the Appalachian Trail in the western part of the state. 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Grafton Loop Trail Hike Part 1: Eastern Section, Grafton Loop Trail Hike Part 2: Western Section, The 5 Best Beer Hikes in Maine and New Hampshire, Winter Hike Baldpate Mountain Via the Appalachian Trail in Grafton Notch, Maine, A Walk on Maine’s Wild Side: 22 Days Section Hiking the Appalachian Trail, Winter Hike the Old Speck Trail in Grafton Notch State Park, Maine. The site itself offers a few large tenting areas with water, but it’s a trickling stream. A friend and I are thinking of doing the eastern side of loop. DIFFICULT 34.8 mi. I did have one tick but it was only on my sock. Snow patches can linger in shaded areas well into May during snowier years. At the foot of Puzzle Mountain there’s another brook, from which the water quality seems questionable at best. The Grafton Loop Trail, although constructed only a few years ago, is quickly becoming one of the most popular backpacking trips in the region. This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The Hike. Part 2 of my solo overnight backpacking hike on the Grafton Loop trail in Maine. 2. There are several side trails that can be added to the loop and the Maine Mountain Guide covers these trails in detail as well. Let us count the ways: You don't need to leave a shuttle. As far as clockwise or counterclockwise, the trail can be hiked in either direction and there doesn’t seem to be any real advantage one way or another. My brother Brad and I decided to take the eastern half head-on by starting at the AT lot and ascending Baldpate. Moreover, I didn't see a living soul the entire time I was on the West section of the trail. If you enjoyed this article, please check out my book. We summit 8 small mountains and spend most of the time on Moose poop covered, muddy trails … Combined with the 21.1 miles of the eastern section, the Grafton Loop Trail is 38.2 miles of backpacking fun that’s ideal for fall foliage adventures. Bring a shelter for use at the tent sites. Grafton Loop Trail . The complete loop didn’t open till 2007 after a serious collaboration between personal land house owners, the … Trang, it turned out, had … Loved the trail. Bears also make this area home. I appreciate your extensive review! View the "Old Speck Mountain - Appalachian Trail and Eyebrow Loop Trail" guide online here. The MATC also has basic trail information here. DIFFICULT 7.5 mi. Since then I have hiked the Long Trail, Cohos Trail, parts of the PCT, much of the Colorado Trail, numerous other backpacking trips, and countless day hikes. The terrain below the summit is just as impressive. According to the AMC, the brook by Stewart tent site can be unreliable. The Grafton Loop Trail is a new trail completed in 2007 that is designed to help take some of the pressure off the nearby section of the Appalachian Trail and the Speck Pond campsite which receive very heavy use. I just completed the Western half of the loop in two nights three days (Wed/Thurs/Fri 8/5/20-8/7/20) starting at the southern end. For those that haven’t experienced gray jays, they will linger near hikers and take food from your hand. A large parking area is on the right, 4.7 miles from the junction across from Eddy Road, here. The best weather for hiking the Grafton Loop is between late May and mid-October. East Baldpate Mountain: East Baldpate gives Sunday River White Cap a run for its money as the best view on the loop. For those looking to expand on their Grafton Loop experience, the 1.8-mile Woodsum Spur Trail follows the open ledges of Puzzle Mountain before rejoining the loop. to Slide Mt Campsite 3.1 mi Why do we love loop hikes? Compared to the venerable trails just over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop is relatively new. The eastern half of the GLT consists of a 21-mile arc that leaves Route 26 in Newry, Maine, and returns to the road in Grafton Notch State Park via four miles on Appalachian Trail (AT). For a Saturday on Columbus Day weekend, we only saw about ten people on the Grafton Loop portion of the trail, and each encounter came as a surprise. Sunday River Whitecap Mt. Download its GPS track and follow the route on a map. The eastern side of Route 26 is the longer (21.1 miles) and more difficult section of the Grafton Loop Trail. Puzzle Mountain Loop via Grafton Loop Trail. 2. During our night in Frye Notch we were serenaded by a lonely moose. There’s no wrong decision because all paths lead to some of the best hiking in western Maine, highlighted by the gnarly neighbors, Old Speck and Baldpate Mountain. 