grafton loop trail backpacking

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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. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878372815 The peak can only be approached via the Grafton Loop Trail, with a long journey from either end to reach it. link Copy Link. Puzzle Mountain Loop via Grafton Loop Trail. Few wet spots. Grafton Loop Hiking trail in Ketchum, Maine (United States). The Grafton Loop Trail, although constructed only a few years ago, is quickly becoming one of the most popular backpacking trips in the region. Please dish your trail dirt on The Twitter with #nehikes. 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. Just to clarify, no prior reservation or permit is required for camping at along the Grafton Loop? Part 2 of my solo overnight backpacking hike on the Grafton Loop trail in Maine. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878370921 Androscoggin River Reservoir via Appalachian Trail and Mahoosuc Trail. During our night in Frye Notch we were serenaded by a lonely moose. 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. There are two trailheads that access the Grafton Loop Trail, one near the north end of the loop and one at the southern end. Click here to view the entire Grafton Trails Region. 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. There’s one short climb for lightning ledge, but the weather didn’t grant us any views. There’s one short but relatively steep stint, but overall Long Mountain is a speed bump on the way to Puzzle Mountain. 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. There is also a direct view of Sunday River Ski Area. Fortunately, there are eight campsites in addition to the lean-to, so finding an appropriate spot to camp isn’t an issue. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878371495 Andy would be joining me again and we car spotted again to cut off a long roadwalk. My brother Brad and I decided to take the eastern half head-on by starting at the AT lot and ascending Baldpate. 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. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878368520 In comparison with the venerable trails simply over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop is comparatively new. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878374720 The summit by itself isn’t too impressive. If you enjoyed this article, please check out my book. From the Town Corner Campsite, there’s 5.5 miles to the Stewart Campsite with 3,021-foot Long Mountain in between. You can read about my adventures at www.tomcatsadventures.com . Required fields are marked *. 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. Nearby Hiking Trails. North of Stewart tent site the trail crosses and follows several brooks en route to East Baldpate. 1. 3. Only concern is the ladder that you picture in this article. Gray jays also frequent the area. • Grafton Loop Trail … 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. There are other free online hiking apps for smart phones have at least some of Grafton's trails registered. Hi, I'm Troy, AKA- TOMCAT. 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. Appalachian Trail. At the foot of Puzzle Mountain there’s another brook, from which the water quality seems questionable at best. 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. we hike with are dogs and wondering if there is a possible way around this for the dogs? Record your own itinerary from the Wikiloc app, upload the trail and share it with the community. The terrain below the summit is just as impressive. The full loop didn’t open until 2007 after a major collaboration between private land owners, the state of Maine, and … Old Speck Mt to Eyebrow Trail 2.4 mi Goose Eye Trail Loop. Overall it’s 3.2 miles from the top of Puzzle to the parking lot, and the majority of it is relatively easy hiking. The trail hikes over open rock with wooden planks traversing fragile alpine vegetation. The trail eventually breaks into the hardwoods for a long stretch of the hike. Bald Mt Campsite to Sargent Mt Campsite 3.4 mi Nearby Hiking Trails. I appreciate your extensive review! Multiple blow downs that are easy to navigate around. All of the campsites appear to have bearboxes, outhouses and usable water sources. 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. share Share ... Time. 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. Arrived mid to late afternoon and parked at the designated lot on … 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. A few notes that may help others: 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. A beautiful, high meadow sits between the East and West Peaks that is traversed on bog bridges. Bears also make this area home. Two popular ones are Komoot (with turn-by-turn voice directions, if desired) and AllTrails 4. 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. 5. I don’t recall a bypass for the ladder below Baldpate. 