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Puzzle Mountain and Woodsum Spur

The section of the Grafton Loop Trail that ascends Puzzle Mountain from ME Route 26 is a popular day hike. A rigorous but exceptional option is to loop around the open ridges on the unique Woodsum Spur Trail before descending.
Trail Activity
Length
7.3 miles, Loop
Difficulty
Advanced
Town
Newry
Surface
Dirt/Forest Floor, Rock/Ledge
Pets
Permitted
Fees
No

Description

The Grafton Loop Trail (GLT) leaves the parking lot and ascends to the open summit of Puzzle Mountain after passing several ledges with fine views of the Bear River Valley, the Mahoosuc Range and the Presidential Range beyond. About 0.1 miles before the summit, at a sign, the Woodsum Spur branches to the right. The GLT continues to the southwest peak and a large cairn with fine views in all directions. Descending slightly, it then follows open ledges until about 0.2 miles after the summit where the other end of the Woodsum Spur branches to the right. The GLT continues down Puzzle toward the the valley between Puzzle and Long Mountain. The Woodsum Spur, assuming you are traveling in a clockwise direction, goes gently up and down through small conifers skirting below the northern (tree-covered) and highest peak of Puzzle to a series of open ledges. It crosses over the open summit of the Southeast peak and begins heading consistently downhill. The trail then enters the woods and crosses a stream with reliable water about three fourths of the way along the Woodsum Spur. After another 0.5 miles in the woods, the trail emerges again at the GLT.

It is about 6.5 miles round trip from the parking lot to the southwest summit of Puzzle and back on the GLT. The Woodsum Spur adds about 2.1 miles for a round trip of 8.6 miles.

Other Information

To learn more about the Grafton Loop Trail of which Puzzle Mountain and Woodsum Trail are only a part, check out the Grafton Loop Trail posting on Maine Trail Finder. For different maps and information, visit the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and Maine Appalachian Trail Club (MATC) websites:

Part of the GLT over Puzzle Mountain and all of the Woodsum Spur Trail are on the Stewart Preserve, named after Bob Stewart, who donated the land to the Mahoosuc Land Trust for permanent protection from development. The Woodsum Spur is named after Ken Woodsum, a forester and conservationist who was instrumental in protecting Puzzle Mountain and first explored the route of the current trail with Bob Stewart. As an organization, the Mahoosuc Land Trust encourages public interest in land conservation while working to strengthen the connection between people and the land. It supports a balance of growth and conservation and emphasize sustainable forestry, recreation, agriculture, and traditional land uses. To learn more about becomeing involved, visit their website below.

The Maine Appalachian Trail Club (MATC) is an all volunteer organization that exists to maintain and protect the 267-mile section of the Appalachian Trail in Maine extending between Katahdin in Baxter State Park and Grafton Notch at ME Route 26. In addition, MATC maintains over 60 miles of side trails as well as a system of regularly spaced shelters and campsites in order that wild, backcountry hiking remains accessible in Maine. MATC publishes The Official Appalachian Trail Guide to Maine, which includes seven maps. For information on how to purchase the guide, or to learn more about becoming a member of MATC, visit the organization’s website.

Trail Manager

Visit the Mahoosuc Land Trust or Maine Appalachian Trail Club online for more information or contact:

Maine Appalachian Trail Club (MATC)

Maine Appalachian Trail Club (MATC)
PO Box 283
Augusta, ME 04332-0283
info@matc.org
View website

Mahoosuc Land Trust

Mahoosuc Land Trust
PO Box 981
162 North Road
Bethel, ME 04217
Phone: (207) 824-3806
info@mahoosuc.org
View website

Nearby Events

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Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know how to choose and use your gear for each trip, factoring in the terrain and conditions.
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Trailhead Information

From the intersection of US Route 2 and ME Route 26 in Newry, follow ME Route 26 approximately 4.7 miles north. You will see the Grafton Loop Trail sign and the parking area are will be on the right, directly across from Eddy Road on the left. The trail leaves from the northern end of the parking area.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
Please Log In or Create Account to add comments.
Andrew Steinharter
July 28, 2018
Great hike. I went in July and all the run-off was dried up so there was no water on the hike. Bring plenty with you.
Billy Farnum
March 05, 2016
Puzzle is a wonderful hike. We highly recommend it.
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