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. DIFFICULT 6.6 mi. North of Stewart tent site the trail crosses and follows several brooks en route to East Baldpate. 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. I personally recommend the Lane tent site on the eastern section of the trail. I don’t recall a bypass for the ladder below Baldpate. For those that haven’t experienced gray jays, they will linger near hikers and take food from your hand. 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. 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. While I never saw a bear in this area, they are not uncommon. Moreover, I didn't see a living soul the entire time I was on the West section of the 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. Last week I headed up to Maine for a few days on the Grafton Loop Trail. As an added bonus, gray jays frequently greet hikers that linger long enough near the summit. Andy would be joining me again and we car spotted again to cut off a long roadwalk. 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. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878370921 Northeast Hikes is on the hunt for the best New England hiking in Maine and New Hampshire, from Katahdin to Mt. 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. 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. Wow! The complete loop didn’t open till 2007 after a serious collaboration between personal land house owners, the … Your email address will not be published. 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. Both the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the Grafton Loop Trail (which spurs off the AT both north and south of the Rt. 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. Before reality TV, GPS devices, and dashboard computers, there was a coming of age for the Maine Warden Service. 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. When shining a headlamp outside the tent, numerous mice could often be seen. Those who make the climb are greeted with stunning 360-degree views from the lofty perch. 3,471 ft. Elev Gain. The summit by itself isn’t too impressive. I enjoy all things outdoors including hiking/backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, xc skiing, kayaking, and writing about my experiences. The trail spends most of its time in the forest, with a handful of open summits that offer classic Maine mountain views stretching all the way the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. Lots of good info in here. Old Speck Mountain:  At 4,170 feet, Old Speck is the highest summit on the Grafton Loop and the fifth highest peak in Maine. Different than most hiking in the White Mountains; trails are much less traveled. After living in Maine for eight years, the hike easily ranks as one of my favorite hikes in the state. I appreciate your extensive review! The AT travels near abundant water between Grafton Notch and Old Speck. The Grafton Loop Trail (GTL) is located on both sides of Route 26 and links with the AT on Baldpate Mountain and on Old Speck. Despite the lower elevation, the climbing is somewhat more gradual in either direction from the southern trailhead. 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. However, an observation tower stands on its summit. The trail overall is in good condition. In comparison with the venerable trails simply over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop is comparatively new. 9200 feet of climb. A beautiful, high meadow sits between the East and West Peaks that is traversed on bog bridges. We “enjoyed” an interesting night at the Stewart Campsite. May 28-29, 2016. 5. 1941 Bear River Road, Grafton, ME, United States Price. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878372815 share Share ... Time. 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. I saw a large bull in this section and a smaller cow. Sunday River Whitecap Mt. 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. MODERATE 7.2 mi. All of the campsites appear to have bearboxes, outhouses and usable water sources. To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. 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. Trail Manager. Grafton Loop Trail . The views stretch down the Mahoosuc Range into the Presidentials. 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. After having read an article in a hiking journal about the Grafton Notch Loop Trail, my daughter Annemarie and I decided to check it out. Day 2: 8.5 mi Map. Go walk in a circle with these perfect hikes. 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. 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. East Baldpate is another open summit with fantastic views. DIFFICULT 34.8 mi. Nearby Hiking Trails. East Baldpate Mountain:  East Baldpate gives Sunday River White Cap a run for its money as the best view on the loop. It’s best to find a parking spot on Highway 9 in Rockville, then shoulder your pack and start hiking or biking south on Bridge Road. The Grafton Loop Path presents a terrific style of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. 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.