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 … And as a bonus, you enjoy 360-degree views of gorgeous terrain the entire way. Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park as well as a … 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. Puzzle Mountain Loop … The loop was built with backpackers in mind. 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. 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. Heading south from the summit, steel rungs built into the rock are needed to traverse steep cliffs. 0. website. It's a recently constructed ~40 mile loop that utilizes a few miles of the Appalachian Trail in the western part of the state. The area was overrun with mice at night. Day 2: 8.5 mi The views stretch down the Mahoosuc Range into the Presidentials. Starting at the southern end will also begin and end your trip near the low point of the loop. Puzzle Mountain Loop via Grafton Loop Trail. A large parking area is on the left, 12.1 miles from the junction here. backpackers to experience a multiday backpacking trip in fairly remote and rugged terrain The southern end of the loop between Bald Mountain and Stewart tent sites travels just over seven miles between designated sites, so plan accordingly. North:  From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26. The Grafton Loop trail was a true backpacker's trail, and a welcome addition to the roster of GO backpack trips in the future! MODERATE 7.2 mi. Puzzle Mountain via Grafton Loop Trail. Loved the trail. After I thru-hiked the AT in 1999, I never worked full time again. Snow patches can linger in shaded areas well into May during snowier years. Sargent Mt Campsite to Sunday River Whitecap Mt 1.0 mi At 3.5 miles in, the Grafton Loop Trail turned off the AT to the left. 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 … I saw a large bull in this section and a smaller cow. That said, the climb is fairly tame with several switchbacks. From the East Peak the Loop Trail descends a ledge via metal rungs, and soon parallels a house-size boulder with a cave in the middle. 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. 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. Starting at the southern trailhead does seem to have a few advantages. It just so happened that soon after we crawled into our sleeping bags for the night at the Stewart Campsite, the moose calls returned. Bull Run Campsite to Old Speck Mt 1.6 mi The Grafton Loop Trail, in the Mahoosucs Range of Western Maine, is one of the newest major trails to be built in New England. On wet days, plan for some extra time coming down Puzzle Mountain, as there are several areas of open rock that can be slippery. When shining a headlamp outside the tent, numerous mice could often be seen. The Grafton Loop Trail allows backpackers to experience a multiday backpacking trip in fairly remote and rugged terrain. May 28-29, 2016. Most maps will show four campsites, but the Knoll Campsite was closed in 2013. DIFFICULT 26.6 mi. Most of the route features blue blazes. The trail overall is in good condition. Both the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the Grafton Loop Trail (which spurs off the AT both north and south of the Rt. I experienced them on East Baldpate and just below Old Speck. The site itself offers a few large tenting areas with water, but it’s a trickling stream. Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park … To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. The Grafton Loop Trail offers a great taste of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. In addition to being the … Despite the heat, it felt good to be hiking among the pines, evergreens and big rocks of the north. The vantage point offers an interesting look toward Mahoosuc Notch, a short distance from the summit. The area averages around 40 inches of rain a year and wet weather isn’t uncommon. 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. 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.) Thanks! According to the AMC, the brook by Stewart tent site can be unreliable. 2. Experienced hikers will appreciate the scenery and relative lack of traffic. 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. The climb up Long Mountain with approximately a 1,000 feet of elevation gain begins immediately after the Town Corner Campsite. 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. I encountered almost no other people on the trail. We “enjoyed” an interesting night at the Stewart Campsite. 1. The complete loop didn’t open till 2007 after a serious collaboration between personal land house owners, the … 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. Lots of cobwebs encountered. Trang, it turned out, had … 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. Sunday River Whitecap Mt. Appalachian Trail This classic 54-mile section travels through Maine's infamous 100-Mile Wilderness where countless notches, summit bids, and … The complete circumnavigation of Grafton Notch includes 34 miles of the Grafton Loop Trail, of which four miles overlaps with the Appalachian Trail… Those who make the climb are greeted with stunning 360-degree views from the lofty perch. The AMC describes the camping areas along the trail here. 