The White Mountains on the Maine side are the lesser known and less traveled hikes of the White Mountain National Forest. However, if it’s a quality hike without the crowds, this gem is your ticket. Located in the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness, Caribou offers a 2840 ft elevation with an open summit allowing you an unobstructed 360 degree view.
To get there, enter Evans Notch on RT 113 from the South. There are many hikes along this road, some marked better than others. Caribou is located approximately 5.8 miles from the Maine Border entering the White Mountain National Forest. From the North from the Junction of Rt 2 head South 4.7 miles. The directions in Best Loop Hikes by Jeff Romano (affiliate link) are highly recommended.
The Caribou-Speckled Wilderness includes 14,000 acres of wilderness area with 25 miles of maintained hiking trails within the White MountainNational Forest.
This trail is a loop, so you can start in either direction. If you choose to climb up the steeper trail and take the more gradual trail down, then choose the Mud Brook Trail at the trail head. The trail is easy to follow and begins under the cover of many deciduious trees. As you climb the Mud Brook Trail you will cross over the stream 3 times before reaching the boundary with the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness. Once you cross the boundary you have one last stream crossing. There is a viewpoint at approximately 2.75 miles up that is worth the stop now that you are above tree level. The last .5 miles becomes steeper and rockier. The summit affords a 360 degree view and is expansive. In the Fall the foliage across the mountains and the view of Kezar Lake is very colorful.
The trail continues over the back side to a left on to the Caribou Trail. The decent is more gradual than the ascent and slightly longer at 3.6 miles. In the beginning the trail is fairly wide and rocky. The middle section follows Morrison Brook and offers a slimmer trail but lovely views including a waterfall. At the bottom the trail crosses Morrison Brook via a bridge and you will arrive at the parking lot.
Notes: It is important to note that you do need to obtain a pass or pay at the trail head. When we were there 10/08 the bridge across Morrison Brook was not there so we had to cross by walking through the brook. The view is truly spectacular and the day we were there we arrived just after 8am and the first people we saw were 2 couples at the summit. As we descended we passed a few more groups of people and there was a tent pitched at the trail head.
- Best Loop Hikes by Jeff Romano (affiliate link)
- White Mountain National Forest
- Evans Notch Scenic Byway