QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 34,955 acres
- Trail Mileage: ~4.5 miles one way
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: challenging
- Sights: Goose Eye Brook, gorgeous ridge and summit
There are several ways to reach the top of this fantastic mountain with two peaks (the taller is 3,974 feet). I’ve just hiked the 4.6-mile Wright Trail so far, which leaves from Bull Branch Road, a dirt road that is maintained well enough for low-clearance vehicles.
The Wright Trail in Grafton Notch State Park and Mahoosuc Public Lands initially lulls you into a peaceful state of calm for the first 2.5 miles, before startling you wide awake when the trail begins to ascend steeply. The first half of the trail follows Goose Eye Brook, which has lovely cascades and pools all along this stretch. Those who don’t want to summit the mountain can meander alongside the brook, possibly swimming in one of its deeper pools if it’s hot enough. (You can see on my map where we left the main trail to check out pretty spots in the brook. You’ll start to see nice stuff around 0.6 miles in.) The trail ascends gradually, offering a gentle walk through the woods. You’ll have to cross a few streams, though, jumping from rock to rock.
The nature of the hike changes when you reach the campsite, at 2.5 miles. Here you’ll make a crossing over Goose Eye Brook, which can be difficult. Then the trail starts to head steeply up. You’ll get a bit of a reprieve after a half mile or so of climbing, when the trail flattens a bit before climbing again. Shortly, at 3.1 miles, you’ll emerge over tree line on a spectacular but very exposed ridge. The wind can come gusting at you without many nearby peaks to blunt its force!
After walking along the ridge a short ways, you’ll dip back into the forest again before reaching the Appalachian Trail. Turn left and you’ll arrive at the lovely summit of Goose Eye in 0.3 miles (passing southbound the At to Mt. Carlo on your right at 0.2 miles). Views abound all around. If you had turned right at the AT back when it intersected with the Wright Trail, you could climb steeply for 0.1 mile to the summit of North Peak, which has great views of Goose Eye.
When we hiked this trail in September, 2021, it was very muddy, especially at the top along the ridge.
Swimming: After your hike, you can plunge into the popular Frenchman’s Hole, which is on Bull Branch Road about 1.1 miles before the parking area for Wright Trail. Kids like to jump off the rocks into the deep pool underneath the waterfall. You can also cool off in one of the pools you’ll pass alongside Wright Trail.
Directions: Follow Sunday River Road for 7.8 miles; it’ll switch to gravel at around 6.5 miles. When it take a sharp left to cross Bull Branch river, you’ll come to a fork in the road. Go right onto Bull Branch Road. You’ll pass Frenchman’s Hole in a little under a mile on your right. On hot days, it’ll be mobbed here! Continue another 1.1 miles or so to the end of the road, blocked by a gate. There’ll be a large parking area here. Walk back along the road a short ways to see the trailhead kiosk (on your right if you’re walking away from the parking area).