A couple of weeks ago we hiked up East Royce Mountain in Evans Notch, Maine and we may have found a new favorite mountain! It was a relatively short but steep hike, ascending through two distinct forest types while following water just about the entire way. The climb culminated with wonderful 360 views on two summits.
Here are the stats on this hike: 4.8 miles round trip (including our side rambles), a gain of over 2,000 feet in elevation, ample parking on Route 113 in Evans Notch approximately 1 mile north of the height of land (this road closes in the winter).
We stopped at the gas station in Gorham and stocked up on Chex Mix and Combos to bring for lunch, but we both downed a Naked fruit smoothie before hitting the trail. Surprisingly for this less frequented trail, there were a few other cars in the parking lot.
The trail begins on an immediate incline with brooks and lovely waterfalls along the way. A couple with a little fido dog passed us on their way down and warned us of another couple “big dogs” behind them. We took our time, trying to spy into the woods for other waterfalls. With the leaves off the trees, it is easy to see far into the wood, but still difficult to get a good picture. While checking out one view of a waterfall, a golden retriever and black lab bounded toward us with their owners not too far behind. We’re not the get up early and go hiking types, and we reap the reward of having the trails to ourselves when we start our hikes later in the morning or afternoon.
After crossing several brooks, the forest abruptly changed from open hardwoods to dense softwoods. The air grew colder and icicles clung to the rocky ledges. We soon came to the Royce Connector Trail junction, but stayed on the East Royce Trail to the summits.
The weather forecast warned us of snow/rain showers, but when we reached the first summit the clouds held off and the sun shined brightly, although the winds were strong. Before stopping for a snack we wandered around looking for the unmarked north summit trail.
After resting out of the winds to eat the chex mix, we followed the unmarked trail to the north summit. The north summit has awesome views to the north and east and is definitely worth the extra trip.
We headed back down off East Royce Mountain and before we knew it we were back down in the open hardwood forest. It was getting late and the light was quickly changing. We stopped at a wide part in the trail next to the brook and hung out for a while.
We were enjoying a snack when we both heard a noise behind us. We both turned to look and saw a dog just 4 feet away! All three of us startled a bit, and the dog and three guys walked on down the trail. After a few more minutes we headed down ourselves, but got side tracked just off the trail. A boulder enticed us to see the loud water sound we could hear on the otherside. As the light faded we found a beautiful hidden waterfall!