Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Stratton Brook Hut, ME
Trails: Trailhead Spur Trail, Narrow Gauge Pathway, Maine Hut Trail/Newton’s Revenge, hut service road, Approach Trail, Esker Trail, Dead Moose Trail, Mountain Trail, Bear Trail, unknown road, Oak Knoll Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, February 26, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking at the Stratton Brook trailhead just SE of Bigelow Station Rd. Room for over a dozen cars I believe. There were several there at 8am but only a few when I returned at 4pm I think. It’s well plowed and easily accessible.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Trivial or has a footbridge over it.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: A split blowdown in the shape of an arc hangs over the Main Hut Trail (MHT)/Newton’s Revenge a short ways east of the trail’s jct with Oak Knoll Trail near the hut. Three blowdowns on Esker Trail. The first (if traveling east to west) is a not very de-limbed step over/through near one of the brook crossings. The next is a widow maker near another bridge crossing about 10min later that looks like it’s been there awhile. Just a couple minutes later, not long before the jct with Dead Moose Trail, come to two blowdowns across the trail that haven’t been well de-limbed. There’s a snowshoe track around them. I don’t recall any other blowdowns. The Maine Hut Trail AND other trails that intersect it at times such as Dead Moose Trail I believe, are marked with blue Maine Hut Trail diamonds. Most, at least main, trail jcts are signed bud some others are not, namely, there is no sign for Dead Moose Trail.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: I don’t think dogs are allowed on the Maine Hut Trail System.  
Bugs: None 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
Comments: A flat but long, low elevation hike to get in some Main Mtn redlines. This was a combination of all three Stratton Brook Hut hikes described in the guidebook. The first and second hikes described make a loop with each other. The third is a loop that starts and ends at the hut. Roughly, what I did was ascended to the loop the second way, made the loop starting and ending at the hut (hike 3), then descended via the first hike described. Trails were generally well marked and easy to follow.

One potential spot of confusion is Dead Moose Trail which isn’t signed but is described well at its start by the guidebook. Also, just look for MHT diamonds on it a short ways down. Another tricky spot is the 0.3mi connector between Mountain Trail and the hut service road described in the third hike between mile 5.7 and 6.0. There are TWO trails/roads that turn right off of Mountain Trail in virtually the same place. The first one is an unsigned road. The second is unnamed but has a sign that says “Hut” and an arrow pointing up the trail. I assumed this was what the guidebook wanted me to take so I did. It ended at a jct with Oak Knoll Trail just before reaching the hut service road in roughly the right spot according to the maps but it took a much more “switchbacky” course than the trail shown on the maps; it was signed as Bear Trail where it diverges from Oak Knoll Trail. So after crossing the road, ascending Oak Knoll to the summit/hut, and descending the road, I took this trail, cutting off some switchbacks, back down to Mountain Trail. This time, I took the road instead to see if it better followed the course shown on maps. It did but it came out a bit further west along the service road than the trail shown on maps. So after all that, I’m still not certain which the guidebook referred to but my guess is the second one I was on is a decommissioned trail; it had just a couple MHT diamonds in it which made me think all the others had been taken down. I also did an OAB on the portion of Mountain Trail to Approach Trail since based on the guidebook’s description, one could argue that it’s needed. Having taken care of this mess, I ascended back to Oak Knoll Trail, and descended that all the way to its end, and followed MHT back to my car.

The MHT was obviously groomed and well packed but other trails often involved very easy trail breaking. You could usually see old snowshoe prints though so these trails do seem to get some traffic in winter. Beware of skiers flying down the MHT/Newton’s Revenge. I also ran into a lot of snowshoers that had stayed at the hut the night before as well. If you like switchbacks the n you’ll love these trails. If you prefer short and steep, then you’ll hate them. Especially Oak Knoll Trail. I must say that even I, who generally prefers long and gradual approaches, thought the switchbacks were a bit ridiculous. Then again, I guess that’s so bikers can use them in summer. Gaia had me at just over 16mi with about 1600ft of gain. It took me just under 8hrs to complete.  
Name: Liam Cooney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-03-02 
Link: https:// 
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