A Winter Road Trip
Story & Photos by Ashley Herrin
Not far from Sunday River lies Grafton Notch State Park, a beautiful landscape of waterfalls, gorges and mountain peaks. Cutting through the park is Route 26, a scenic Byway that winds along Bear River to Lake Umbagog and the New Hampshire border. The Grafton Notch Scenic Byway begins in Newry, Maine, just north of Bethel and runs through some of Grafton Notch's 3,000 acres of natural terrain. The route follows the historic path of glaciers and swiftly-flowing rivers as it winds through peaks, gorges and a stunning tree-scape.
In the winter, enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and miles of snowmobiling trails. The ITS 82, a popular trail among local snowmobilers, runs through this region from Andover and connects to New Hampshire's Trail 18.
During warmer months, the park is home to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, with popular destinations being Screw Auger Falls and Mother Walker Falls. Backcountry hikers can find expert-level jaunts and are rewarded with spectacular views away from the Byway. The park is also home to twelve of the most challenging hiking miles along the entirety of the Appalachian Trail.
A quick escape from one of the busiest ski resorts in New England, Grafton Notch State Park provides visitors with the opportunity to get off the beaten path and enjoy the unique diversity of Maine's always-stunning landscape.