Mt. Crag

Mt. Crag

Estimated Time: 2-3 hrs roundtrip

Distance: 2.2 – 2.8 miles roundtrip

Level: Moderate

Directions to the Trailhead

Mt. Crag in Shelburne has one of the greatest rewards for effort ratios in the area. This relatively short loop not only follows a lovely trail through picturesque forest, it also leads to a fantastic rocky summit with great views of the Androscoggin Valley and the Northern Presidentials! The mountain can be hiked either in a loop (requiring a bit of road walking) or for a shorter option simply go out and back. For either option, begin on the eastern side by parking at the Austin Brook Trailhead.

The Austin Brook Trailhead is located on North Rd. in Shelburne (parking is across the st.) and is easily recognizable by the white fence and turnstile gate (yes, it has a turnstile!). The trail begins by following an old logging road that runs along the Austin Mill Brook. After 0.4 miles you will reach a 4-way junction. Turn left and take the Yellow Trail towards Mt. Crag. Shortly after the junction you will reach a group of giant boulders on the left that provide an excellent opportunity for poking around in small caves!

After the boulders the Yellow Trail begins to climb uphill through a deciduous forest. It switchbacks a couple of times before leveling off and emerging on the open summit of Mt. Crag. From the summit you can either reverse directions and head back the way you came, or continue on the Yellow Trail west towards the Gates Brook Trail. This side of the mountain is a bit steeper but is a nice contrast as it is largely a coniferous forest for most of the descent. It can be a bit more challenging, however, especially in wet weather.

After a short but steep downhill, you will reach the junction with the Gates Brook Trail, which continues to the right up towards Middle Mountain. To finish the Mt. Crag loop, turn left and follow the wide trail down to the road. After 0.5 miles, you will return to North Rd. and can walk along the pavement back towards the parking.

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Note: For added excitement, take a short detour to the Cable Car found on the Yellow Trail. It can be reached by turning right instead of left at the junction of the Yellow Trail and the Austin Brook Trail.

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Rattle River

The following write-up is for the Rattle River Trail in to the Rattle River Shelter. It does not cover the trail beyond the shelter.

Estimated Time: 2-3 hrs roundtrip

Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip

Level: Easy

Directions to the Trailhead

The hike into the Rattle River Shelter makes for a lovely stroll in the woods. With only 500 ft of elevation gain between the trailhead and the shelter, the trail is very gradual. The trail also almost always stays near enough to hear and sometimes see the river, which makes it quite peaceful. It is a relatively easy trail to follow (when hiking into the shelter you are hiking south along the Appalachian Trail) with white blazes predominately marking the trees.

The shelter makes a great destination for a lunch, or on hot summer days, a swim in the nearby hole appropriately dubbed “Bigfoot’s Bathtub”. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can pack a tent and proper overnight equipment and spend the night at the shelter. There is an outhouse there as well.

Giant Falls

Giant Falls

Estimated Time: 2-3 hours round-trip

Distance: 2.4 miles round-trip

Level: Moderate

Directions to the Trailhead

Giant Falls makes for a great half day hike on the seldom used Peabody Brook Trail. The trailhead is located on North Road in Shelburne about 1 mile down the road. Look for the white sign on the left and park on the dirt shoulder opposite. Be sure to not block anyone’s driveway when parking.

The beginning of the Peabody Brook Trail follows a wide flat path. Two or three times other paths branch off, but the white “Trail” signs are fairly obvious and easy to follow. Here the trail closely follows and once crosses the Peabody Brook, a very lovely stream and picturesque stream. About halfway to the falls an overgrown trail to Middle Mountain branches right and the Peabody Brook Trail continues straight ahead. Here the trail gets narrower and then soon climbs moderately with a large cliff on the right side and a steep slope down to the left.

Shortly after the top of the cliff the spur trail to Giant Falls leaves the Peabody Brook Trail on the left and descends slowly for approximately two-tenths of a mile until it rejoins Peabody Brook just before the base of Giant Falls. The entire waterfall is 350 ft tall, but only the bottom 110 ft are visible from the trail. Nevertheless, the view is remarkable and in the spring time would be quite the spectacle!

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