DATE: Sep 02, 2022 to Sep 05, 2022
Backpacking Grafton Loop Backpack

Meeting Time: 9:00 AM

Event Coordinator: Richardg
Newry, ME

Max # People: 6

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Strenuous


The Grafton Loop Trail is a scenic and remote, 38-mile backpack in Maine’s Mahoosuc Mountains.  We will hike the entire trail including a section of the Appalachian Trail, traversing rugged terrain over 9 peaks including Old Speck, Stowe, Long and Baldpate Mountains, numerous, spectacular outlooks, and some secluded swimming spots.   Total elevation gain will be approximately 12,000’ over 4 days.  The plan is to hike approximately 11 miles per day starting early Friday, September 2 and finish Monday, September 5, late afternoon. Camping will be in designated campsites or lean-tos along the trail.

The August 2014 issue of Backpacker Magazine describes West Baldpate as very challenging but, “Maine’s Stairway to Heaven … One of the best 360-degree views in Maine, with no roads or towns in sight and layers of peaks fading into the distance.”

More info:

Trailheads: There are two trailheads that access the Grafton Loop Trail, one near the northern end of the loop and one at the southern end.

North (West)/Grafton Notch:  From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26.  A large parking area is on the left, 12.1 miles from the junction.

South (East)/Eddy Road: From the junction of US 2 and Maine 26 in Newry, head north on 26.  A large parking area is on the right, 4.7 miles from the junction across from Eddy Road.  Please note that the western portion of the trail is accessed .6 miles south of this trailhead via a road walk on 26.

We will start the hike at South - Eastern Trailhead at Eddy Road and hike the loop clockwise. Starting at the southern end will begin the loop near the low elevation point resulting in a more gradual climb in either direction. More details to follow by early summer.

This is a rugged and strenuous backpack, not to be underestimated.  Participants need to be physically and mentally prepared to backpack hike 38 miles / 12,000’ elevation gain with gear and provisions.  Planning and coordination, appropriate gear, and clothing, grippy hiking boots and provisions for 3 nights and 4 days are required.

We may spot a car at Grafton Notch with extra provisions, extra fuel and extra clothing so that we can re-supply at the halfway point of the hike. 

Logistics: Meet at Grafton Notch Campground Thursday evening ( or Eddy Road parking lot (South Trailhead), 9 AM sharp on Friday, September 2. Car spotting at Grafton Notch will be done first or the night before.

Equipment: Backpack, 3 season backpacking sleeping bag or quilt, sleeping pad, backpacking tent or bivy, 10 + essentials for hiking, filled water bottles (2-3 liters), water filtration or purification, backpack stove, cookware and utensils, bear bag / rodent proof food bag, provisions for 4 days/3 nights, trail snacks, headlamp, layered clothing for expected conditions and rain gear, toiletries (suntan lotion, insect repellent). Sharing of gear (stoves, fuel, water treatment and tents) is highly suggested. 

Water is expected to be available at each campsite and along the trail.

No fires are permitted on the private land portion of the hike.

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

Grafton Notch Campground:  1472 Bear River Road / Route 26, Newry, Maine 04261 Phone: (207) 824-2292
From Bethel: Follow Route 2 East to Newry Corner (Routes 2 & 26)
Turn left. Go 7 miles north on Rt. 26 (Bear River Rd.) Campground is on the left.
From Rumford/Farmington: Follow Route 2 West to Newry Corner (Routes 2 & 26)
Turn right. Go 7 miles north on Rt. 26 (Bear River Rd.) Campground is on the left.
From Errol, New Hampshire (Routes 16 & 26)
Travel 24 miles south on Rt. 26. Campground is on the right.
Eddy Road Parking Lot: 985 Bear River Rd (Rt. 26); Newry, ME 04261  (44.538936, -70.829642).
Grafton Notch State Park Parking Lot: Rt. 26: Newry, ME 04261 (44.589773, -70.946678)