Mahoosuc Notch by Greg Westrich

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You regularly hear that the notch is the hardest mile on the Appalachian Trail. It’s not. It may be the most unusual though. Mahoosuc Notch is a narrow cleft between Mahoosuc Arm and Fulling Mill Mountain. The floor of the notch is full of irregular boulders that have fallen from the cliffs. Most are bus to house sized.

To hike through this jumble of rock, you have to climb over, under, and through. Several gaps are narrow enough that you have to remove you pack. Climb too high off the route and you’ll find yourself standing at the edge of a nasty abyss. Get too low in the rocks and you’ll find pools of ice even in July and August.

I’ve only hiked Mahoosuc Notch once—on my Maine thru-hike with my wife. None of my photos really capture the fun of it.

The trick is to take your time and enjoy the scrambling. Try to actually hike it and it will be the hardest mile you ever hiked.

To get there from Grafton Notch, drive north on ME26 2.8 miles. Turn left onto Success Pond Road (a gravel logging road that’s closed in winter and notoriously rough when open). Drive 8.5 miles. Turn left on a spur road. In 0.5 miles, you’ll come to Notch Trailhead.

Notch Trail is a moderate 2.2 miles to the west end of Mahoosuc Notch.