A little over an hour’s drive northwest of Wolf Cove Inn lies a breathtaking state park in the town of Newry. In fact, this little treasure delivers big time when it comes to scenic beauty, challenging hiking trails, and chance encounters with wildlife. Book your stay with us at the Wolf Cove Inn, start packing, and bring along this guide to Grafton Notch State Park in Maine.
The park encompasses spectacular peaks and dramatic gorges, thanks to a u-shaped valley carved by glaciers many moons ago. Its claim to fame is the trail system – 12 miles of the most challenging terrain on the entire Appalachian Trail. For those of you who seek more moderate trails, there are several short walks to scenic gorges and thundering waterfalls, which also provide ample opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
What to Expect Each Season
- Spring: When the snow melts off the mountains, the waterfalls and gorges are at their most impressive.
- Summer: The return of warm weather brings the most visitors to the park as well as a lush, green landscape.
- Fall: Another popular time for visitors, the cooler but mild temps and fall foliage create a perfect combination for every hike.
- Winter: Although the trails are not groomed, plenty of cross-country skiers and snowshoers enjoy trekking through the snowy woods, while snowmobilers flock to the lower elevations for thrilling jaunts at high speed.
Offering an abundance of outdoor fun, Grafton Notch State Park delivers the goods all year long. Visitors come from all over to pursue recreational activities, such as:
- Cross-country skiing
- Self-guided trail
- Chance encounters with wildlife
As you wind your way up Route 26 through the park, be sure to keep an eye out for a few of our favorite spots to view spectacular scenery.
Screw Auger Falls
A short walk leads to Screw Auger Falls, a 23-foot waterfall that lies in a narrow gorge along the Bear River. Pack a picnic and take a dip in the river to cool off.
Mother Walker Falls
Named for local resident Mother Walker, this easy ¼-mile walk leads to a v-shaped gorge and a stunning cascade of water tumbling over broken rocks.
Lying deep within a canyon of bedrock, this short hike brings you to Moose Cave, a 200-foot-long gorge, where the water disappears under a granite ledge.
Spruce Meadow Picnic Area
Stop by this lovely picnic area with tables and grills. The area overlooks Old Speck Mountain and a marsh filled with wildlife for a quiet and pretty respite.
Full-Day Day and Half-Day Hikes
Grafton Notch State Park offers several challenging hiking trails, including a section of the Appalachian Trail. Thousands of hikers come here each year seeking a back-country experience. Opt for one of their full-day or half-day hikes that lead to spectacular views. Here are a few of our favorite moderate to challenging hikes:
- Old Speck Trail: (7.6 miles, 7 hours, challenging)
- Eyebrow Loop Trail: (2.2 miles round trip, 2-3 hours, challenging)
- Table Rock Loop Trail: (2.4 miles round trip, 2 hours, moderate)
- Baldpate Mountain Trail: (8.3 mile out and back trail, 5.5 hours, challenging)
For more information about Grafton Notch State Park hiking trails, check out this guide to the top ten best trails in the park.
Clearly, Grafton Notch State Park in Maine is a recreational haven. Take a snow-covered trek through the woods. Experience a springtime hike to a thundering waterfall. Enjoy a summer jaunt through lush vegetation. Or discover a breathtaking trail through fall foliage. No matter the season, we highly recommend making this park a day-trip destination during your next stay at Wolf Cove Inn.
On Your Way Back to the Inn
After a day of playing in Maine’s backyard, the fun isn’t over. As you make your way back to the Inn, stop by an inspiring and historic covered bridge for a photo opportunity, and then grab a bite to eat at a traditional Bavarian beer garden.
Historic Covered Bridge
Sunday River Bridge, also located in Newry, was built in 1872. This 100-foot Paddleford Truss bridge happens to be the most photographed and painted bridge in all of Maine. John Enneking, one of North America’s first impressionist painters, was seen painting at this bridge so often that locals began referring to the bridge as the “Artist’s Bridge.” Although the bridge has been closed to traffic since 1958, it welcomes pedestrians, and is still worthy of being captured through a lens or on canvas. Find more idyllic covered bridges in Maine.
Bavarian Beer Garden
After an adventurous and exhilarating day, you’ll likely be ready to satisfy your hunger and thirst. We know the perfect place. Situated just 6 miles from our bed and breakfast is Oxbow Beer Garden, styled in the tradition of a Bavarian Beer Garden. You will appreciate the comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, a dozen craft beers on tap, and delicious scratch made pizza!
Cozy Lodging on Tripp Lake
Situated on 2 beautiful acres on the shores of Tripp Lake, you’ll love staying at our cozy bed and breakfast. Before heading out each day, you’ll be treated to a hearty Maine breakfast. And after a full day of exploring, you’ll return to one of our comfortable guest rooms with lake views, or our private cabin in the woods. Soak in a jetted tub, unwind in front of the fire (indoors or out), and simply relax and recharge.