Speckled Mountain (2906′) is the site of an old fire tower in Evans Notch, just inside the Caribou-Speckled Wilderness Area in the White Mountain National Forest. Hiked together with the above-treeline Blueberry Ridge Trail, they provide unsurpassed views of Mt Washington, the East, and West Royce Mountains, and the Baldfaces, from a perspective few White Mountain hikers have ever experienced.
While there are several picturesque trails that climb Speckled Mountain, the shortest is the Spruce Hill Trail, a moderate hike through the Caribou-Speckled Wilderness, the newest wilderness area in the White Mountain National Forest. Encompassing Speckled Mountain and nearby Caribou Mountain, this wilderness area is a 12,000-acre parcel of glacial-carved notches and forest-draped peaks.
Hiking up the Spruce Hill trail, it’s possible to get a glimpse of the Speckled Mountain summit from a side trail to Spruce Hill’s tiny summit (2510′). Watch out for a herd path on your left that opens to a small ledge covered by white moss. Be careful when walking over the rock here because it’s very slippery and easy to fall.
Continuing along the Spruce Brook Trail, it soon comes to a junction with the Bickford Brook Trail (passing another junction to the Blueberry Ridge Trail) which continues to Speckled’s summit, passing open birch glades in the forest and an open meadow full of berry bushes. Note that none of the trail signs in the wilderness area have mileages listed on them to promote a wilder experience.
Arriving at the summit of Speckled, you’ll see the old foundations of the fire tower that were removed in 1986. With great views in all directions, the top of Speckled Mountain is often windy and cool although it’s possible to shelter among the summit rocks.
While the views from Speckled Mountain are grand on a clear day, they get even better as you descend the Blueberry Ridge Trail, which begins about 0.5 miles below Speckled’s summit. Marked by cairns, the trail travels over two miles, mostly in the open, along Speckled’s southern spur.
Once you arrive at Blueberry Mountain, you can continue following the Blueberry Ridge Trail to the Bickford Brook Trail and Brickett Place, a historic museum (w/ trailhead parking) in Evans Notch, passing a waterfall and a scenic gorge. Another option, particularly good in hot weather, is to descend via the Stone House Trail to an ice code swimming hold called Rattlesnake Pool (there are no snakes).
Parking is available at the base of the Stone House Trail along Stone House Road and a good place to drop a car at the end of the hike.Speckled Mountain and the Blueberry Ridge Trail
Normally a day hike, a climb up Speckled Mountain and down the Blueberry Ridge Trail can be easily incorporated into a multi-day backpacking loop that visits other scenic spots in Evans Notch such as Basin Pond, and West and East Royce Mountains. (see Royce Speckled Mountain Loop Backpack)
Mileage for the trails and destinations mentioned in this article:
- Spruce Hill Trail to Bickford Brook Trail Junction (1.9 miles)
- Bickford Brook Trail to Speckled Mountain (1.2 miles)
- Speckled Mountain to Blueberry Ridge Trail Junction (0.5 miles)
- Blueberry Trail to Blueberry Mountain (2.2 miles)
- Blueberry Mountain to Brickett Place by Blueberry Ridge and Bickford Brook Trails (1.4 miles)
- Blueberry Mountain to Rattlesnake Pool via The Stone House Trail (1 mile)
For more details, see the White Mountain Guide