QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 800,000 acres in White Mountain Forest (ME and NH)
- Trail Mileage: 9 miles in network
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: moderate (lengthy)
- Sights: views from open summit (2840 ft.)
This is a lovely hike, with an open summit and great views. You can tackle it either by starting from Route 113 (closed in winters) or from the Bog Road. Most people depart from the trailhead on Route 113, climbing up either the northern Caribou Trail or the southern Mud Brook Trail. You have more views along the Mud Brook Trail, which also is a bit steeper. I noticed it was harder to follow the trail at the open, rocky mountaintop coming in from the Caribou Trail. And there are fragile alpine plants on the top, so it’s unfortunately easy to wander off the trail and damage them. Or was in July 2016.
The other possibility is you start at Bog Road, and hike up 2.3 miles to intersect with the loop. Note that at the start of Bog Road, the logging road you head out on splits into two. The way was not marked when I was here. Take the road to the left to reach the footpath, which’ll be on your right 100 feet or so further up and posted with an arrow.
The whole trail network is about 11.4 miles. If you just do the Caribou Trail-Mud Brook Trail loop, it’s about 6.7 miles. I’d say this hike is moderate, rather than difficult. The elevation gained from the Route 113 trailhead is about 1,950 feet.
Directions: From US Route 2 in Gilead, travel south on Route 113 for 4.8 miles to the parking area at the Caribou/Mud Brook Trailhead on the left side of the road. From US Route 302 in Fryeburg, travel north on Route 113 for 24.8 miles to the parking area, which’ll be on your right. For the Bog Road trailhead, travel on US Route 2 and just west of West Bethel town you’ll take a left onto Bog Road. Drive 2.8 miles to a small parking area. The road is gated.