The Roost
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:Wild River Road, Gilead
Hours:No posted hours
Fee: $3 daily pass per vehicle

White Mountain National Forest, 603-535-6100,

Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None

USGS Speckled Mountain quad; Maine Mountains Trail Map, Map 7: E13 (AMC)

Hike a half-mile in Evans Notch along a moderate trail to reach great views of the Wild River Valley and White Mountains.

Hike a half-mile in Evans Notch along a moderate trail to reach great views of the Wild River Valley and White Mountains.

Aside from the first steep 50 feet and the last 100 feet, the grade on this moderately inclined trail makes it a family favorite. There are few other trails in Maine’s western mountains where you can access such spectacular views after hiking only 0.5 mile. It’s short and moderate enough that little kids can do it. Bigger kids will like the fact that they can race to the top to access great views, especially since the trail is well established, marked with yellow blazes, and uninterrupted by spur trails or junctions. And everyone will enjoy ample blueberries or stunning fall foliage in their respective seasons.

From the trailhead, you must first contend with a short but steep set of rock stairs. Don’t fret: this is the most arduous part of the trail, and you approach it right out of the gate! Beyond the stairs, the path winds comfortably uphill through lowland forest, including a stand of handsome paper birches.

Just 0.25 mile from the trailhead, the trail crosses a trickling stream that may entice little hikers with its frogs, wiggly insects, and streamside mushrooms of all different colors. Continue up trail to the summit (0.5 miles from the trailhead), which is an exposed bald face bordered with pines, hemlocks, and spruces. A sign indicates that you’ve reached The Roost, though take note that scenic views are better farther along.

Bearing right onto a side trail from the bald face, follow the arrow shown on a Scenic View sign. The path descends a few hundred feet through the forest before it opens onto a spectacular overlook where there is plenty of room to spread out a picnic lunch, kick up your heels, and take in the scenery. The Wild River Valley spreads below while East Royce Mountain rises in the southwest and other White Mountain peaks stud the landscape to the west. Once you’ve taken in the sights (and as many blueberries as you can during the late summer months), retrace your steps to return to the trailhead.

Plan B:

The Evans Notch area of the White Mountain National Forest has a number of family-friendly hikes, including 3.2-mile East Royce Trail, 4-mile Albany Mountain Trail, and 4.6-mile Basic Trail to Rim Junction. To find out more about any of these hikes, contact the White Mountain National Forest.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Bethel offers a number of small diners, coffee shops, and markets where you can pick up provisions or sit down for an enjoyable meal.



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