These two trails offer access to Appalachian Trail (AT) and the heart of the Mahoosuc Range from nearby New Hampshire. While both trails offer a challenging and rewarding experience along, they are often combined for a more challenging and longer loop. The two trails are described below up to their connection with the AT and the connecting trail described as part of the loop experience.
Goose Eye Trail (6.4 miles round-trip, advanced): From the parking area, both trails follow a logging road west about 100 yards before the Goose Eye Trail cuts sharply left down an embankment and turns right to follow another logging road. The trail follows this second logging road across two brooks and then bears right onto another logging road descending for about 100 yards where a sign indicates where the trail leaves the right side of the road. From here the trail passes through old mixed forest and the New Hampshire-Maine state line, before beginning to ascend Gooseye Mountain. Right before reaching the summit there is a steep scramble up a rock ledge. From the summit of Goose Eye Mountain (3870 feet), there are stunning views of the surrounding range. The trail continues another 0.1 miles to join the AT. A short hike northbound will bring hikers to the junction of the AT and Wright Trail; southbound leads to Mount Carlo.
Carlo Col Trail (5.2 miles round-trip, advanced): Also leaving from the parking area, the Carlo Col Trail follows a logging road west about 0.8 miles (continuing straight where the Goose Eye Trail splits off to the left) to a log yard where the trail cuts left, crossing a brook that may need to be forded in high water. The trail then follows the brook for just over a quarter mile, before bearing east up the steep south side of Mount Carlo. Hikers will reach the pass the Carlo Col Campsite about 0.2 miles before reaching the trail's junction with the AT. Heading southbound a short way leads to an overlook with excellent views; continuing northbound approximately a half mile leads to the summit of Mount Carlo (3565 feet).
Combined Loop (7.6 mile loop, strenuous): Approximately 1.8 miles of the AT separate the junctions of the Goose Eye and Carlo Col Trails. Heading south southbound on the AT from its junction of the Goose Eye Trail the trail descends and then ascends to the top of Mount Carlo (3565 feet) before descending into Carlo Col and to the junction with the Carlo Col Trail. The Carlo Col Campsite may be utilized to make this loop an overnight experience.
These two trails are 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.
Appalachian Mountain Club, Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
IMPORTANT: Access to these trailheads are 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.
Both trails leave from the same trailhead.
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. Follow Success Pond road 8.1 miles to the trailhead located at an intersection of Success Pond Road with a logging road. The logging road has a wooden trail sign and a green road sign that mark the Carlo Col 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 trailhead is located at the intersection of Success Pond and a logging road at approximately 11.5 miles from ME Route 26. The logging road has a wooden trail sign and a green road sign that mark the Carlo Col Trailhead.
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