|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Red Rock Mountain, Butters Mountain, ME|
||Miles Notch Trail, Red Rock Trail, Great Brook Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, October 24, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Room for 4 or 5 cars at the Miles Notch trailhead on Hut Road. The Great Brook trailhead is now located 0.8 miles up the road from it - room for another 4 or 5 there. Hut Road is in good condition and any vehicle can drive it. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Leaves - Significant/Slippery |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||All easy rock hops. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Some blowdowns on Red Rock Trail, none of which hid the trail. A few mudpits here and there, but overall the trails were fairly dry. All signs were in place, however the sign at the junction of Red Rock and Great Brook trails is old, somewhat damaged, and could be remade. |
||I guess. Keep them with you though - it would be easy for them to stray from the trail. |
|Lost and Found:
||This is a strenuous hike but very rewarding for experienced hikers. We started up Miles Notch Trail - a mostly moderate climb up to the top of the ridge and descent down the other side. The climb up to Miles Notch started out easy but then became mostly moderate to the top of the notch. The trail was largely covered by fallen leaves, which made the footing trickier, but the trail is well blazed in yellow up to the Wilderness boundary, and from there to the junction with Red Rock Trail it wasn't difficult to follow.|
Red Rock Trail is completely unblazed, and the portions that are covered in fallen leaves (which is much of the trail) took significant care to follow in places. We never lost the trail, though, and we could always see where it continued if we looked carefully. It's quite a scenic trail - plenty of ups and downs, but none of them are too long and there's not much in the way of difficult ledges. The view from the top of the Red Rock cliff is spectacular, and the side paths in that area are just as the WMG describes. A couple of muddy areas, but overall the trail was pretty dry. Several viewpoints to the north, where Caribou Mountain is visible, and to the west and southwest, where we could see Durgin and Speckled Mountains. The junction with Great Brook Trail is located just past an area where the trail is somewhat obscure - it generally stays on contour in this area, and doesn't ascend the hill to the right (if traveling westbound).
Another hiker we saw mentioned that Great Brook Trail is heavily covered in fallen leaves, and he wasn't exaggerating. The fallen leaves made the steep sections quite dicey at times, but we took it slow and were fine. They also make it somewhat difficult to follow the trail - again, we could see where it went if we looked carefully, but it wasn't obvious. Once you cross Great Brook, you've done most of the descending, and the lower part of the trail was mostly an easy walk on old roads. Just read the trail description and bring your map so that you know which way to turn at the forks. Don't always trust your GPS - one of our GPSs tried to claim that we were already on Hut Road when we were clearly still on the trail. The 30th edition of the WMG says that the Great Brook trailhead will be relocated 0.8 miles further up Hut Road - well, that has happened, and there's now a 0.8-mile road walk between the Great Brook and Miles Notch trailheads. However, the sign at the new Great Brook trailhead still says that it's 3.7 miles to Red Rock Trail when it should now be 2.9 miles due to the moving of the trailhead.
Other trail reports for these trails say that this is not a hike for novices, particularly in the fall with the fallen leaves, and I agree. It would be easy to stray from the trail and get lost, and these trails are really in the middle of nowhere so the distance to a road is quite considerable. Plus, there are a good number of cliffs and very steep slopes. However, for experienced hikers who are skilled at following unmarked, obscure trails, this hike has a lot of rewards. One of those rewards is a dearth of people - we saw only two other people (one of whom joined us for the rest of the hike - Donna, it was great to hike with you!). And 10.3 new miles of redlining is nothing to sneeze at.
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.