Trail: Wild River Trail – High Water Trail Loop
Location: White Mountain National Forest Maine/Wild River Wilderness – Evan’s Notch
GPS Track w/ Waypoints: Wild River Trail -High Water Trail Loop
Geocaches in the area: None in the immediate area
Update: 19SEP11 Wild River Campground and the road to the Campground is closed
This 6.4 mile loop trail is combination of the Wild River Trail and a small section of the High
Water Trail. Starting at Wild River Campground (WP Wild River Trailhead) the trail crosses two streams and then follows the a winding path through the woods along the Wild River. After about 2/10ths of a mile the winding trail opens up onto the old logging railroad which has been converted into the Wild River Trail. At one area of the trail in the past there was a landslide that covered the original railbed. In this area (WP Trail Narrows) the path is quite narrow. This is one area that one needs to keep an eye on the little ones in this section because of the steep decline on one side of the trail that ends at the Wild River. Between the trail intersection for the suspension bridge that leads to Moriah Brook Trail (WP Bridge Intersection) and WP Trail Narrow there is a clearing that use to be an old homestead that is full of raspberries plants. Due to this a majority of the trail is wide open and has very easy elevation changes. The only water crossing (WP Stream Crossing) is a shallow stream that offers an easy ford during the summer and fall, during the spring melt the crossing could be a little dangerous.
After passing WP Stream Crossing the path will start to slowly raise in elevation, when the majority of the trees start to turn to mostly conifers the trail is getting close to WP Old
Crossing and WP River Crossing / Trail Intersection. WP Old Crossing marks the location of an old spider bridge. The spider bridge washed out a few years ago and there are no plans to replace the bridge. This location is not an very good place to attempt a fording. WP River Crossing / Trail Intersection has multiple sites that make for decent crossing upstream there even a few locations that a hiker could even wade across. After crossing the Wild River the trail intersects with High Water Trail and Black Angel Trail (WP High Water Trail / Black Angel) the High Water Trail continues upstream and downstream along the river. Following the High Water Trail downstream the trail will head back to the trailhead.
This section of the High Water Trail has not been maintained as well the Wild River Trail. The blazes have not been updated in a while and there are a few wind falls that haven’t been cleared off of the trail. During the fall if there hasn’t been a lot of traffic on the trail it can be hard to follow especially in the beech groves where deep leaf cover can hide the trail. If hiking with small kids you might want to return to the trail head via Wild River Trail instead of High Water Trail. There are a few areas with steep terrain and muddy sections that might be tricky with smaller kids that are not in a kid carrier.
At WP Ravine Crossing the trail descends sharply to a stream crossing. The trail has a few narrow switch backs where foot placement should be considered carefully especially if the sidekick is enjoying the scenery and shifting his weight. After the stream crossing the trail immediately heads back up onto the hillside and follows the side of the incline. Once reaching WP Ridgeline extra care should be taken especially if the sidekicks are following along on the trail. The path follows the ridgeline between the WP Ridgeline and WP Moriah Brook Crossing one side of the path has an abrupt descent to the river below that one needs to maintain awareness of.
After reaching WP HWT / MBT Crossing the trail terrain difficulty reduces and opens up a little. The trail will follow the river for most of the remain duration of this section of the High Water Trail. At WP Trail Intersection with Bridge the High Water Trail continues downstream and a side trail branches off to cross the Wild River at the suspension bridge and meets back up with Wild River Trail. The rest of the trail follows the Wild River Trail back to the Wild River Campground and the trailhead.
There were moose and deer tracks along with droppings all along the trail. Some of them were quite fresh. I was hoping that we would spot one but the sidekick decided he was going to spend most of the hike chattering at the birds. He has become a big fan of downhill descents because he gets a extra bouncy ride.