Trail: Blueberry Ridge – Bickford Brook Trail
Location: White Mountain National Forest Maine/Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness – Evans Notch
GPS Track w/ Waypoints: Blueberry Ridge – Bickford Brook Trail
Geocaches in the area: GC142RB, GC1XFXK, GC13WKF
The Blueberry Ridge/Bickford Brook Trail is an interesting trail. If you are not prepared for this 7.8 mile loop hike it may catch you off guard. Depending on the direction that you take at WP Trail Divide it can be a gradual climb or a steep climb. At WP Trail Divide I headed down the Blueberry Ridge Trail, almost immediately the trail heads down hill towards Bickford Brook. The brook crossing (WP Bickford Brook Crossing) is an easy fording location. There is a small trail system called the Bickford Slides Loop at the brook crossing that will head upstream. There are some great slides in the brook system just be careful of the 50ft falls just down stream of the brook crossing.
After crossing the brook the trail immediately starts heading up. In less then 7/10ths of a mile the trail gains close to 950ft of elevation. The trail is very well maintained for the most part with stones setup as steps there are a few steep rock faces that can be slick when wet or icy. As you climb this section make sure that you take time to look over your shoulder and watch the view gradually fold out behind you. Just before reaching the first peak (Blueberry Mtn) on this loop there is another trail intersection (WP Trail Intersection) with the White Cairn Trail. After passing this intersection there is an other intersection that has a small loop off of the main trail. Called Lookout Loop it adds about .2 miles to the total hike but has a ridge that offers a great view of the valley.
Once the loop returns to the Blueberry Ridge Trail starts to head up hill again following the crest of the ridge towards Ames Mtn There are plenty of areas to take a lunch break or just enjoy the view. Along the trail we saw plenty of animal signs, especially moose and deer tracks. For plants you will see plenty of evidence of how this trail got its name. Thousands of blueberry bushes all along the trail are interspersed with Lady Slippers both pink and white.
When the Blueberry Ridge Trail meets up with the Bickford Brook Trail again (WP Trail Intersection) the form of the trail changes. Most of Bickford Brook Trail is an old access road for the Fire Tower that use to be on Speckled Mountain. For the majority of the rest of the hike the trail will be a gradual descent over the next 3.8 miles as you head back to the Brickett Place. As you head back there will be another intersection (WP TrailIntersection) where Spruce Hill Trail meets Bickford Brook Trail. For the duration of this section (between WP Intersection and WP TrailIntersection) the trail is gradual decline. Because it follows the old road bed when the terrain begins to get steep it will usually continue on in a series of switch backs. Because of these switch backs there are a few creek crossings that can be a bit interesting if hiking with smaller children or during times of high water.
Summary – This loop hike is best suited for grade school or older kids unless there is a child carrier along and an adult in shape to be able to handle the steeper sections of the Blueberry Ridge section of the loop. If you hike in clockwise direction the difficulty of the trail goes down due that fact that elevation incline is spread over a couple of miles with switch backs easing the passage. Once reaching Ames Mtn the majority of the trail will be a steady decline with only the very steep decline of Blueberry Ridge Trail after passing Blueberry Mtn. The trail head at Brickett Place has a restroom and once the the renovations on the building are complete there will be a visitor center in the old Brickett Building. There is a hand pump across the road at the Cold River Campground for fresh water.