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. This section includes three primitive campsites. Two trailheads allow backpackers to split the loop into two halves, while several shorter day-hike options reach the … The trail traverses strenuous terrain with substantial elevation changes. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878368520 Starting at the southern trailhead does seem to have a few advantages. To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. Take note that the western portion of the trail is accessed .6 miles south of this trailhead via a road walk on 26. There is also a direct view of Sunday River Ski Area. The trek along the ridge between all the campsites was pleasant with many stream crossings, several potential swimming holes (especially between Knoll and Lane), and minimal elevation change overall. But mostly it's because I love to work on trail projects and help bring new trails to life. Approximately two-thirds of the trail’s length is on private lands with the remainder located on public lands managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. 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. Bald Mt Campsite to Sargent Mt Campsite 3.4 mi Backpackers of all experience levels will find the the loop a worthy destination. In spite of the comedy of errors on my first night of hiking, it still ended up being a marvelous trip. The AT travels near abundant water between Grafton Notch and Old Speck. Though the trail is a long loop, there are several options for hiking trips here. You can also check out Tomcat's Outdoor Adventures on Facebook here... https://www.facebook.com/Tomcats-Outdoor-Adventures-1708122116123572/. 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. They are used here with permission. Grafton Loop Trail Campsites. Perhaps you’ve stayed in a few (or all!) Campsites near the Appalachian Trail, the Mahoosuc Range, Grafton State Park & Grafton Loop Trail. Sunday River Whitecap Mt. In comparison with the venerable trails simply over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop is comparatively new. Fortunately, there are eight campsites in addition to the lean-to, so finding an appropriate spot to camp isn’t an issue. Aside from the AT portion of the loop, the Grafton Loop remains largely undiscovered, as the trail has only been fully open since 2007. 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. 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. Multiple blow downs that are easy to navigate around. For those not deterred by heights, the tower can be climbed. 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. Appalachian Mountain Club, 10 City Square, Boston, MA 02129 P: 617-523-0655 F: 617-523-0722. 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. 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. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/maine/grafton-notch-trail 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. Rob Burbank. As soon as the tarp was up they went in, and stayed in for the night. 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. Grafton Loop Trail (GLT) This was my second time hiking through this park, so this was a bit of a rematch for me. Lots of cobwebs encountered. The western half is a 13 mile stretch, beginning on Route 26, south of the eastern half’s 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. Old Speck Mt to Eyebrow Trail 2.4 mi of them. 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. 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. 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. Sure, you know about AMC’s famed high-mountain hut system. Perhaps you’ve stayed in a few (or all!) Trail Connections is a proud member of the following: Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association; Appalachian Mountain Club Last day on the Grafton Loop Trail. A beautiful, high meadow sits between the East and West Peaks that is traversed on bog bridges. The only camping is at 8 designated campsites on the trail. 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 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). All of the designated camping areas have a water source. Seventeen miles are newly constructed trail, which traverse four mountain peaks and include five primitive campsites. All photos are from the author with the exception of the waterfall, jay, and banner, which were taken by Josh Rosenthal. Those who make the climb are greeted with stunning 360-degree views from the lofty perch. Old Speck Mountain:  At 4,170 feet, Old Speck is the highest summit on the Grafton Loop and the fifth highest peak in Maine. The Grafton Loop Trail allows backpackers to experience a multiday backpacking trip in fairly remote and rugged terrain. 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. © Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved. 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. Took me about ten hours to drive up from Jersey. The open summit offers 360 degree views and is arguably the best vista on the loop. The complete loop didn’t open till 2007 after a serious collaboration between personal land house owners, the state of Maine, and a […] The Grafton Loop Trail offers a great taste of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. https://www.strava.com/activities/3873658635 The route in the northern sections of the loop … 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. Grafton Loop Trip Experience. In spite of the comedy of errors on my first night of hiking, it still ended up being a marvelous trip. The 2008 trip was one of our classic adventures, and I wrote about it a the time. The dogs were exhausted. As a result, camping is limited to designated sites and the Baldpate Lean-to on the AT portion of the loop. More than half a dozen backcountry campsites allow backpackers to split the trip up in many different ways. Backcountry on a Budget: Low-cost & Free Camping in the Northeast. The summit has a viewing area that takes in much of the Mahoosuc Range and stretches toward the Presidential Range on the horizon. The others are maintained by the Maine ATC. While I never saw a bear in this area, they are not uncommon. Typical temperatures during the summer will be in the 70s and 80s during the day and 50s at night with humid conditions. 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. Grafton Notch Campground in Newry, Maine. Different than most hiking in the White Mountains; trails are much less traveled. I did have one tick but it was only on my sock. A friend and I are thinking of doing the eastern side of loop. I encountered almost no other people on the trail. My stay at Stewart Campsite was a peaceful one. According to the AMC, the brook by Stewart tent site can be unreliable. 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. Despite the lower elevation, the climbing is somewhat more gradual in either direction from the southern trailhead. I was wondering if u saw ticks: I heard a report of some from someone else. Trail Connections is a proud member of the following: Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association; Appalachian Mountain Club Trail Correspondents 2021: Apply to Join the Team! It's a beautiful place set on the side of Puzzle Mountain near a small brook. We're accepting reservations for the 2020 Camping Season 2020 - OPEN Mid-May through Columbus Day. Mission: build a backpacking loop touring the backcountry's most pristine reaches, and protect it from rampant home development. I experienced them on East Baldpate and just below Old Speck. The views stretch down the Mahoosuc Range into the Presidentials. Wildlife: The Grafton Loop Trail travels through moose country. We're accepting reservations for the 2020 Camping Season 2020 - OPEN Mid-May through Columbus Day. Rob Burbank. Traversing the Bear River, Sunday River-Whitecap and Miles Notch, this part of the trail ends on the summit of Old Speck Mountain at its junction with the Mahoosuc Trail/AT. 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