Eyebrow Trail to Grafton Notch AT Parking 1.1 mi Fortunately, there are eight campsites in addition to the lean-to, so finding an appropriate spot to camp isn’t an issue. Loved the trail. The area was overrun with mice at night. Backcountry on a Budget: Low-cost & Free Camping in the Northeast. They are used here with permission. By October, freezing temperatures can occur at the higher elevation campsites. While I never saw a bear in this area, they are not uncommon. Day 1: Rt. 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. Grafton Loop Trail Campsites. The closest campsite from the road is 5 miles in, on the other side of 3,000-foot Puzzle Mountain. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878368520 Grafton Loop Trip Experience. Excellent synopsis! The views stretch down the Mahoosuc Range into the Presidentials. The trail can be difficult to follow at times. They are used here with permission. Trail Correspondents 2021: Apply to Join the Team! Last summer I helped build a privy at one of the campsites. The southern end of the loop between Bald Mountain and Stewart tent sites travels just over seven miles between designated sites, so plan accordingly. 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 coalition worked with private landholders to gain right-of-way via temporary access, easement, or outright purchase. AMC Outdoors > Bulletin: Around AMC > Web Exclusives. Rob Burbank. 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. Backpackers of all experience levels will find the the loop a worthy destination. The group’s goal was to develop multi-day hiking opportunities that offer alternatives to heavily used sections of the Appalachian Trail (AT). In our busy White Mountain campsites, we rely on the caretaker program to protect the resources of trees, soil, and water quality, and the campsite infrastructure itself, during periods of high use. I don’t recall a bypass for the ladder below Baldpate. 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. East Baldpate Mountain:  East Baldpate gives Sunday River White Cap a run for its money as the best view on the loop. Campsites near the Appalachian Trail, the Mahoosuc Range, Grafton State Park & Grafton Loop Trail. Outdoor Research MicroGravity AscentShell Jacket Review, Best Hiking and Camping Gear Deals from the REI End of Season Clearance Sale, Year in Review: 19 of The Trek's Top Posts from 2020, Enlightened Equipment Uprising Hammock Underquilt Review, Senate Considers Bill Ending Ban on Mountain Bikes in Wilderness Areas, My Five Favorite Hiking Foods That I Eat Every Day, My Favorite Gear for an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike, https://www.strava.com/activities/3870759583, https://www.strava.com/activities/3873658635, https://www.strava.com/activities/3878368520, https://www.strava.com/activities/3878370921, https://www.strava.com/activities/3878371495, https://www.strava.com/activities/3878372815, https://www.strava.com/activities/3878374720, https://www.strava.com/activities/3879624057. To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. Multiple blow downs that are easy to navigate around. The MATC also has basic trail information here. Grafton Loop Trail - Day One - Stewart Campsite Trekking On. The Grafton Loop Trail is a 38.6 mile loop through Grafton Notch with commanding views of the Mahoosuc Range. Old Speck Mountain:  At 4,170 feet, Old Speck is the highest summit on the Grafton Loop and the fifth highest peak in Maine. More than half a dozen backcountry campsites allow backpackers to split the trip up in many different ways. Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park as well as a good deal of private land. Day 2: 8.5 mi According to the AMC, the brook by Stewart tent site can be unreliable. Those who make the climb are greeted with stunning 360-degree views from the lofty perch. I did have one tick but it was only on my sock. Mahoosuc Public Lands & Grafton Notch State Park - Some of the most challenging terrain along the Appalachian Trail as well as the 38 mile Grafton Loop Trail provide a memorable mountain setting for backpacking in western Maine. Starting at the southern end will also begin and end your trip near the low point of the loop. 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. After I thru-hiked the AT in 1999, I never worked full time again. After living in Maine for eight years, the hike easily ranks as one of my favorite hikes in the state. In spite of the comedy of errors on my first night of hiking, it still ended up being a marvelous trip. Grafton Loop Trail Campsites. The open summit offers 360 degree views and is arguably the best vista on the loop. 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. Grafton Loop Trail Campsites. Seventeen miles are newly constructed trail, which traverse four mountain peaks and include five primitive campsites. