Another Evans Notch favorite which involves a loop hike of Blueberry Mountain and Speckled Mountain in the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness Area. Yet another excellent alternative to the crowded hikes in Crawford, Pinkham and Franconia Notches. 
Speckled Mountain hike looking towards Evans Notch
At this point it must seem as if I have something to financially gain by all this promotion of Evans Notch; this will be my 5th post on the area? I think I'll continue talking about Evans Notch to anyone who will listen. Such a pleasant place...

Speckled Mountain, the namesake of the wilderness area, is another somewhat low summit but with a significant alpine feeling and great views. The entire hike is nice too- there's waterfalls, cascades, blueberries, an exposed ridgeline and a good summit; what else do you need? This 8.6 mile loop is moderately strenuous but worth the trip. Here's the map:

The hike begins at the Brickett Place Parking Lot just across the Maine/New Hampshire Border on Rt 113. It is accessible in the winter, unlike anything else north of this location on Route 113. Starting elevation is roughly 600' and it ascends to Speckled Mountain at an elevation of 2,906'. It makes for a good day long hike or for some hikers about a 1/2 day. 

The trail gently ascends 0.7 miles to the turnoff for the Bickford Brook Trail which heads north and the Blueberry Ridge Trail which heads east. We elected to hike the Blueberry Ridge Trail up and Bickford Brook Trail down. From this turnoff, the trail winds by the bickford slides which are a great opportunity for photos:
The Bickford Slides
Nice cascades on the trail up Blueberry mountain
Moving past the slides, the trail begins a somewhat steep ascent of Blueberry Mountain in about 0.8 miles. There are several open slides and ledges which offer views of the Baldface Range to the West. Blueberry Mountain in itself is a good resting spot but it isn't really a mountain as much as it is an exposed part of the Speckled Mountain ridgeline. Continuing on, the Blueberry ridge trail goes down and then up to the Speckled Mountain turnoff in 2.2 miles. There are views along the entire ridgeline and abundant signs of owls and moose. The ridgeline was the most enjoyable part of the hike.

At the end of the ridgeline, the trail turns eastwards to make the final 0.5 mile to the summit of Speckled Mountain. There used to be a fire tower here but it was removed a long time ago. Nevertheless, there is an adequate clearing with views to the North.
Blueberry Ridge Trail, Speckled Mountain Wilderness
Directional views from the summit of Speckled Mountain
View of Evans Notch from near the summit. Baldfaces are on the left
Hiking down from the summit involved going back on the 0.5 mile connector trail and then continuing west past the turnoff for Blueberry Ridge. The trail stays on the ridgeline for 0.7 miles before coming to another fork. Heading south on this fork (left), takes you down the Bickford Brook Trail for 2.4 miles. The trail heads down the mountain at a somewhat steep rate but it parallels the Bickford Slides towards the bottom. After this, it meets the turnoff for the Blueberry ridge trail again before covering the final 0.7 miles to the parking lot. 

Overall, its a great loop hike which is not as difficult as the Baldface Loop but is just as interesting. As I've said many times, its the perfect place for an uncrowded summer hike in the White Mountains!

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