Hiking Guide

 New Hampshire
 New York
 Rhode Island

 View All

 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


Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Old Speck Mountain
Grafton, ME

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking down the Old Speck Trail on the way to the Old Speck summit
Looking down the Old Speck Trail on the way to the Old Speck summit

Route: Old Speck Trail

I had been planning to hike Old Speck for months, however weather and a knee injury forced me to keep postponing it. Though I was tired this particular morning, I decided to git 'r done anyways.

I started rather late - perhaps in part due to my early start penalty of being in the clouds on Mt. Adams the day before - around 11 AM. Despite the perfect weather on a holiday weekend, there were still spaces to be had at the parking lot. After looking up at The Eyebrow, I deposited my $2 entrance fee (honor system collection thingamajig, no parking permit to be displayed), and headed up the Old Speck/Appalachian Trail.

The trail starts off very gently - just to mess with you. After crossing a dried up stream bed, the trail quickly ascends up some steep terrain via a series of rock stairways. Without much of a warm up, I was feeling the burn!

Soon, the trail was more gently following the upper part of this stream (which had maybe a gallon per minute of water cascading off some rocks - nice sight in the late morning sun), then steepening up and following some ledges to the Eyebrow Trail junction. After this, the trail gets somewhat inconsistent, in that there's somewhere in the ballpark of 300 vertical feet dips on its way to the Old Speck summit.

Much like the Sugarbush Range in Vermont, the Old Speck trail weaves around mossy forests with numerous 'aw crap' views - in which you realize the actual final ascent up the mountain is still quite a ways away. Though there are a few rocks you have to climb up or around, the trail is not too steep in this area.

Finally, after seemingly hours (okay, more like one hour) of hiking, I was at the foot of the final ascent. This is no cakewalk - there is a slight bit of scrambling (or tree holding) required to get up portions of this. Just around the corner was a great view - the trail follows the side of a ledge with very small growth, looking back toward The Eyebrow.

The Appalachian Trail split off not to long after that, meaning there was only a fraction of a mile of easy walking to the top.

Arriving at the fire tower, I was shocked to find out I was the only one around! I had pictured the holiday crowds making it so busy that I'd have to wait my turn to climb up - not the case! From the top, the views were amazing - Mt. Washington was easily spotted, as was Pleasant Mountain and I later found to be Mount Blue.

After having lunch, the summit started to fill up with the people I had passed on the way up. After conversing and putting around a little bit, I decided to head down.

The descent was filled with Every Good Boy Deserves Favour by the Moody Blues and Takk by Sigur Ros.

A nice day to be on the trails - I'm glad I finally made it up to Old Speck!

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Moderate
Destination: Old Speck Mountain
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Very Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Moderate

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Sunday, September 2, 2007
Hike Commenced: 11:04 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,496'
Destination: Old Speck Mountain
Ascent Commenced: 11:05 AM
Summit Reached: 12:57 PM
Time Elapsed: 01:52
Trailhead Elevation: 1,496'
Summit Elevation: 4,180'
Distance: 3.8 miles
Vertical Gain: 2,989'
Hike Ended: 3:38 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 04:34
Hike Distance: 7.6 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 3,304'

The Old Speck Trail trailhead
The Old Speck Trail trailhead

Looking northeast from the Old Speck Mountain lookout tower at Baldplate Mountain - Click to enlarge
Looking northeast from the Old Speck Mountain lookout tower at Baldplate Mountain

Topographic map of Old Speck Mountain - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: Take US 2 East to Route 26 North into Grafton Notch. The hiker parking area is just below The Eyebrow. $2 park entrance fee payable at trailhead.

Back to Old Speck Mountain Profile

Copyright 2002-2021, All Rights Reserved.