QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 800,000 acres in White Mountains Forest (ME and NH)
- Trail Mileage: 21.5 miles in Speckled Mountain network
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: strenuous
- Sights: brook, views, ledgy summit (2,907 ft.)
Map legend: Blue trails, Blueberry Mountain and Rattlesnake Pool loop. Pinks trails, Speckled Mountain. Yellow trails, Shell Pond loop. Purple trails, East Royce. Miles Notch Trail is not shown.
The summit here is grand, with a great vista over Caribou Mountain and mountains to the north and west! Once when I was here, a Gray jay was grabbing snacks from a hiker’s outstretched hand.
There are many ways (all, I think, equally strenuous) to summit the 2,906-foot Speckled Mountain, one of the two biggies, along with Caribou Mountain, in this part of the White Mountains. You can start at the parking area for East Royce Mountain on Route 113, and climb 1.9 miles over Spruce Hill, connecting to the Bickford Brook Trail for the final 1.2 miles to the summit. Or you can start at the Brickett Historical House, and hike 4.1 miles to the summit along the Bickford Brook Trail, past Bickford Slides (which are nice). Or, you can hike up and over Blueberry Mountain, along the Blueberry Ridge Trail (4.2 miles). Finally, you can hike up Cold Brook Trail (4.2 miles), Great Brook Trail (5.9 miles), or Miles Notch Trail to Red Rock Trail (8.8 miles).
I really recommend hiking up Blueberry Mountain and over the ridge trail. There are fabulous views along the way. Also beautiful is the upper part of Cold Brook Trail. Great Brook Trail, Cold Brook Trail and Red Rock Trail do not seem as well traveled as the trails that begin from Route 113, and consequently they are rougher and not as thoroughly marked. If you are nervous about getting lost, I recommend hiking up and over Blueberry Mountain. This route is quite popular. Also, Great Brook Trail, Spruce Hill Trail, and the Red Rock Trail are all wooded, with scant views.
I absolutely do not recommend starting or finishing at the Cold Brook Trailhead. The path is very badly marked, there are confusing No Trespassing signs posted all over the place, and there are several intersecting rough roads that make it hard to see where the real path is. If you want to start at this side of the mountain, it’s much better to begin or end your hike at the better maintained Evergreen Link Trail, off of Mountain Road.
Directions: From Route 2 in Gilead, travel south on Rte. 113 for 10 miles to the parking area on the right, at Brickett Place. From the south, travel north on Rte. 113 for 19 miles from Route 302 in Fryeburg. Or you can start at the East Royce Mtn trailhead off Route 113.
To find the trailhead to Great Brook Trail, take Adams Road to Hut Road. Drive all the way to the end, after it turns into a bumpy jeep track, and you’ll see park signs and trailhead signs. Walk along the track, past a pretty stream. You should see a trail sign a hundred yards so so from the stream showing you which way to go (there are other tracks heading off in different directions, so take care). Also, at about 1.8 miles in, there is a junction with a trail sign pointing to the left, but it is very hard to see.
To get to the Evergreen Link Trailhead, take Adams Road to Mountain Road. When the road turns right into a private drive, park your car, and start walking up the snowmobile track straight ahead. When I hiked this in the fall of 2016, there was no sign at the start here, just a faint yellow mark on a tree. The official trail sign is a ways up the snowmobile path. After about half a mile, the snowmobile path heads right, and you’ll see a walking path continue straight ahead.