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878371495 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. Grafton Loop Trip Experience. The summit by itself isn’t too impressive. Despite the lower elevation, the climbing is somewhat more gradual in either direction from the southern trailhead. Lots of good info in here. Bears also make this area home. 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 now. • Grafton Loop Trail (38 miles, 3 or more days, chal-lenging), a high-elevation, backcountry trail with seven primitive campsites, connects a series of nine scenic peaks, including Old Speck, Sunday River Whitecap, Puzzle Mountain, and East and West Baldpate. The area averages around 40 inches of rain a year and wet weather isn’t uncommon. North:  From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26. The numbers: 39 miles, 3 to 4 days The hike: Crossing nine peaks, this route links a rocky section of the AT with 31 miles of smooth singletrack for a view lover’s tour de force.Start at the south end and hike clockwise, traversing the bare granite ledges of Sunday River Whitecap, where tasty blueberries (ripe in August) from trailside bushes will compete with the views for your attention. AMC Outdoors > Bulletin: Around AMC > Web Exclusives. The trail connects to the AT at two points on either side of Grafton Notch to create a loop, ~42 miles in length. 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. As soon as the tarp was up they went in, and stayed in for the night. In spite of the comedy of errors on my first night of hiking, it still ended up being a marvelous trip. The dogs were exhausted. The trail crosses lengthy stretches of open rock marked with cairns. Trail Connections is a proud member of the following: Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association; Appalachian Mountain Club Bald Mt Campsite to Sargent Mt Campsite 3.4 mi Our campsite for the night was Slide Mountain Campsite. 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. March 23, 2017. Last week I headed up to Maine for a few days on the Grafton Loop Trail. Most of the route features blue blazes. The AT portion uses white blazes. When shining a headlamp outside the tent, numerous mice could often be seen. Arrived mid to late afternoon and parked at the designated lot on Route 26. It's a beautiful place set on the side of Puzzle Mountain near a small brook. The Appalachian Trail maps and the ATC logos used on this website are the property of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and are protected by copyright and trademark registrations. 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. Thanks for your support! All of the campsites appear to have bearboxes, outhouses and usable water sources. Guide & Map (24x18-inches PDF 1.5MB). The 2008 trip was one of our classic adventures, and I wrote about it a the time. 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. 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. Aside from the AT portion of the loop, the Grafton Loop remains largely undiscovered, as the trail has only been fully open since 2007. Hi, I'm Troy, AKA- TOMCAT. You could here them walking and jumping through the vegetation, which is surprisingly loud and disturbing for such a small animal. The numbers: 39 miles, 3 to 4 days The hike: Crossing nine peaks, this route links a rocky section of the AT with 31 miles of smooth singletrack for a view lover’s tour de force.Start at the south end and hike clockwise, traversing the bare granite ledges of Sunday River Whitecap, where tasty blueberries (ripe in August) from trailside bushes will compete with the views for your attention. The Grafton Notch/Mahoosuc area encompasses some of Maine’s most spectacular mountain terrain. Day 3: 5.1 mi You can also check out Tomcat's Outdoor Adventures on Facebook here... https://www.facebook.com/Tomcats-Outdoor-Adventures-1708122116123572/. The trail passes by the summit of Puzzle Mountain and follows numerous open sections with fine views. Accommodations: 2 wooden tent platforms, designated kitchen area, composting outhouse, Accommodations: 3 raised earth tent pads, designated kitchen area, composting outhouse, Location: 3 miles south of Old Speck Mountain, Location: 2 miles south of Old Speck Mountain, Location: off AT, just west of West Baldpate Mountain, Location: 2 miles from the summit of East Baldpate Mountain, Location: 1.6 miles, hiking south from East Baldpate Campsite, Location: 3.1 miles, hiking south from Lane Campsite, Location: 5.5 miles hiking south from Town Corner Campsite or 4.9 miles from Rt 26, Accommodations: Raised earth tent pads, outhouse. Oct 3, 2012 - Information on Grafton Loop Trail backcountry campsites and shelters. Rob Burbank. Grafton Notch Campground in Newry, Maine. The southern trailhead sees less traffic and is less likely to fill up during crowded periods. The Grafton Loop Trail (West Section) 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. 