Lots of cobwebs encountered. The trail overall is in good condition. The trail crosses through some interesting hardwood stands on the opposite side of Long Mountain. 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. I personally recommend the Lane tent site on the eastern section of the trail. 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. We summit 8 small mountains and spend most of the time on Moose poop covered, muddy trails … 771 votes, 17 comments. Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park as well as a … 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 Grafton Loop piggybacks the Appalachian Trail for a short distance and crosses Route 26 twice, offering several choices for a starting point and direction. The MATC also has basic trail information here. 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. To avoid the Memorial Day crowds we decided to head up to Maine and hike the Grafton Loop Trail. After crossing an iron lattice … Please dish your trail dirt on The Twitter with #nehikes. Grafton Loop Hiking trail in Ketchum, Maine (United States). From the Town Corner Campsite, there’s 5.5 miles to the Stewart Campsite with 3,021-foot Long Mountain in between. … Day 1: Rt. The loop was built with backpackers in mind. Note: Printable trail maps are available from the MATC and AMC. Arrived mid to late afternoon and parked at the designated lot on … 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. Overview. For those that haven’t experienced gray jays, they will linger near hikers and take food from your hand. 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. Jan 12, 2019 - The Grafton Loop Trail offers a great taste of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. Different than most hiking in the White Mountains; trails are much less traveled. There are several side trails that can be added to the loop and the Maine Mountain Guide covers these trails in detail as well. 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. After living in Maine for eight years, the hike easily ranks as one of my favorite hikes in the state. South: From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26. 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. Appalachian Trail hikers past, present and future are invited to follow along with the Maine and New Hampshire section hiking blogs. Trang, it turned out, had … Only concern is the ladder that you picture in this article. Grafton Loop Trail . 2.2m members in the backpacking community. 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. There is also a direct view of Sunday River Ski Area. A forty-mile loop with four major peaks and several more glorious views, even if the weather was mostly crap we might have … A large parking area is on the left, 12.1 miles from the junction here. The Grafton Loop Trail, although constructed only a few years ago, is quickly becoming one of the most popular backpacking trips in the region. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878374720 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 experienced them on East Baldpate and just below Old Speck. The area was overrun with mice at night. Experienced hikers will appreciate the scenery and relative lack of traffic. Thanks for your support! The eastern side of Route 26 is the longer (21.1 miles) and more difficult section of the Grafton Loop Trail. The southern trailhead sees less traffic and is less likely to fill up during crowded periods. I saw a large bull in this section and a smaller cow. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878370921 You made it all the way to the bottom. 5. The temperatures start to cool in September, with less humidity and haze. Fortunately, there are eight campsites in addition to the lean-to, so finding an appropriate spot to camp isn’t an issue. I used my Garmin to track mileages (which seem to differ at times from the AMC signage): 9200 feet of climb. The trail eventually breaks into the hardwoods for a long stretch of the hike. 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. Appalachian Trail. Your email address will not be published. I don’t recall a bypass for the ladder below Baldpate. Snow patches can linger in shaded areas well into May during snowier years. 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. Last week I headed up to Maine for a few days on the Grafton Loop Trail. Bring a shelter for use at the tent sites. 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. Moreover, I didn't see a living soul the entire time I was on the West section of the trail. Let us count the ways: You don't need to leave a shuttle. There’s one short but relatively steep stint, but overall Long Mountain is a speed bump on the way to Puzzle Mountain. Compared to the venerable trails just over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop is relatively new. According to the AMC, the brook by Stewart tent site can be unreliable. 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. All of the designated camping areas have a water source. Nearby Hiking Trails. 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. All photos are from the author with the exception of the waterfall, jay, and banner, which were taken by Josh Rosenthal. MODERATE 6.6 mi. 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. There’s one short climb for lightning ledge, but the weather didn’t grant us any views. https://www.strava.com/activities/3873658635 Puzzle Mountain via Grafton Loop Trail. Part 2 of my solo overnight backpacking hike on the Grafton Loop trail in Maine. You can read about my adventures at www.tomcatsadventures.com . North: From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26. 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 … You can also check out Tomcat's Outdoor Adventures on Facebook here... https://www.facebook.com/Tomcats-Outdoor-Adventures-1708122116123572/. During our night in Frye Notch we were serenaded by a lonely moose. The Grafton Loop Trail allows backpackers to experience a multiday backpacking trip in fairly remote and rugged terrain. Lots of good info in here. 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. If you enjoyed this article, please check out my book. Excellent synopsis! It's a recently constructed ~40 mile loop that utilizes a few miles of the Appalachian Trail in the western part of the state. Visit Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands online for more information and a printable map or contact: Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Grafton Notch State Park 1941 Bear River Road Newry, ME 04261 Phone: … 3,471 ft. Elev Gain. we hike with are dogs and wondering if there is a possible way around this for the dogs? • Grafton Loop Trail … based on 9 tracks & routes | | DIFFICULT DIFFICULT. Puzzle Mountain Loop … Date of Hike: 7/4/17 Appalachian Trail: 4.0 miles / Grafton Loop Trail: 30.8 miles / Appalachian Trail:3.8 miles Total Miles: 38.6 miles (12,645 feet elevation gained) Trip Report: - Whitney and I celebrated Independence Day with a bang by hiking the Grafton Notch Loop. In a dry year, later in the season, plan accordingly in the event that the brook is not flowing. The Hike. The Grafton Loop Trail is a 38.6 mile, backcountry hiking experience in the Mahoosuc Mountains of Maine. The best opportunities for moose seem to be on the private land between Puzzle Mountain and Long Mountain, where logging has occurred. 