- We jumped in the Jeep, headed south on ME 26, retrieved Whitney's car, headed home, grilled up some burgers, downed a few cold ones, and talked about how awesome the Grafton Loop Trail was. The trek along the ridge between all the campsites was pleasant with many stream crossings, several potential swimming holes (especially between Knoll and Lane), and minimal elevation change overall. Backpackers of all experience levels will find the the loop a worthy destination. I used my Garmin to track mileages (which seem to differ at times from the AMC signage): Grafton Loop Trail (38 miles, 3 or more days, chal-lenging), a high-elevation, backcountry trail with seven primitive campsites, connects a series of nine scenic peaks, including Old Speck, Sunday River Whitecap, Puzzle Mountain, and East and West Baldpate. The complete loop didn’t open till 2007 after a serious collaboration between personal land house owners, the state of Maine, and a […] Typical temperatures during the summer will be in the 70s and 80s during the day and 50s at night with humid conditions. The Grafton Loop Trail allows backpackers to experience a multiday backpacking trip in fairly remote and rugged terrain. Snow patches can linger in shaded areas well into May during snowier years. The Appalachian Trail maps and the ATC logos used on this website are the property of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and are protected by copyright and trademark registrations. The eastern half of the Grafton Loop was completed and opened to the public in June 2003. In our busy White Mountain campsites, we rely on the caretaker program to protect the resources of trees, soil, and water quality, and the campsite infrastructure itself, during periods of high use. They are used here with permission. The trail, which connects to the Appalachian Trail at Old Speck and the East Peak of Baldpate Mountain on either side of ME Route 26, highlights the natural features and mountain peaks of the area encircling Bear River Valley. Water is available at each campsite. Day 2 Stats: Grafton Loop Trail, Campsite Spurs - 16.8mi, 4950' gain, 10hr 10min taken Day 3 Stats: Grafton Loop Trail, Campsite Spurs, Appalachian Trail - 11.6mi, 3250' gain, 7hr 5min taken This hike has been on the to-do list for 12 years now, and especially the last 3-4 years, but somehow it still never happened until now. The Grafton Loop Trail (West Section) The Grafton Loop Trail is a new trail completed in 2007 that is designed to help take some of the pressure off the nearby section of the Appalachian Trail and the Speck Pond campsite which receive very heavy use. While staying there on a backpacking trip of the Grafton Loop over July 4th weekend a few years back, we camped in the area by lean-to. While rodents aren’t unusual at backcountry sites and lean-tos, particularly on the AT, I have a word of caution on the Baldpate Lean-to. While the ambitious, veteran backpacker could knock the loop out as an overnight trip, the layout of the trail allows those in less of a hurry to hike the route comfortably in three to five days. The remainder of the trail (another 21 miles) opened in June 2007. The coalition worked with private landholders to gain right-of-way via temporary access, easement, or outright purchase. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Ladders aid hikers over rocky drops. The numbers: 39 miles, 3 to 4 days The hike: Crossing nine peaks, this route links a rocky section of the AT with 31 miles of smooth singletrack for a view lover’s tour de force.Start at the south end and hike clockwise, traversing the bare granite ledges of Sunday River Whitecap, where tasty blueberries (ripe in August) from trailside bushes will compete with the views for your attention. I encountered almost no other people on the trail. Fortunately, there are eight campsites in addition to the lean-to, so finding an appropriate spot to camp isn’t an issue. Mud and biting insects could cause problems early in the season. The trail spends most of its time in the forest, with a handful of open summits that offer classic Maine mountain views stretching all the way the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. Perhaps you’ve stayed in a few (or all!) Puzzle Mountain:  Puzzle Mountain, sitting near the southern end at 3,142 feet, is another peak that would probably be forgotten if not for the Grafton Loop. https://www.strava.com/activities/3879624057. Trail Connections is a proud member of the following: Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association; Appalachian Mountain Club Several of the campsites offer bear boxes for food. Different than most hiking in the White Mountains; trails are much less traveled. Compared to the venerable trails just over the border in New Hampshire, the Grafton Loop is relatively new. Here I am with a group of volunteers as we started work on two separate privies on the Grafton Loop Trail in Maine. Campsites near the Appalachian Trail, the Mahoosuc Range, Grafton State Park & Grafton Loop Trail. Perhaps you’ve stayed in a few (or all!) As an added bonus, gray jays frequently greet hikers that linger long enough near the summit. There is also a direct view of Sunday River Ski Area. • Grafton Loop Trail (38 miles, 3 or more days, chal-lenging), a high-elevation, backcountry trail with seven primitive campsites, connects a series of nine scenic peaks, including Old Speck, Sunday River Whitecap, Puzzle Mountain, and East and West Baldpate. On the western half of the trail, expect to use the brooks by ten tsites for water except for the southern two miles between Bald Mountain tent site and the southern trailhead where the trail follows a small brook. Backcountry on a Budget: Low-cost & Free Camping in the Northeast. Experienced hikers will appreciate the scenery and relative lack of traffic. Grafton Loop Trail Campsites. A friend and I are thinking of doing the eastern side of loop. Appalachian Trail, Grafton Loop Trail, Woodsum Spur Trail, Lane Campsite Spur, Knoll Campsite Spur, Town Corner Campsite Spur, bushwhacks, Stewart Campsite Spur: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 17, 2020: ... With all the out and backs to campsites and viewpoints we did 17.1 miles. AMC Outdoors > Bulletin: Around AMC > Web Exclusives. Day 1: Rt. We’d like to collect data and track the usage of these sites. The dogs were exhausted. 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