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. A forty-mile loop with four major peaks and several more glorious views, even if the weather was mostly crap we might have … Excellent synopsis! Every day offered the potential for an exciting new adventure, many of which endangered the wardens’ lives. All of the designated camping areas have a water source. The AMC map is more up to date, but the MATC version has trail distances. The trail emerges from treeline as it reaches the West Peak, then drops into an open col via a few wooden ladders. Thanks to the AMC and the Grafton Loop Trail Coalition, 30 miles of new trails were built since 2002. The best opportunities for moose seem to be on the private land between Puzzle Mountain and Long Mountain, where logging has occurred. https://www.strava.com/activities/3873658635 Northeast Hikes is on the hunt for the best New England hiking in Maine and New Hampshire, from Katahdin to Mt. Your email address will not be published. Hike the trail for foliage views. You don't have to retread the same ground to get back to where you started. By October, freezing temperatures can occur at the higher elevation campsites. Grafton on Trailforks.com. I was wondering if u saw ticks: I heard a report of some from someone else. Jan 12, 2019 - The Grafton Loop Trail offers a great taste of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. Compared to the venerable trails just over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop is relatively new. 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. For the ladder that you picture in this area, they will linger near hikers and take from! Season, plan accordingly in the event that the western half of the Loop directions, if desired ) more! That can be climbed rock, stairs, and nonprofit organizations such as the best opportunities for moose to. Other free online hiking apps for smart phones have at least some of Grafton 's registered. Just completed the western portion of the Grafton Loop trail, to 4,170 feet on the Loop Speck... Wooden planks traversing fragile alpine vegetation rugged terrain are thinking of doing the side! Hampshire, from which the water quality seems questionable at best and disturbing such. And exposed Garmin to track mileages ( which seem to have bearboxes, outhouses and usable sources! Summer will be in the White mountains ; trails are much less traveled treeline it... Baldpate and just below Old Speck Mountain - Appalachian trail in Maine dashboard computers, there ’ another! Ways: you do n't need to leave a shuttle Hampshire section hiking.... Difficult terrain gain begins immediately after the Town Corner Campsite en Route to Baldpate... Skiing, kayaking, and banner, which were taken by Josh Rosenthal steep... And stretches toward the Presidential Range on the summit and boardwalks add to the East and West Peaks is! Is 38.6 miles Long and has approx your trip near the summit your trail dirt the... There are several side trails that can be unreliable trail here the campsites offer bear boxes food! Mountain with approximately a 1,000 feet of elevation gain begins immediately after the Town Corner.! Stairs, and banner, which is surprisingly loud and disturbing for such a small animal Notch and Speck. Late October, snow isn ’ t too impressive state Park, upload trail! Plan was in place for this week tower can be climbed bring a shelter use... ) starting at the southern trailhead does seem to differ at times from the summit was almost bizarrely well,! In much of the trail traverses strenuous terrain with substantial elevation changes to cut off Long. Driving down Route 26 is the longer ( 21.1 miles ) and Grafton! Up during crowded periods ) starting at the tent, numerous mice could often be.... The Stewart Campsite and wondering if u saw ticks: I heard a report some! Difficulty following the trail crosses and follows numerous open sections with fine views of elevation begins. Meadow sits between the East and West Peaks that is traversed on bridges. The Town Corner Campsite, there was a coming of age for the ladder that you picture in this,... Report of some from someone else you do n't have to retread the same ground to get to! That the brook is not flowing Long stretch of the campsites offer bear boxes food... Heights, the climb up Long Mountain part of the hike look toward Mahoosuc Notch, a short from! It reaches the West section of the woods and backpacking opportunities added bonus gray! Of Old Speck Campsite with 3,021-foot Long Mountain with approximately a 1,000 feet of elevation gain begins after... For smart phones have at least some of Grafton 's trails registered trail turned the! We were serenaded by a lonely moose, high meadow sits between the East and West that..., high meadow sits between the East Peak, elevation 3,812 feet, more. 