Grafton Notch State Park

Western Maine

Sitting astride the Grafton Notch Scenic Byway within the Mahoosuc Range, this rugged park is a stunner. Carved by a glacier that retreated 12,000 years ago, the Notch is a four-season playground, chock-full of waterfalls, gorges, lofty viewpoints and hiking trails, including over 20 miles of the Appalachian Trail (

Peregrine falcons build nests in the cliffs, helping the park earn its spot on the Maine Birding Trail (; the best viewing is May to October.

Cross-country skiers and snowshoers enjoy the park in winter. If you're short on time, simply wander the path beside Screw Auger Falls, at the main parking lot. This 23ft waterfall crashes dramatically through a narrow gorge. If you have more time, try the 2.5-mile round-trip hike up to Table Rock overlook or the 2.2-mile Eyebrow Loop Trail. There's also the all-day Old Speck Trail, a 7.6-mile round-trip hike that takes you up to an observation tower with magnificent views over the Notch.

There are excellent picnicking opportunities within the park; the Spruce Meadow picnic area is signed off ME 26. There are no campgrounds, however. The park is located around 17 miles northwest of Bethel.

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