Baldpate Mountain and Table Rock

Mountains:  Baldpate Mtn. West Peak (3662'), Table Rock (2300')
Trails:  Table Rock Trail, Appalachian Trail
Region:  ME - Central Northwest  
Grafton Notch State Park
Location:  North Newry, ME
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Summit, views, slab caves
Distance:  6.4 miles  
Elevation Gain:  Approximately 2300 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 5:09   Typical: 4:30  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 7:00  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  08/31/2002 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  01/20/2008  
Weather:  About 65 degrees, sunny, no clouds but hazy
Author:  Webmaster
Companion:  Tom S.

Gray Jay on West Peak (photo by Webmaster) Route Summary   

  • The take-off point is from the parking area in Grafton Notch State Park, on the east side of Rt. 26.
  • Start on the Appalachian Trail (AT) following the white blazes just long enough to cross the street and reach the beginning of Table Rock Trail (0.1 mile).
  • Turn right onto the orange-blazed Table Rock Trail and follow it up to Table Rock.
  • Continue along Table Rock Trail, now blazed in blue, until it ends at its upper junction with the AT.
  • Turn right onto the white-blazed AT and follow it up to the west peak of Baldpate Mountain.
  • Descend directly via the AT, all the way back to the parking area.

Place         Split
Parking area (1500') 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
Table Rock (2300') 1.0 1.0 1:00 1:00
Upper jct. Table Rock Trail/Appalchian Trail 0.5 1.5 0:15 1:15
Baldpate Mtn. - West Peak summit (3662') 2.0 3.5 1:55 3:10
Upper jct. Table Rock Trail/Appalchian Trail 2.0 5.5 1:33 4:43
Parking area (1500') 0.9 6.4 0:26 5:09



Map of hike route to Table Rock and West Peak of Baldpate Mountain (map by Webmaster)

Trail Guide   

The trailhead starts from the bottom, right hand corner of the parking lot (when looking at the lot from the road). Almost immediately, it crosses the street and traverses over several nice boardwalks (although the ground beneath wasn't even wet at the time we hiked it).

Tom and slab cave (photo by Webmaster) After 0.1 mile, Table Rock Trail begins. We took a right to get onto Table Rock Trail. It starts out as an easy walk then shortly becomes quite steep. There were lots of rock staircases and a few well placed iron rungs make the climbing easier. The trail skirts the mountain side with wonderful views to the facing ledges - provides a good excuse to take a rest from the steep climb.

We passed by many interesting rocks along the trail that had shiny black areas embedded in them... sometimes in little plates that resembled mica and other times in thinner odd-shaped veins.

A bit beneath Table Rock, the trail skirts by several slab caves. Take the time to climb in and explore. They are narrow but very tall and neat. I'm guessing one of them is about 20 feet deep and 40 feet high with "skylights" letting in some light from the top.

After a mile, our efforts were rewarded by the open ledges of Table Rock. There were several people at the summit. I went right to the edge to check out the 900-foot steep drop-off. From the ledges, I could see the highway, the nearby rock faces, and the surrounding mountains, including Old Speck which is the third highest mountain in Maine.

After taking a snack break, we continued along Table Rock Trail. It started off with a short, steep descent, but most of the half mile to the end of this trail was pretty easy. For people wanting to get to Table Rock without so much steepness, going up the Appalachian Trail (AT) first then taking this upper trail junction to Table Rock would be a pretty easy route.

The junction with the AT marks the end of Table Rock Trail. We took a right and followed the AT up to West Peak of Baldpate Mountain. Most of this trail was fairly mellow except for a steep section shortly before West Peak's summit.

At the summit there were good views to the northwest and towards East Peak. Lots of pretty water views. We couldn't see in other directions due to the summit being mostly covered by scrub. The open areas mostly face East Peak. Conifers, mountain cranberry, blueberry bushes, lichens, and other summit-loving plants were all plentiful. There were only a few other people at the summit but none of them stayed for long - either heading to, or returning from East Peak.

View of East Peak from West Peak (photo by Webmaster)

The highlight of our day was seeing a pair of Gray Jays (a.k.a. Canadian Jays) on the summit. I've only had the privilege of seeing these birds once before. They are beautiful, about the size of a robin with a gray back and a lighter belly and jet-black claws, beak, and eyes. I fed them a mixture of walnuts, almonds, and spelt flakes. They didn't care for the cereal at all but loved the nuts. It was amusing to watch them grab a big walnut in their delicate beaks. They ate from my hand and one even bit my finger in protest when I held my hand up from the ground in an effort to get him to perch on my hand. I felt honored to be bitten by a Gray Jay - it was such a treat to see them up close.
Gray Jay on West Peak (photo by webmaster)


ME - Central Northwest

  Driving Directions   

The trailhead is located in North Newry, Maine within Grafton Notch State Park.

  • Get on Rt. 26 North in Maine.
  • The parking area is in Grafton Notch State Park, along Rt. 26, on the east side (left hand turn when heading north).
  • The entrance is approximately a dozen miles north of Newry, which is at the northern junction of Rt. 2 and Rt. 26.

Mountain cranberry on West Peak (photo by Webmaster)

  Tom inside narrow slab cave (photo by webmaster)


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