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Grafton Notch State Park - Old Speck Mountain and Eyebrow Loop

The western portion of Grafton Notch State park offers two advanced hiking trails that offer excellent views of the mountain range and challenging terrain.
Trail Activity
Snowshoeing Cross-country-skiing Hiking
7.60 miles, Round Trip
Grafton Twp
Dirt/Forest Floor, Rock/Ledge



This is a busy trail system, especially on weekends between 9AM-4PM. Consider visiting outside of peak periods. Use Maine Trail Finder to identify other nearby trails. If the parking lot is full when you arrive, please choose another trail. Be considerate of your fellow trail enthusiasts - pass at safe distances, wear masks, and move on from viewpoints if others are waiting.

Grafton Notch State Park is a premier recreational destination off of ME-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 trailhead.

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 of 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.

View BPL's Grafton Notch and Mahoosuc Public Land map and guide.

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. Off season, visitors may continue to enjoy the park during these same hours. Please place the admission fee in the self-service collection canister. Please be aware that facilities are closed during the off season. 

Natural Heritage HikesNatural Heritage Hikes is a project of the Maine Natural Areas Program in partnership with Maine Trail Finder. View the "Old Speck Mountain - Appalachian Trail and Eyebrow Loop Trail" guide online here

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

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

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Trailhead Information

From the intersection of US-2 and ME-26 in Newry, follow ME-26 approximately 12 miles north to where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road. Coming from US-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-26.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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May 21, 2021
Old Spec is my favorite Maine hike.

I use it as a fitness gauge. When Im fit I can summit in 2hrs. When Im out of shape it takes me 3-4hrs. 48yo M, 6ft 220-250lbs

When I do it in 2hrs I know Im ready for Mt. Washington.

Another reason to hike early is the thunder storms roll in around 2pm.

If you want a much easier hike with a great summit view then hike Table Rock across the street. It only takes about an hour or so to climb. And if the front trail is too steep theres a back trail thats much easier.

Happy Hiking,
travelin light
March 01, 2020
Trail is nice and broken, really easy to follow except in the windy area where there were drifts. Cloudy skies soured the views, but fun was had anyway.
July 28, 2019
Great Sunday hike I just got back from. Never done this one before.. we went up the eyebrow trail (the northern one), hit the peak at 3 1/2 hours at a leisurely pace, spent maybe 20 mins at top, and took about 2 1/2 hours down. There's a lot of early elevation on the eyebrow trail and the AT trail is likely the easier decline; was happy with our decision.

The trail was wide, well marked and maintained, mostly root/rock along the entire way. There's a lot of up and down throughout the trail, so be prepared.. Took about an hour to get to a good opening where we could see the parking lot. The trail opened up maybe a half dozen more times with expansive, far views before the peak. The views at the peak itself were obstructed a little bit by trees, but climbing the tower quickly fixed that for some full, 360 panoramic views. There were a few black flies at the top around the tower, but biting bugs weren't an issue at all (wore no bug spray! rare). There was definitely a higher presence of flying stuff coming down on the southern part of AT trail (opposite eyebrow), but they weren't biting and couldn't keep up if walking at a decent pace. There was a brook along this trail, so that's probably why.

Overall great trail, def recommend... make sure you allocate the time though and bring plenty of water! Not a quick hike, not for beginners.
July 06, 2019
Had a fantastic experience on this trail. FYI that in early July there can be a lot of flies hatching/in general lots of bugs especially at the lookout tower at the top. Also recommend starting early as while it is a very shaded trail, once the sun is up, the trail gets hot. Highly recommend this hike if you are looking for a great workout as well as an amazing view!
March 11, 2018
Hiked this today (3/11/18). The summit view was obscured by clouds, but it was a great hike nonetheless. Previous hikers broke trail through the foot of fresh snow, so the trail up to the summit is clear to follow, which is nice since the blazes on this trail are a bit faint and hard to see when snow is on the tree trunks. A hike that feels all of it's 7.6 miles.
August 23, 2016
the weather could not have been better, a nice cool morning
trail conditions were slick/wet in many locations
started at the parking lot on rt 26 and made the round trip to the tower and back in 3.5 hrs
July 20, 2016
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 .
May 22, 2016
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.
November 12, 2015
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.
October 07, 2015
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!
September 05, 2015
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!
August 02, 2014
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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