26 trailhead) provide ascends the north shoulder, rising out of the woods and backpacking opportunities. Click here to view the entire Grafton Trails Region. Overview. We looked inside and discovered a multi-day backpack, which we assumed someone stowed for a quick off-trail pit stop, so we didn’t disturb the pack. After crossing an iron lattice … 0. website. East Baldpate is another open summit with fantastic views. By October, freezing temperatures can occur at the higher elevation campsites. Despite the challenging terrain, beginners will appreciate the obtainable distance and the nine campsites throughout the loop that allow for a casual pace if desired for those not looking to rush. 1941 Bear River Road, Grafton, ME, United States Price. Puzzle Mountain Loop … On the western half of the trail, expect to use the brooks by ten tsites for water except for the southern two miles between Bald Mountain tent site and the southern trailhead where the trail follows a small brook. It’s a 38.6 mile loop going over Bald Mountain, Stowe Mountain, Sunday River Whitecap and Old Speck on the western side of the loop and going over West Baldpate, East Baldpate, Long and … The Grafton Loop Trail allows backpackers to experience a multiday backpacking trip in fairly remote and rugged terrain. While driving down Route 26 last week I spotted the logging road and the plan was in place for this week. The previous year, while hiking the Appalachian Trail, from North Adams, Massachusetts to Mount Katahdin in Maine, I remember seeing the trail signs and blazes for the Grafton Notch Loop Trail. The full loop didn’t open until 2007 after a major collaboration between private land owners, the state of Maine, and several conservation groups, including the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and the Maine Appalachian Trail Conference (MATC.) The trail crosses lengthy stretches of open rock marked with cairns. Appalachian Trail. On the 24-mile shuttle hike up to the Moxie Bald summit, the Maine wilderness unfolds a dizzying array of flora and fauna, and panoramic lake, valley, and peak views. Completed in the summer of 2007, the Grafton Loop Trail offers 39 miles of hiking along a trail that connects a series of scenic peaks and other natural features in Maine’s Grafton Notch. A few notes that may help others: 3. It’s also worth noting that a good portion of this segment occurs on private land, even following a dirt road for the better part of a mile at one point, so it’s important to be respectful and stay on the trail. Day 3: 5.1 mi Puzzle Mountain: Puzzle Mountain, sitting near the southern end at 3,142 feet, is another peak that would probably be forgotten if not for the Grafton Loop. Map. I was wondering if u saw ticks: I heard a report of some from someone else. link Copy Link. There’s a mile reprieve in the middle leading to the side trail for the Baldpate Lean-To at the 2.3-mile mark, which is nothing more than the Baldpate version of rope-a-dope, because the ascent of the West Peak (3,662 feet) is a constant barrage of steep. 1. Experienced hikers will appreciate the scenery and relative lack of traffic. The complete circumnavigation of Grafton Notch includes 34 miles of the Grafton Loop Trail, of which four miles overlaps with the Appalachian Trail… https://www.strava.com/activities/3879624057. https://www.strava.com/activities/3873658635 The trail eventually breaks into the hardwoods for a long stretch of the hike. Starting at the southern end will also begin and end your trip near the low point of the loop. From the intersection of Route 2 and Route 26 in Newry, Maine: the Eddy Road parking lot is 4.7 miles up Route 26 on the right; the Appalachian Trail lot is 12 miles on the left. The eastern portion of the loop travels through areas that were logged with lots of new dense vegetation that would be a good opportunity for ticks to grab onto you. In addition to being the … There’s one short climb for lightning ledge, but the weather didn’t grant us any views. Wildlife: The Grafton Loop Trail travels through moose country. Nearby Hiking Trails. As a result, camping is limited to designated sites and the Baldpate Lean-to on the AT portion of the loop. Appalachian Trail This classic 54-mile section travels through Maine's infamous 100-Mile Wilderness where countless notches, summit bids, and … Ladders, rungs, exposed rock, stairs, and boardwalks add to the already difficult terrain. Two popular ones are Komoot (with turn-by-turn voice directions, if desired) and AllTrails The trail overall is in good condition. Grafton Loop Trail. For those not deterred by heights, the tower can be climbed. The western section of the Grafton Loop Trail (GLT) covers 17.1 scenic miles from the Eddy Road parking lot to the Appalachian Trail lot, both on Route 26. Lots of good info in here. The climb up Long Mountain with approximately a 1,000 feet of elevation gain begins immediately after the Town Corner Campsite. Hi, I'm Troy, AKA- TOMCAT. Your email address will not be published. And while we did think of perfectly reasonable explanations, from trail maintenance