You can read about my adventures at www.tomcatsadventures.com . Bald Mt Campsite to Sargent Mt Campsite 3.4 mi 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. All photos are from the author with the exception of the waterfall, jay, and banner, which were taken by Josh Rosenthal. North of Stewart tent site the trail crosses and follows several brooks en route to East Baldpate. 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. As soon as the tarp was up they went in, and stayed in for the night. The Grafton Loop Trail is a 38.6 mile loop through Grafton Notch with commanding views of the Mahoosuc Range. By October, freezing temperatures can occur at the higher elevation campsites. The vantage point offers an interesting look toward Mahoosuc Notch, a short distance from the summit. Experienced hikers will appreciate the scenery and relative lack of traffic. The AMC describes the camping areas along the trail here. East Baldpate Mountain: East Baldpate gives Sunday River White Cap a run for its money as the best view on the loop. 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. Whether new to backpacking or a seasoned veteran, the Grafton Loop Trail offers something for everyone. 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. The Grafton Loop Trail traverses sections of private land. The loop was built with backpackers in mind. Mission: build a backpacking loop touring the backcountry's most pristine reaches, and protect it from rampant home development. of them. The 2008 trip was one of our classic adventures, and I wrote about it a the time. The western half is a 13 mile stretch, beginning on Route 26, south of the eastern half’s trailhead. Those who make the climb are greeted with stunning 360-degree views from the lofty perch. Mud and biting insects could cause problems early in the season. The closest campsite from the road is 5 miles in, on the other side of 3,000-foot Puzzle Mountain. 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. 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 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. Grafton Loop Trail Campsites. The summit by itself isn’t too impressive. Here I am with a group of volunteers as we started work on two separate privies on the Grafton Loop Trail in Maine. The best weather for hiking the Grafton Loop is between late May and mid-October. Thanks for your support! Few wet spots. Lots of good info in here. The dogs were exhausted. The Appalachian Mountain Club maintains the trail west of Route 26, also including four designated campsites. Different than most hiking in the White Mountains; trails are much less traveled. 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 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. Our campsite for the night was Slide Mountain Campsite. 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. The trail passes by the summit of Puzzle Mountain and follows numerous open sections with fine views. 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 can be difficult to follow at times. You could here them walking and jumping through the vegetation, which is surprisingly loud and disturbing for such a small animal. Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park as well as a good deal of private land. We’d like to collect data and track the usage of these sites. But mostly it's because I love to work on trail projects and help bring new trails to life. Adam Wilcox posted the route: The Grafton Notch Loop is 39 mile trail that was completed in 2007. Best Camping in Grafton on Tripadvisor: Find traveller reviews, candid photos, and prices for 5 camping in Grafton, Australia. Sunday River White Cap: This 3,335-foot summit is a real gem that would be easily forgotten if not for the Grafton Loop Trail. Grafton Loop Trail Campsites. The remainder of the trail (another 21 miles) opened in June 2007. Day 1: Rt. 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. By late October, snow isn’t unusual. The closest campsite from the road is 5 miles in, on the other side of 3,000-foot Puzzle Mountain. Appalachian Trail, Grafton Loop Trail, Woodsum Spur Trail, Lane Campsite Spur, Knoll Campsite Spur, Town Corner Campsite Spur, bushwhacks, Stewart Campsite Spur: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 17, 2020: ... With all the out and backs to campsites and viewpoints we did 17.1 miles. A beautiful, high meadow sits between the East and West Peaks that is traversed on bog bridges. The area was overrun with mice at night. The Grafton Loop Trail allows backpackers to experience a multiday backpacking trip in fairly remote and rugged terrain. The temperatures start to cool in September, with less humidity and haze. Water is available at each campsite. The trail connects to the AT at two points on either side of Grafton Notch to create a loop, ~42 miles in length. Old Speck Mt to Eyebrow Trail 2.4 mi https://www.strava.com/activities/3873658635 As a result, camping is limited to designated sites and the Baldpate Lean-to on the AT portion of the loop. I did have one tick but it was only on my sock. Backcountry on a Budget: Low-cost & Free Camping in the Northeast. 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. A few notes that may help others: The group’s goal was to develop multi-day hiking opportunities that offer alternatives to heavily used sections of the Appalachian Trail (AT). The Grafton Loop Trail is a 38.6 mile, backcountry hiking experience in the Mahoosuc Mountains of Maine. - We jumped in the Jeep, headed south on ME 26, retrieved Whitney's car, headed home, grilled up some burgers, downed a few cold ones, and talked about how awesome the Grafton Loop Trail was. Though the trail is a long loop, there are several options for hiking trips here. The summit has a viewing area that takes in much of the Mahoosuc Range and stretches toward the Presidential Range on the horizon. After living in Maine for eight years, the hike easily ranks as one of my favorite hikes in the state. The route Starting at the southern trailhead does seem to have a few advantages. Rob Burbank. 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. We're accepting reservations for the 2020 Camping Season 2020 - OPEN Mid-May through Columbus Day. According to the AMC, the brook by Stewart tent site can be unreliable. March 23, 2017. Hiking the Grafton Loop - Camping in Maine - Duration: 48:52. sintax77 63,014 views. 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. 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. Hi, I'm Troy, AKA- TOMCAT. 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. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878371495 Last summer I helped build a privy at one of the campsites. After I thru-hiked the AT in 1999, I never worked full time again. 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. The 2008 trip was one of our classic adventures, and I wrote about it a the time. • 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. 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. Last week I headed up to Maine for a few days on the Grafton Loop Trail. 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. Thanks to the AMC and the Grafton Loop Trail Coalition, 30 miles of new trails were built since 2002. Bring a shelter for use at the tent sites. The others are maintained by the Maine ATC. I helped build the Grafton Loop Trail during the summer 0f 2000. 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. The open summit offers 360 degree views and is arguably the best vista on the loop. For those not deterred by heights, the tower can be climbed. This section includes three primitive campsites. Sure, you know about AMC’s famed high-mountain hut system. 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. Mission: build a backpacking loop touring the backcountry's most pristine reaches, and protect it from rampant home development. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878372815 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 encountered almost no other people on the trail. I was wondering if u saw ticks: I heard a report of some from someone else. Starting at the southern end will also begin and end your trip near the low point of the loop. Trail Connections is a proud member of the following: Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association; Appalachian Mountain Club The only camping is at 8 designated campsites on the trail. The trail traverses strenuous terrain with substantial elevation changes. Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park as well as a good deal of private land. 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. Day 2: 8.5 mi campsite: site with both shelter/lean-to and tent platforms or pads in designated area. 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. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878374720 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. https://www.strava.com/activities/3878370921 Thanks so much for your awesome trip report. 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.