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Trailhead

From the intersection of US Route 2 and ME Route 26 in Newry, follow ME Route 26 approximately 12 miles north to where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road. Coming from US Route 2, the trailhead and parking area will be on the left. The trails up Old Speck and Eyebrow Loop leave from the parking area and kiosk on the west side of ME Route 26.

Description

Grafton Notch State Park is a premier recreational destination off of ME Route 26 in Newry. The park lies amidst some of Maine's most spectacular mountains, the Mahoosuc Mountain Range, and offers rugged terrain for back-country hikers including close to 5 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Hiking up the steep summit trails rewards hikers with spectacular views, particularly on Old Speck  Mountain which at 4,180 feet is Maine's third tallest mountain.

Old Speck Trail (7.6 miles round trip, advanced): Old Speck Trail is a challenging hike with spectacular views from an open observation tower at the summit. From the parking area, follow the white-blazed Appalachian Trail southbound along Cascade Brook. The trail crosses many streams then ascends the north shoulder, rising out of the woods and offering frequent views of the Notch. The summit and tower are reached by a 0.3-mile spur reached at approximately 3.5 miles from the trail head.

Eyebrow Loop Trail (2.2 miles round trip, advanced): The Eyebrow Loop Trail rises steeply to a 2,900 foot shelf-overlook on Old Speck Mountain. Following the white-blazed Appalachian Trail southbound for 0.1 miles, look for the start of the orange-blazed Eyebrow Trail on the right. The trail gently rises as it passes through a stand or hardwood trees until it reaches a steeper cliff section. Portions of the orange-blazed ascent involve ladders and steel rungs. It is suggested that users descend by following the Appalachian Trail back to the parking lot and trailhead. While still steep, this avoids climbing down steep sections. Hikers wanting to avoid the rungs and ladders can go up and back on the AT portion for a 2.6-mile round-trip. The Eyebrow may not be achievable for small children, especially in wet conditions.

Other Information

Grafton Notch State Park is also part of the Maine Birding Trail, birdwatchers can observe peregrine falcons, a wide variety of songbirds, and at higher elevations some northern forest species. In the winter, adventurous snowshoers and cross-country skiers enjoy exploring ungroomed trails. Grafton Notch is open seasonally from May 15th to October 15th from 9:00 am to sunset.

Trail Manager

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: (207) 824-2912; Off Season: (207) 624-6080

Comments

oldgoat August 23, 2016, 8:34 pm EDT

the weather could not have been better, a nice cool morningtrail conditions were slick/wet in many locationsstarted at the parking lot on rt 26 and made the round trip to the tower and back in 3.5 hrs

gilbobaggins July 20, 2016, 10:09 pm EDT

Hiked 7/20/16, took eyebrow , was perfect to get the heart pumping, and I would not take younger hikers on, joined up with the old speck trail to top. Climb the observation tower as the views are impressive and you can see above the tree lines. We hiked the trail to speck pond , it was challenging after the hike up. I would recommend everyone hike this trail about .4 miles as it takes you to the edge of the very windy mountain side and the views are equal to the summit views. If youre not up for the longer trek down to the pond then head back to the trail to descend down. We took the old speck trail down and it was a different experience than taking eyebrow with a bonus of the water falls. My daughter , 20 and myself started at 9:40am and returned at 4:15 taking breaks and pictures along the way. We drank 6 12oz waters each and put on a long sleeve shirt twice as the temps change near the summit and on the way to the pond. I will hike it again in the Fall and recommend it .

lchiking May 22, 2016, 3:53 pm EDT

We enjoyed our hike up Old Speck this weekend and it was very beautiful on the way up. took us about 7 hours up and down. Always filled with nice scenery changing from rocky little water ways to small green trees to ice covering some of the path but the view is all worth it at the top with a large welded fire tower structure to climb with beautiful views of Sunday River, the Whites, Berlin, and Lake Umbagog.

zuke November 12, 2015, 10:02 am EST

My daughter and I took the opportunity to climb Old Speck on Veterans Day (11/11/15). We took the Eyebrow Trail and then joined up with AT Trail (old Speck Trail) to the summit and back to the Trail head. I would recommend using eyebrow on the way up as it is steep in places. Beautiful area and well maintained trails.

fshrchik October 07, 2015, 7:44 pm EDT

My husband and I hiked just to the summit of Old Speck from the parking area with our dog on 20 September 2015. It was definitely on the rugged side with lots of sort of boulder stair stepping. It was a very well marked, nice trail. I can see that on an icy sort of day it would not be much fun! There would have been a great view at the summit if it weren't for the cloud, but we had fun anyway!

bigeloafah September 05, 2015, 11:09 am EDT

Old Speck and Speck Pond trip from Route 26 in late August. For years we skipped Old Speck, thinking "Wooded summit? No thanks." Big mistake. What a fine hike! Well-maintained trail, generally soft underfoot rather than rock-strewn, with helpful stairs in some steeper sections. Views from ledges on the way up, a cleared patch at the summit that overlooks Baldpate and the north and east, and an observation tower that feels safe and secure and opens up outstanding 360-degree views, including the Presidentials, Mahoosuc Notch, border lakes... We took the Eyebrow Trail up - not nearly as challenging as online reports suggested, but definitely a lousy idea on a wet day or for the descent. What WAS challenging was tacking on Old Speck Pond after summiting. This adds approx. 2.2 miles round-trip from the junction where the short spur to Old Speck summit leaves Old Speck Trail. It's a stiff descent to the pond, with steepish exposed ledges that call for sticky tread, hands, and a head for heights. Might be especially tricky for younger children with short legs. The payoff is the pond itself. A wild, remote setting (albeit with a shelter and outhouse) and a swim that was invigorating and bracing even in late August. Glad enough to have seen the pond but not sure we'd do it again anytime soon, as it added considerable exertion to an already-substantial day hike. A bonus of doing this trip in late August: meeting AT through-hikers. Inspiring!

jollyroger August 02, 2014, 7:28 pm EDT

Wonderful information. It has been years since my wife and I have hiked this trail. I wish I could do it again. This site is great!

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