Four Day, Three Night White Mountains Trip (Moose Brook State Park, The Roost Loop, Weeks State Park, Franconia Notch State Park, White Mountain Waterfalls, Cannon Mountain, Nansen Ski Jump, Milan State Park and Grafton Notch State Park)

Matty, Ryan and I spent four days and three nights in New Hampshire and western Maine, hiking in the White Mountain National Forest and state parks, and camping at Moose Brook State Park.  

Wednesday, July 14 

We arrived on Wednesday and spent the day setting up camp and visiting the Androscoggin Ranger Station.  Matty had a virtual class at 4pm so we didn't have much time to hike, but we did get in a short walk on the fitness trail adjacent to the station.   The mostly flat trail had stations explaining the stories of USFS mascots Smokey Bear and Woodsy the Owl and then access to and views of the Peabody River.

Ryan and I played tennis while Matty completed his online class from a picnic table in the Gorham Common.  Rather than lack of skill, I blame my poor performance on the incredible views from the court.  

Moose Brook State Park is a great campground near the northern sections of the WMNF.  The park has clean restrooms (flush toilets and running water), warm showers ($0.75 for 3 minutes, bring quarters), a ranger station with a store that sells ice, firewood and park merchandise, friendly staff and a pond for swimming.
Thursday, July 15

We started Thursday with a 2.3 mile hike on the Roost Loop in Evans Notch.   The hike up was short but steep.  Once at the top a short trail leads down to a cliff with expansive westward views.  

After hiking, we headed over to Weeks State Park.   The park includes a fire tower and the summer home of John Wingate Weeks, author of the Weeks Act in 1911.  There are hiking trails leading up the mountain, and people also often walk up the auto road, but given that we already hiked this morning we decided to drive up instead.  The fire tower is open to the public and provides excellent 360 degree views of the area, including Mt. Washington and the Presidential range. 

In the afternoon we returned to Moose Brook State Park and went swimming in the pond.   Despite the sunshine and warm temperatures we had the pond to ourselves.  The pond has a bridge with an opening to jump from and a ladder to climb back out.  The shoreline of the pond was lined with very small tadpoles. 

Friday, July 16th

We started our day with a 1.5 mile hike to Gordon, Salroc and Tama Falls in the White Mountain National Forest.  We started at the Appalachia parking area on Rt 2 and took Maple Way to Fallsway, returning on Valley Way. 

We then walked the Rim Trail on the top of Cannon Mountain after taking the tram to the top.  The trail was easy and offered great views of the area. 

After lunch, we explored Franconia Notch State Park, walking the Basin trail and then exploring the Flume Gorge. The Basin trail is a paved 6/10 mile long trail that provides views of the Basin, a 30 foot wide, 15 foot deep pothole carved from running water.  An informative sign next to the Basin explains that Henry David Thoreau visited in 1839 and commented that the Basin was "perhaps the most remarkable curiosity of its kind in New England."

At $18 per person, the Flume Gorge was expensive and had a touristy feel to it, with wide well worn trails and several tourists (including the three of us, I guess).  It was beautiful, however, and featured several different natural features including caves, waterfalls and of course the Gorge itself.  It also had a small museum and several interesting placards showing pictures from the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. 

Saturday, July 17th

We headed out early on our last day.  Our first stop of the day was a quick visit to the Nansen Ski Jump Historic Site off of Route 16 in Milan.  The view from the base of the jump provides an interesting perspective of the sport of ski jumping.  In the picture below, notice the two full-sized excavators for perspective.  For more information on the park, see its website here.   

Our next stop was Milan Hill State Park.  This small park features campsites, picnic area and fire tower.  We climbed the fire tower and were treated to incredible views of northern New Hampshire. 

Our final stop of the day was Grafton Notch State Park.  We visited Moose Cave, Mother Walker Falls, and Screw Auger Falls.  


Popular Posts