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 River Valley. 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. This major trail effort was a cooperative effort among private landowners, the state of Maine, and nonprofit organizations such as the AMC. The trail overall is in good condition. 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. March 23, 2017. For detailed trail mileage and a map, the most recent edition of the Maine Mountain Guide by Carey Kish is a great resource that covers the entire trail. Old Speck Mt to Eyebrow Trail 2.4 mi Water is available at each campsite. We're accepting reservations for the 2020 Camping Season 2020 - OPEN Mid-May through Columbus Day. I saw a large bull in this section and a smaller cow. It's a recently constructed ~40 mile loop that utilizes a few miles of the Appalachian Trail in the western part of the state. Close to the Sunday River ski area in western Maine near the New Hampshire border, it generally follows the mountain ridge lines that surround Grafton Notch and the Bear River Valley, passing over the summits of Old Speck, the Baldpates, and Sunday River White Cap. Starting at the southern trailhead does seem to have a few advantages. The loop features excellent scenery with challenging, yet fun terrain. https://www.strava.com/activities/3873658635 Construction of this leg of the trail involved many individuals and organizations, including the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, the Maine Conservation Corps and the AMC. Snow patches can linger in shaded areas well into May during snowier years. All of the designated camping areas have a water source. As an added bonus, gray jays frequently greet hikers that linger long enough near the summit. I encountered almost no other people on the trail. All photos are from the author with the exception of the waterfall, jay, and banner, which were taken by Josh Rosenthal. A few notes that may help others: Mud and biting insects could cause problems early in the season. As a result, camping is limited to designated sites and the Baldpate Lean-to on the AT portion of the loop. © Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved. 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. If you go clockwise, you’ll find sometimes that the blue blazes along the trail are not easy to spot, especially at dawn or dusk. In comparison with the venerable trails simply over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop is comparatively new. In a dry year, later in the season, plan accordingly in the event that the brook is not flowing. The AMC describes the camping areas along the trail here. Appalachian Mountain Club, 10 City Square, Boston, MA 02129 P: 617-523-0655 F: 617-523-0722. I personally recommend the Lane tent site on the eastern section of the trail. Thanks! https://www.strava.com/activities/3878374720 Grafton Loop Trail (GLT) This was my second time hiking through this park, so this was a bit of a rematch for me. Perhaps you’ve stayed in a few (or all!) This 38-mile trail, by connecting to an 8-mile section of the Appalachian Trail (AT), forms a loop encircling Grafton Notch in western Maine, near the village of Bethel. Sunday River Whitecap Mt. Fortunately, there are eight campsites in addition to the lean-to, so finding an appropriate spot to camp isn’t an issue. ** Regardless of the source, remember to boil, filter, or chemically purify water before use. * shelter: site with a three-sided lean-to and no designated tenting area. Bring a shelter for use at the tent sites. If you go clockwise, you’ll find sometimes that the blue blazes along the trail are not easy to spot, especially at dawn or dusk. 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. Adam Wilcox posted the route: The Grafton Notch Loop is 39 mile trail that was completed in 2007. I appreciate your extensive review! 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. Elevations range from around 700 feet near the southern end of the trail, to 4,170 feet on the summit of Old Speck. There are two trailheads that access the Grafton Loop Trail, one near the north end of the loop and one at the southern end. Backcountry on a Budget: Low-cost & Free Camping in the Northeast. Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park as well as a good deal of private land. The Grafton Loop Path presents a terrific style of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. Whether new to backpacking or a seasoned veteran, the Grafton Loop Trail offers something for everyone. You can read about my adventures at www.tomcatsadventures.com . I was wondering if u saw ticks: I heard a report of some from someone else. The AMC maintains the following four sites on the Grafton Loop Trail in Maine: Bull Run, Slide Mtn, Sargent Brook, and Bald Mtn. Different than most hiking in the White Mountains; trails are much less traveled. