The trail connects to the AT at two points on either side of Grafton Notch to create a loop, ~42 miles in length. Rob Burbank. The trail can be difficult to follow at times. of them. I appreciate your extensive review! I encountered almost no other people on the trail. Thanks to the AMC and the Grafton Loop Trail Coalition, 30 miles of new trails were built since 2002. North:  From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26. Wildlife: The Grafton Loop Trail travels through moose country. https://www.strava.com/activities/3873658635 The 2008 trip was one of our classic adventures, and I wrote about it a the time. Grafton Loop Trip Experience. 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. Elevations range from around 700 feet near the southern end of the trail, to 4,170 feet on the summit of Old Speck. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878371495 The coalition worked with private landholders to gain right-of-way via temporary access, easement, or outright purchase. The Appalachian Mountain Club maintains the trail west of Route 26, also including four designated campsites. Trail Correspondents 2021: Apply to Join the Team! Last week I headed up to Maine for a few days on the Grafton Loop Trail. 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. 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 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. The Grafton Loop Trail is a 38.6 mile loop through Grafton Notch with commanding views of the Mahoosuc Range. 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. 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. For those that haven’t experienced gray jays, they will linger near hikers and take food from your hand. Perhaps you’ve stayed in a few (or all!) You can also check out Tomcat's Outdoor Adventures on Facebook here... https://www.facebook.com/Tomcats-Outdoor-Adventures-1708122116123572/. 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. The idea morphed into the Grafton Loop Trail Coalition (GLTC). Loved the trail. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878368520 The trail overall is in good condition. The views stretch down the Mahoosuc Range into the Presidentials. You can read about my adventures at www.tomcatsadventures.com . Perhaps you’ve stayed in a few (or all!) to Slide Mt Campsite 3.1 mi 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. All photos are from the author with the exception of the waterfall, jay, and banner, which were taken by Josh Rosenthal. Sure, you know about AMC’s famed high-mountain hut system. The terrain below the summit is just as impressive. Backcountry on a Budget: Low-cost & Free Camping in the Northeast. Old Speck Mt to Eyebrow Trail 2.4 mi I enjoy all things outdoors including hiking/backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, xc skiing, kayaking, and writing about my experiences. In spite of the comedy of errors on my first night of hiking, it still ended up being a marvelous trip. The only camping is at 8 designated campsites on the trail. 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. Bears also make this area home. Combined with the 21.1 miles of the eastern section , the Grafton Loop Trail is 38.2 miles of backpacking fun that’s ideal for fall foliage adventures. Cairns mark the route over open summits. 26 to Bald Mt Campsite 1.68 mi https://www.strava.com/activities/3870759583 The route in the northern sections of the loop … Grafton Loop Trip Experience. Just to clarify, no prior reservation or permit is required for camping at along the Grafton Loop? AMC Outdoors > Bulletin: Around AMC > Web Exclusives. Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park as well as a good deal of private land. Eyebrow Trail to Grafton Notch AT Parking 1.1 mi East Baldpate Mountain:  East Baldpate gives Sunday River White Cap a run for its money as the best view on the loop. AMC Outdoors > Bulletin: Around AMC > Web Exclusives. South: From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26. The group’s goal was to develop multi-day hiking opportunities that offer alternatives to heavily used sections of the Appalachian Trail (AT). 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. 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. 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. 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 Path presents a terrific style of backpacking in Maine’s rugged mountains. Day 2: 8.5 mi 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 trail crosses lengthy stretches of open rock marked with cairns. Thanks! 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. Bring a shelter for use at the tent sites. A friend and I are thinking of doing the eastern side of loop. Fortunately, there are eight campsites in addition to the lean-to, so finding an appropriate spot to camp isn’t an issue. The closest campsite from the road is 5 miles in, on the other side of 3,000-foot Puzzle Mountain. 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. Two trailheads allow backpackers to split the loop into two halves, while several shorter day-hike options reach the … Backpackers of all experience levels will find the the loop a worthy destination. The AT portion uses white blazes. The southern trailhead sees less traffic and is less likely to fill up during crowded periods. 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. The trail traverses over eight summits including several that are open and exposed. The Grafton Loop Trail is a 38.6 mile, backcountry hiking experience in the Mahoosuc Mountains of Maine. After living in Maine for eight years, the hike easily ranks as one of my favorite hikes in the state. I helped build the Grafton Loop Trail during the summer 0f 2000. 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. All of the campsites appear to have bearboxes, outhouses and usable water sources. Less worn down and in some spots overgrown, but I had no difficulty following the trail. Day 1: Rt. I used my Garmin to track mileages (which seem to differ at times from the AMC signage): 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). The AT travels near abundant water between Grafton Notch and Old Speck. The Grafton Loop Trail, in the Mahoosucs Range of Western Maine, is one of the newest major trails to be built in New England. The loop features excellent scenery with challenging, yet fun terrain. Appalachian Mountain Club, 10 City Square, Boston, MA 02129 P: 617-523-0655 F: 617-523-0722. Seventeen miles are newly constructed trail, which traverse four mountain peaks and include five primitive campsites. https://www.strava.com/activities/3879624057. My stay at Stewart Campsite was a peaceful one. 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. Slide Mt Campsite to Bull Run Campsite 1.0 mi campsite: site with both shelter/lean-to and tent platforms or pads in designated area. 3,812 foot East Baldpate sits near the northern end where the eastern half of the loop intersects the AT. The southern end of the loop between Bald Mountain and Stewart tent sites travels just over seven miles between designated sites, so plan accordingly. It's a beautiful place set on the side of Puzzle Mountain near a small brook. Day 3: 5.1 mi 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. Lots of cobwebs encountered. As a result, camping is limited to designated sites and the Baldpate Lean-to on the AT portion of the loop. 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