NE 4,000 Footers
NE 100 Highest
NH 4,000 Footers
NH 100 Highest
NH 52 With A View
NH Belknap Range
NH Ossipee 10
Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking up the Albany Mountain Trail
Route: Albany Mountain Trail, herd path, (Albany Mountain), herd path, Albany Mountain Trail, abandoned Albany Notch Trail, Albany Mountain Trail
When I first hiked this peak in 2010, it seemed borderline abandoned. While it's not yet perfect, the change in this area, due to a hard working volunteer, is dramatic. I can only imagine with the WMNF hiking trail network would be like if even half the trails had such a dedicated maintainer.
The southern approach goes through swampy terrain and was wet due to the recent rain. A good stretch of it near the gate was rebuilt over the past couple of years and is about as good as it gets in terms of footing and drainage. Above there, where the Forest Service may start logging soon, things are a bit muddy, but there always seemed to be a place to step without dunking.
Once ascending, the trail dries out. Thanks to good blazing and cairn enhancements, it's dramatically easier to follow. From the summit, the herd path to the southern ledges is now easy to follow and quite scenic. This is one of the most scenic peaks of its size in the region.
Descending to the north, nice work has been done around the beaver dam to make the trail smooth and easy to follow. I was scratching my head in 2010, wondering where to step, but now it seems like the trail was meant to be where it is now routed. Further enhancements have taken place in a muddy area just to the north.
For the return trip, we bushwhacked along the abandoned section of the Albany Notch Trail. The footbed isn't particularly obvious, but there are some old blazes in places. Careful navigation can get one across the beaver pond area. Most notable, in my opinion, was the contrast between Forest Service signs saying to not hike the trail due to resource degradation. Not too far into the northern side of the abandoned section, I saw perhaps the heaviest stand of blazed trees I've ever seen in the WMNF. It looks like they're planning a massive logging operation in here...perhaps that's one of the reasons they wanted that section of trail abandoned and for people to stay out. Nonetheless, apart from some muddy stretches of trail, it was kind of a neat walk through the notch.
Excellent late fall weather with generally clear skies and temperatures in the lower 30s. The trails were snow and ice free, though there was a hint of ice off trail from an overnight freeze. A very nice western Maine hike.
Getting To Trailhead:
|Sunday, November 3, 2013
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The Albany Notch Trail trailhead
Looking down the Albany Mountain Trail
Looking west toward Speckled Mountain from the southern ledges of Albany Mountain
Directions to trailhead: Take Route 5 north from Lovell. At the first sight of Keewaydin Lake, take a left onto Birch Avenue. Bear right to stay on Birch Avenue. One can continue much of the way to the gate on the Albany Notch (Albany Mountain) Trail. There is limited room for parking.
Back to Albany Mountain Profile