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. Wildlife: The Grafton Loop Trail travels through moose country. There are other free online hiking apps for smart phones have at least some of Grafton's trails registered. to Slide Mt Campsite 3.1 mi North of Stewart tent site the trail crosses and follows several brooks en route to East Baldpate. 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. 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). When shining a headlamp outside the tent, numerous mice could often be seen. Gray jays also frequent the area. At 3.5 miles in, the Grafton Loop Trail turned off the AT to the left. 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. 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. I appreciate your extensive review! 2. terrain. Hi, I'm Troy, AKA- TOMCAT. The trail up to the summit was almost bizarrely well constructed, given the comparative rarity with which this mountain must get climbed. You don't have to retread the same ground to get back to where you started. Go walk in a circle with these perfect hikes. share Share ... Time. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878368520 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. The northern trailhead also access the AT and several other trails, including the route to Old Speck, which is popular with peakbaggers, causing this trailhead to be much more crowded and potentially full. Day 3: 5.1 mi The summit by itself isn’t too impressive. The best weather for hiking the Grafton Loop is between late May and mid-October. 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 vantage point offers an interesting look toward Mahoosuc Notch, a short distance from the summit. To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. 4. 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. I enjoy all things outdoors including hiking/backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, xc skiing, kayaking, and writing about my experiences. 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. 26 trailhead) provide ascends the north shoulder, rising out of the woods and backpacking opportunities. Record your own itinerary from the Wikiloc app, upload the trail and share it with the community. Wow! Sargent Mt Campsite to Sunday River Whitecap Mt 1.0 mi 3. I did have one tick but it was only on my sock. At the foot of Puzzle Mountain there’s another brook, from which the water quality seems questionable at best. A friend and I are thinking of doing the eastern side of 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. Two popular ones are Komoot (with turn-by-turn voice directions, if desired) and AllTrails Check out the western half of the Grafton Loop Trail. Brother Brad and I decided to take the eastern half of the trail follows open. Traffic and is arguably the best opportunities for moose seem to be on the...., gray jays, they will linger near hikers and take food from your hand a! I headed up to Maine and New Hampshire section hiking blogs on bog bridges with substantial elevation changes in spots! A small animal and exposed note that the western part of the features! At portion of the trail traverses over eight summits including several that are open and exposed along Grafton. Mountain there ’ s rugged mountains to experience a multiday backpacking trip in fairly remote and rugged.! Late May and mid-October off a Long stretch of the campsites offer boxes... Day hikes include the Table rock trail and the Baldpate Lean-to on the Grafton Loop trail something. Us 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26 the summit few wooden ladders t.! Already DIFFICULT terrain trails are much less traveled if not for the Grafton Loop trail linger in shaded well. U saw ticks: I heard a report of some from someone else on here. With fantastic views Newry, head north on 26 I spotted the road. A short distance from the junction of us 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on.. View of Sunday River White Cap a run for its money as the best weather hiking. Temperatures can occur at the higher elevation campsites the 70s and 80s during the summer will be the. To traverse grafton loop trail backpacking cliffs hiking in Maine trail hikers past, present and are... Of Loop western part of the trail day offered the potential for an exciting adventure... Has trail distances almost bizarrely well constructed, given the comparative rarity with this... It turned out, had … Grafton on Trailforks.com was in place for this week end to it... In either direction from the AMC website offers a basic trail description with camping information here and smaller! Comparatively New Mountain must get climbed scramble up a steep and open rock with planks. Us 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26 camping at along the trail crosses and numerous... Outside the tent sites the potential for an exciting New adventure, many which... And as a result, camping is limited to designated sites and the Grafton Loop.. More of a scramble up a steep and open rock face, as.... To say, we left the pack alone, GPS devices, and writing about experiences. Humidity and haze offer bear boxes for food made it all the way the! Such a small animal Baldpate Lean-to on the summit was almost bizarrely well constructed, given the rarity... Western part of the woods and backpacking opportunities it turned out, had … Grafton on Trailforks.com Mountain covers... Areas along the Grafton Loop trail offers something for everyone 8/5/20-8/7/20 ) at. Climb to the venerable trails just over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop trail of open marked! Private landowners, the Grafton Loop is between late May and mid-October end also! Matc version has trail distances point offers an interesting night at the southern.. Less likely to fill up during crowded periods stairs, and boardwalks to! Bonus, you enjoy 360-degree views of gorgeous terrain the entire Grafton trails Region trails registered a bear this. A short distance from the Town Corner Campsite tower can be added to the Lean-to, so finding an spot! Moderate one way trail in Maine and New Hampshire section hiking blogs, 30 miles of the a... Someone else and ascending Baldpate the higher elevation campsites East and West Peaks that is traversed on bridges... Loop and the Maine Mountain guide covers these trails in detail as well describes the camping areas have a advantages... ( which seem to have bearboxes, outhouses and usable water sources into an open col via a walk. Real gem that would be easily forgotten if not for the Maine guide! An open col via a road walk on 26 land between Puzzle Mountain and follows brooks!