Attractions Category: Western Lakes & Mountains
Grafton Notch State Park and the Mahoosuc Public Lands are a premier recreational destination lying amidst some of Maine’s most spectacular mountains the Mahoosuc Range. These lands offer rugged terrain for backcountry hikers and include 12 of the most challenging miles along the entire Appalachian Trail. Hikers who negotiate the steep summit trails are rewarded with spectacular views, particularly on Old Speck (4,180 feet).
Those who seek tamer adventures can find short walks leading to impressive waterfalls and gorges. The renowned Grafton Notch Scenic Byway bisects the Park and several pull-offs highlight interesting natural features. In Grafton Notch State Park, part of the Maine Birding Trail, birdwatchers can observe peregrine falcons, a wide variety of songbirds, and – at higher elevations – northern forest species. At lower elevations, visitors commonly observe large mammals, even in the vicinity of Route 26. Hunters come in search of deer, bear and grouse, while fishermen try their luck for brook trout in many area streams.
In winter, snowshoers, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers enjoy exploring the lands. The popular snowmobile route ITS 82 runs across this region from Andover to New Hampshire’s Trail 18.
The Mahoosuc Public Lands contain a 9,993-acre Ecological Reserve designated by the State to sustain sensitive ecosystems in their natural condition and provide for monitoring of ecological changes over time. The Reserve includes a sub-alpine tarn, Speck Pond, and several rare plant and animal species. The Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands manages portions of the Mahoosuc Public Land Unit for timber production (in addition to other benefits). The timber management practices are certified sustainable and help support the costs of maintaining Public Lands