|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Red Rock Mountain, Butters Mountain, ME|
||Miles Notch Trail, Red Rock Trail, Great Brook Trail, Hut Road|
|Date of Hike:
||Tuesday, November 10, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I accessed the northern end of the Miles Notch trail using Guide directions. Grover Hill is paved for about one mile then turns into a good gravel road. This 2 miles of road from Flat Rd in Bethel is passable by any vehicle. All non-four wheel or all wheel drive and low clearance vehicles should park in a nice area to the right here (just before the road pitches steeply up). It is a wicked short walk to the trailhead from this area. If you elect to continue to drive the trailhead, be warned. Of note, there is a “rough” section 30 feet from the parking area off Tyler Rd (Grover Hill turns into Tyler Rd). So, here’s the definition of rough: this is a washed out section running perpendicular to the road, about 8 feet long and 1.5 to 2 feet deep. It contains tire-sucking soft sand and bottom scraping ruts. I made it in an SUV, but I had to put it in four wheel drive (4WD) for this small bit. One tire got lodged in the sand in two wheel drive (2WD) and I spun out. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Leaves - Significant/Slippery |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Miles Brook, Shirley Brook, and Red Rock Brooks are all rock hoppable. Got some amazing tasting water (filtered) from Shirley Brook. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||There are several blowdowns on the section of trail between Red Rock Mtn and Butters Mtn on the Red Rock Trail. Yellow blazing on the northern section of Miles Notch is very faded. The Haystack Notch trail sign is missing from the post at the junction of Miles Notch trail and Haystack Notch trail. The Great Brook Trail sign at the junction of Red Rock and Great Brook trails is damaged. The little arrow signs on Miles Notch are up and intact. The “trail” and arrow signs on Great Brook Trail are all up and legible. |
||Good trail for dogs. Red Rock Trail is dry. |
||Buggas just won’t leave me be! A couple of biters on this “hot” November day down low near the water. |
|Lost and Found:
Miles Notch (northern trailhead) > Red Rock Trail > Great Brook Trail > Hut Rd road walk > Miles Notch trail (southern trailhead) > end at the northern trailhead.
This lollipop route is approximately 15 miles going over Red Rock and Butters mountains in the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness.
Miles Notch (northern trailhead): minimally blazed in yellow. You follow a snowmobile trail then will see an arrow and metal pole with pink flagging tape indicating to turn right and head into the woods. I was able to follow this section with concentration and attention to detail. There is much leaf litter obscuring the trail.
Red Rock Trail: not blazed. Man did I get confused in the flat part after the Red Rock summit where a mysterious old woods crosses the trail. Thankfully there were some carins. I spent about 20 minutes building these up bigger. Gaia was on point, I just couldn’t see the trail for all the leaf litter. Then I had to really focus on finding the trail after Butters summit, around the shoulder through the open woods. It is really hard to make out the corridor right now in this part.
Great Brook: this trail has so much leaf litter that I had to slow down. I kept slipping and falling into camouflaged holes. There was one faded yellow blaze shortly after the junction with Red Rock then I don’t recall any blazes after that until after I left the Wilderness. There are some small carins throughout the upper section which I was most grateful for. The leaves were up to my shins... Infrequent faded blazing intermittently appears after the Wilderness boundary. I was able to figure out to follow the wide woods road down to Hut Rd without too much issue. There were helpful signs up that said “trail” and had an arrow for turns off this wide road.
Hut Road: this is a nice gravel road that I followed to the trailhead for the southern end of Miles Notch trail.
Miles Notch trail (southern end): This trail was really well blazed in yellow all the way to the Wilderness boundary. Thank goodness! The leaves totally obscured the trail otherwise. But, dude, the ascent on this trail kicked my butt. I climbed and climbed and climbed until I got to the cliffs of Miles Knob. I was totally out of steam by the time I got to the topic the notch.
I discourage novices from these trails in spring and after the leaves fall. The footbed is not well travelled, nor are these marked very well. Persons accustomed to walking in the Forest, or used to how Maine trails work, will be fine. I did consult Gaia to make sure I had chosen the right path. It seemed on point for the duration of the hike.
I saw no one else today. Ah... such a nice solo venture into the Maine woods!
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.