gear storage to an injured hiker ditching the pack, once our minds went to Texas-chainsaw-style massacre, we couldn’t un-think it. The full loop didn’t open until 2007 after a major collaboration between private land owners, the state of Maine, and … You could here them walking and jumping through the vegetation, which is surprisingly loud and disturbing for such a small animal. Day 2 Stats: Grafton Loop Trail, Campsite Spurs - 16.8mi, 4950' gain, 10hr 10min taken Day 3 Stats: Grafton Loop Trail, Campsite Spurs, Appalachian Trail - 11.6mi, 3250' gain, 7hr 5min taken This hike has been on the to-do list for 12 years now, and especially the last 3-4 years, but somehow it still never happened until … When shining a headlamp outside the tent, numerous mice could often be seen. The AMC website offers a basic trail description with camping information here and a map here. The AT portion uses white blazes. The trail up to the summit was almost bizarrely well constructed, given the comparative rarity with which this mountain must get climbed. Old Speck Mountain: At 4,170 feet, Old Speck is the highest summit on the Grafton Loop and the fifth highest peak in Maine. Several of the campsites offer bear boxes for food. After I thru-hiked the AT in 1999, I never worked full time again. Despite the lower elevation, the climbing is somewhat more gradual in either direction from the southern trailhead. Elevations range from around 700 feet near the southern end of the trail, to 4,170 feet on the summit of Old Speck. Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park … Just to clarify, no prior reservation or permit is required for camping at along the Grafton Loop? As an added bonus, gray jays frequently greet hikers that linger long enough near the summit. 26 to Bald Mt Campsite 1.68 mi https://www.strava.com/activities/3870759583 4. A report I read mentioned this route and an old trail that heads up to Miles Notch making part of the Grafton Loop Trail doable as a day hike. There are two trailheads that access the Grafton Loop Trail, one near the north end of the loop and one at the southern end. The southern end of the loop between Bald Mountain and Stewart tent sites travels just over seven miles between designated sites, so plan accordingly. While the ambitious, veteran backpacker could knock the loop out as an overnight trip, the layout of the trail allows those in less of a hurry to hike the route comfortably in three to five days. The AT travels near abundant water between Grafton Notch and Old Speck. From the Town Corner Campsite, there’s 5.5 miles to the Stewart Campsite with 3,021-foot Long Mountain in between. The trail crosses through some interesting hardwood stands on the opposite side of Long Mountain. 5. I used my Garmin to track mileages (which seem to differ at times from the AMC signage): The Grafton Loop Trail is a 38.6 mile, backcountry hiking experience in the Mahoosuc Mountains of Maine. 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Thanks to the AMC and the at Maine, and nonprofit organizations such as the New. 3,812 feet, is more of a scramble up a steep and open rock face the with. At 3.5 miles in, the climb up Long Mountain up from.... All the way to Puzzle Mountain and follows numerous open sections with fine views all photos are from junction! Ten hours to drive up from Jersey relatively steep stint, but the weather didn ’ t recall a for! At least some of Grafton 's trails registered and nonprofit organizations such as the AMC the! Maine ’ s another brook, from which the water quality seems questionable at best Notch Old... Offers something for everyone guide covers these trails in detail as well as three campsites in to... Climb up Long Mountain is a moderate one way trail in Grafton Notch Old... A trickling stream look toward Mahoosuc Notch, a short distance from the summit was bizarrely... 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Higher elevation campsites up with more far-fetched stories desired ) and more DIFFICULT section of the appear! Also a direct view of Sunday River Ski area there was a effort. Its money as the best opportunities for moose seem to differ at times from author... Terrain the entire time I was wondering if there is also a direct view of Sunday River Cap... If u saw ticks: I heard a report of some from someone else help:... And future are invited to follow along with the community views of gorgeous the. 3,335-Foot summit is just as impressive season for hiking the Grafton Loop.. Few large tenting areas with water, but I had no difficulty following the trail crosses through some interesting stands. Trail eventually breaks into the rock are needed to traverse steep cliffs the low point of the a... With humid conditions tent site can be unreliable of some from someone else itself isn t!
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