Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mad River Falls, Unnamed Waterfalls, ME
Trails: Royce Trail, bushwhacks
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Friday, October 28, 2022
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: The fee station is sealed up for the season, a pleasant surprise! There was a sign indicating a bridge north of Brickett Place on 113 is closed from October 20 - May 25. I was the only car in the parking lot. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Soooo many crossings. The 1st and 2nd crossing of the Cold River were not hopable, so I bushwhacked along the river until I found hopable spots (took a while). On the return I didn't even bother with these crossings and just bushwhacked between the road and river back to the trailhead. The rest of the crossings below Mad River Falls were rock hopable. The rest of the bushwhacking I was able to cross without much trouble. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: A couple step overs, no big deal. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: My pup got a little wet on the aforementioned 2nd crossing. Glad a brought a towel! 
Bugs: Nothing 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: A deflated happy birthday balloon 
Comments: Set out for a bushwhacking adventure to explore the streams and waterfalls around Mad River Falls. Made my way up the Royce Trail, which was slower than expected due to needing to whack along the river in multiple places due to high-ish water levels. Good news was that water flow made for fantastic waterfalls! Whacked over the to entrance of the gorge below Mad River Falls, but was unable to proceed up the gorge floor. Climbed the gorge wall and ended up at the spur trail overlook, but was able to climb down to the base of the main falls. The thick layer or beech leaves made for slippery going, but was able to keep moving. Got back on the Royce trail to get above the main falls, then dropped back into the gorge to see the next falls, which were quite impressive as well. Kept on whacking up the gorge following the river and found a whole chain of nice falls all the way to the confluence of the Mad River and Middle Branch. Got back on the Royce Trail and continued a short ways to find another set of waterfalls within sight of the trail. Kept going higher and came to a sudden step section of trail. This was my planned high point, and I whacked over to the stream and found a really neat and tall waterfall there. Went a little higher on the trail to see the top of this feature and found a really wonderful falls and rock slab to eat lunch on. Headed back down to the confluence with Middle Branch, then followed it a little ways. Ended up in a gorge with a very striking waterfall. That one was really sweet. Got both my feet wet returning to the trail as I stepped in a pool covered by leaves. Glad I had the towel and a change of socks. Went down the trail to the bottom of the steep section, then found a place to cross the Mad River and made my way to South Branch. This is a really unique area. The side of the mountain here is a steep talus slope, but with a deep and long gorge carved out of it. The stream cascades steeply through the gorge at a sustained 45 degree angle, but there was a waterfall visible up above through the trees... my final target of the day. The climb up was steep and complicated by loose rock and cliffy gorge walls below, but manageable. I pulled even with the base of the waterfall and it was impressive, but trees prevented a clean photo. At this point, my pup decided she was done with all this climbing and heights, so we went down instead of looking for a better view, although I doubt you could find a way around the trees. There did appear to be a way to scramble to the base of this waterfall, but I wasn't prepare to attempt something like that alone. Retraced my steps back to the Royce Trail and followed it until I got to the 2nd crossing, said screw that, then bushwhacked almost all the way back to Brickett Place. I dunked my feet for a 2nd time in a leaf covered pool. Glad I had sandals waiting in the car! (I was really well prepared today.) In the end, I visited 15 distinct waterfalls in under 6 miles, didn't see another human, and generally had a great time! This is not an adventure for the faint of heart. Lots of steep bushwhacking and river crossings. Please do not attempt this if you don't know what you are doing out there, let somebody know exactly what you're attempting, and bring a friend to help if you break a leg. Seriously, this area is rugged, seldom visited, and has no cellphone service. I only attempted this alone because I have a lot of experience and had scouted the area on a previous trip.  
Name: The Grim Creeper 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2022-10-28 
Link: https:// 
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