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878370921 Sure, you know about AMC’s famed high-mountain hut system. The eastern half of the Grafton Loop was completed and opened to the public in June 2003. The Grafton Loop Trail offers a great taste of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. The route in the northern sections of the loop … The trail traverses over eight summits including several that are open and exposed. The only camping is at 8 designated campsites on the trail. The 2008 trip was one of our classic adventures, and I wrote about it a the time. Hiking the Grafton Loop - Camping in Maine - Duration: 48:52. sintax77 63,014 views. PLAN YOUR Summer Adventures! The trail can be difficult to follow at times. of them. The AT travels near abundant water between Grafton Notch and Old Speck. 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 now. South: From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26. Though the trail is a long loop, there are several options for hiking trips here. Cairns mark the route over open summits. Trail Connections is a proud member of the following: Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association; Appalachian Mountain Club The trail connects to the AT at two points on either side of Grafton Notch to create a loop, ~42 miles in length. Compared to the venerable trails just over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop is relatively new. Best Camping in Grafton on Tripadvisor: Find traveller reviews, candid photos, and prices for 5 camping in Grafton, Australia. The AMC Maine Chapter and Maine Appalachian Trail Club maintain the Grafton Loop Trail and shelters/campsites, along with the section of the Appalachian Trail that compose the loop. 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.) • Grafton Loop Trail (38 miles, 3 or more days, chal-lenging), a high-elevation, backcountry trail with seven primitive campsites, connects a series of nine scenic peaks, including Old Speck, Sunday River Whitecap, Puzzle Mountain, and East and West Baldpate. Mission: build a backpacking loop touring the backcountry's most pristine reaches, and protect it from rampant home development. Mission: build a backpacking loop touring the backcountry's most pristine reaches, and protect it from rampant home development. I helped build the Grafton Loop Trail during the summer 0f 2000. The best weather for hiking the Grafton Loop is between late May and mid-October. The trail traverses strenuous terrain with substantial elevation changes. The western half is a 13 mile stretch, beginning on Route 26, south of the eastern half’s trailhead. I talk about the gear that I took with me. The others are maintained by the Maine ATC. The Grafton Loop Trail traverses sections of private land. campsite: site with both shelter/lean-to and tent platforms or pads in designated area. Few wet spots. I enjoy all things outdoors including hiking/backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, xc skiing, kayaking, and writing about my experiences. 26 to Bald Mt Campsite 1.68 mi https://www.strava.com/activities/3870759583 Campsites near the Appalachian Trail, the Mahoosuc Range, Grafton State Park & Grafton Loop Trail. The AMC website offers a basic trail description with camping information here and a map here. 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. of them. While rodents aren’t unusual at backcountry sites and lean-tos, particularly on the AT, I have a word of caution on the Baldpate Lean-to. There is also a direct view of Sunday River Ski Area. I used my Garmin to track mileages (which seem to differ at times from the AMC signage): The vantage point offers an interesting look toward Mahoosuc Notch, a short distance from the summit. https://www.strava.com/activities/3879624057. Slide Mt Campsite to Bull Run Campsite 1.0 mi Water is available at each campsite. The best opportunities for moose seem to be on the private land between Puzzle Mountain and Long Mountain, where logging has occurred. tentsite: site with just tent platforms or pads in designated area and no shelter/lean-to. The terrain below the summit is just as impressive. If you are planning a trip to this region, please use our group notification system to let us know of your intent to visit and use any sites along the Grafton Loop Trail. 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 hike easily ranks as one of our classic adventures, and writing about my experiences went in, nonprofit! Trail west of Route 26 ’ d like to collect data and track the usage these. 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