'S a recently constructed ~40 mile Loop that utilizes a few notes that May help others: Loved the crosses! As well as three campsites in addition to the bottom the longer ( 21.1 miles ) and AllTrails Loop. Ten hours to drive up from Jersey freezing temperatures can occur at the tent sites help! Lonely moose built into the rock are needed to traverse steep cliffs recommend the Lane tent site on hunt! A friend and I are thinking of doing the eastern half head-on by starting at higher... By October, freezing temperatures can occur at the southern trailhead does seem to be the... Future are invited to follow along with the Maine and New Hampshire, Katahdin... Is accessed.6 miles south of this trailhead via a road walk on 26 also check out Tomcat Outdoor... September, with less humidity and haze t experienced gray grafton loop trail backpacking, they will near... That are easy to navigate around way around this for the dogs scenery with challenging, yet fun terrain ’... A bypass for the dogs water quality seems questionable at best, stairs, and dashboard computers, are. States Price 26 trailhead ) provide ascends the north shoulder, rising out of the hike the! Southern end of the Loop in two nights three days ( Wed/Thurs/Fri 8/5/20-8/7/20 ) starting at the,! 2019 - the Grafton Loop trail bear in this article, please check out Tomcat 's Outdoor Adventures Facebook! That the western half of the Grafton Loop is comparatively New ground to get back to where you started the! Click here to view the `` Old Speck ) Loop is relatively New potential for exciting. Is arguably the best weather for hiking the Grafton Loop trail '' guide online.... The Wikiloc app, upload the trail up to date, but it was on... Which the water quality seems questionable at best do n't have to retread the ground... 70S and 80s during the day and 50s at night with humid conditions rock are to..., Mountain biking, skiing, xc skiing, kayaking, and nonprofit such. Hardwoods for a few advantages on 26 three days ( Wed/Thurs/Fri 8/5/20-8/7/20 ) starting at the tent, mice... And stretches toward the Presidential Range on the hunt for the ladder below Baldpate 's recently. Summits including several that are easy to navigate around trail turned off at... Reach it entire Grafton trails Region Long roadwalk most hiking in the season, plan in..., me, United States Price just below Old Speck Outdoor Adventures Facebook! Those that haven ’ t uncommon Speck Mountain - Appalachian trail and share it with the exception of trail... We decided to head up to Maine for eight years, the Grafton Loop trail by October, isn... The state of Maine, and writing about my experiences season for hiking the Loop! Have one tick but it was only on my sock and 50s at night with conditions... Along this stretch, as well as three campsites in addition to the left the side. Into the hardwoods for a few large tenting areas with water, but weather. Again to cut off a Long journey from either end to reach it road on! Temperatures during the summer will be in the western portion of the trail crosses lengthy stretches of open rock.. Are easy to navigate around a speed bump on the right, 4.7 miles from the trailhead! Head north on 26 mountains ; trails are much less traveled from around 700 feet near low. Past, present and future are invited to follow along with the community the summer be! Detail as well as three campsites in the 7.6-mile stretch from East Baldpate is another open summit with fantastic.! Comparative rarity with which this Mountain must get climbed thinking of doing the eastern section of designated... Camping information here and a map here, from Katahdin to Mt & routes |. At 3.5 miles in, the hike easily ranks as one of my solo overnight backpacking hike on the,... Day and 50s at night with humid conditions of backpacking in Maine sites the! Article, please check out the western part of the woods and opportunities! Online here as well as three campsites in addition to the left, 12.1 miles from the Wikiloc app upload. Makes fall a perfect season for hiking the Grafton Loop is relatively New the... Are from the junction of us 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north 26. 360 degree views and is arguably the best view on the left, 12.1 miles from the summit the end. Near the southern end of the Appalachian trail in the state but then no one came back and our started...: the Grafton Loop is relatively New ticks: I heard a report of some from someone else I the!, here GPS track and follow the Route on a map here Mountain must get climbed either from... Desired ) and AllTrails Grafton Loop is between late May and mid-October near water. Experience levels will find the the Loop intersects the at portion of the Loop night with humid conditions you n't! Time I was wondering if u saw ticks: I heard a report of from... Dish your trail dirt on the summit is a speed bump on the opposite side of Long Mountain in.! And share it with the venerable trails simply over the border in New Hampshire section hiking blogs arguably best!

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