Dave said, “Mt Meader Trail is the most boring trail in Evans Notch”, but when I asked him for specifics he couldn’t remember hiking it. He was wrong. In addition to magnificent Brickett Falls, there is a great swimming hole near the base of the mountain, and excellent views from the open ledges near the summit. Climbing the Mt Meader Trail is also a good alternate route to climb Eagle Crag without going up the South Baldfaces ledges on the Baldface Circle Trail which are very slippery when wet.
I suspect that the real reason that Meader is less known and less loved than the other peaks in Evans Notch is that there isn’t a parking lot for the Mt Meader trailhead on Rt 113, like its neighbors the Baldfaces, East and West Royce, or Speckled Mountain. Instead, there’s space for just a few cars at the bottom of the grassy lane that leads to the Mt Meader Trail, which is offset a short distance from the road.
I climbed Mt Meader on a hot and humid summer day in mid-July when the mercury shot up over 90 degrees and thunderstorms were forecast for later in the afternoon, a fairly common occurrence in July in the White Mountains National Forest. The Mt Meader Trail climbs 2250′ over the course of three miles from the bottom of Evans Notch to the Basin Rim Trail which overlooks the valley (notch) below.
The first 2.1 miles of the Mt Meader Trail are easy climbing along Mill Brook, with a short spur path at the 1.0 mile mark to Brickett Falls. Best hiked after a rainfall, the falls are a long series of ledge drops, pools, and water slides that culminate at the large pool pictured above. There are lots of side trails along the spur path that provide access to the pools for cooling your feet and shallow wading, although the ledges can be quite slippery and dangerous when wet, so caution should be taken to supervise children when visiting.
Reversing ones steps back to the Mt Meader Trail, the trail continues climbing gradually up to the 2.1 miles mark, where the difficultly and steepness of the ascent increase quite noticeably. By now, my hat was completely soaked with sweat and starting to drip from the brim onto my glasses. I half expected this since I’ve climbed Meader before several other directions. Steep, but definitely not boring.
My efforts were rewarded however, rather magnificently, when I popped above the trees onto Meader’s open ledges. Despite the humidity, I had an excellent view of South Baldface, a mountain known for its vast open ledges above treeline. If you ever get a chance to climb South Baldface and its neighbor North Baldface, take it! They’re one of the best above treeline hikes in the White Mountains.
While partially occluded, Meader also had great views of the north end of Evans Notch and the cliffs above Basin Pond, a man-made flood control reservoir near the New Hampshire/Maine State line. Good fishing, but it has leeches, so don’t swim there.
While I still hadn’t reached the summit, I sat down on the ledges and watched the clouds for a while, drinking some water and having a bite to eat. This year, more than previously, I’ve been stopping at scenic spots along my hikes and taking in the views, rather than rushing off at breakneck speed. Maybe I’m slowing down, or maybe I’m just appreciating what I have more. It was a short climb to the top of the trail, after which I did descend at breakneck speed, to go swimming in the Cold River on that boiling hot day.
Total Distance: 7 miles with 2250′ of elevation gain.