The Notch Trail starts on a spur road off Success Pond Road and ascends fairly easily along a brook, climbing 800 feet in 2.5 miles to the Appalachian Trail junction. From the junction, continuing northbound on the AT will lead hikers into the Mahoosuc Notch, generally considered the toughest mile on the AT.
This trail is partially within the 9,993-acre Mahoosuc Ecological Reserve, which, like all Maine state Ecological Reserves, is specifically set aside to protect and monitor natural ecosystems. Find out more by checking out the Maine Natural Areas Program's Ecoreserve Fact Sheet for Mahoosuc Unit.
IMPORTANT: Access to these trailheads is notoriously hard to navigate because they mostly follow unmarked logging roads that can also be difficult or impossible to pass. Experience on back roads, your vehicle, and the time of year may dictate whether you will be able to access the trailhead. Expect to have some trial and error when navigating these roads and please exercise good judgment and common sense.
From West: Follow US Route 2 into New Hampshire and take NH Route 16 north at its intersection with US Route 2 in Gorham. Continue on NH Route 16 for 4.5 miles towards Berlin and then bear right on Unity Street to cross the Androscoggin River on the Cleveland Bridge. Unity Street will continue straight through a set of traffic lights and then bear sharply right and becomes Hutchins Street. Follow Hutchins Street (bearing left in several places) another mile to where Success Pond Road leaves Hutchins Street on the right (eastern) side of the road. From here, it is another 10.9 miles along Success Pond Road to the spur road which leaves from the south (right) side of the road. The spur road runs about 0.5 miles up to a parking lot and the trailhead.
From East: Success Pond Road leaves ME Route 26 about 2.8 miles north of the Appalachian Trail crossing in Grafton Notch State Park. Use mileage to determine the correct road as Success Pond Road is an unmarked logging road leaving ME Route 26 on the western side of the road (left side if coming from the State Park). Note that Google Maps labels this as York Pond Road intersecting North Pond Road, and then Success Pond Road, but it is not guaranteed that any of these roads will be marked. The spur road leaves from the southern (left) side of the road about 8.5 miles from ME Route 26. The spur road runs about 0.5 miles up to a parking lot and the trailhead.
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