East Royce and West Royce Mountains

Mountains:  East Royce Mtn. (3114'), West Royce Mtn. (3210')
Trails:  East Royce Trail, Royce Connector Trail, Royce Trail
Region:  ME - Central Southwest  
White Mountain National Forest, Baldface Range
Location:  Batchelders Grant, ME
Rating:  Difficult  
Features:  Summits, views, ledges
Distance:  6.2 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1790 feet (high point minus low point)  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  07/28/2007 (Saturday)  
Weather:  Humid
Author:  Faye Doria
Companion:  Eight SDHers and two dogs

Route Summary   

Tree (photo by Mark Malnati)
  • Start on the East Royce Trail from Route 113 in Evans Notch.
  • After 1.0 mile on East Royce Trail, turn right at the junction with Royce Connector Trail in order to stay on East Royce Trail.
  • You will reach the summit of East Royce Mountain 0.5 mile later.
  • Backtrack 0.5 mile to return to the junction with Royce Connector Trail and turn right.
  • Follow Royce Connector Trail for 0.2 mile to its end.
  • Then keep going straight on what is now Royce Trail (ignore the left-hand turn that is also Royce Trail).
  • After 0.7 mile you will reach a junction with Burnt Mill Brook Trail. Turn sharp left here to stay on Royce Trail.
  • After another 0.7 mile you will reach the summit of West Royce Mountain.
  • Backtrack 0.7, turning right when reaching the junction with Burnt Mill Brook Trail in order to stay on Royce Trail.
  • After 0.7 you will reach the junction with Royce Connector Trail. Stay straight here, ignoring the right-hand turn that would keep you on Royce Trail.
  • After 0.2 mile, you will bump into East Royce Trail. Bear to the right here to get on East Royce Trail (ignore the left turn which is also East Royce Trail but would lead you back up to the summit).
  • Follow East Royce Trail for 1.0 mile to return to the parking area.
  • The hike should take about 5-6 hours.

Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
East Royce Trailhead (1420') 0.0 0.0
Jct. East Royce Trail/Royce Connector Trail 1.0 1.0
East Royce summit (3114') 0.5 1.5
Jct. East Royce Trail/Royce Connector Trail 0.5 2.0
Jct. Royce Connector Trail/Royce Trail (2650') 0.2 2.2
Jct. Royce Trail/Burnt Mill Brook Trail (2600') 0.7 2.9
West Royce summit (3210') 0.7 3.6
Jct. Royce Trail/Burnt Mill Brook Trail (2600') 0.7 4.3
Jct. Royce Connector Trail/Royce Trail (2650') 0.7 5.0
Jct. East Royce Trail/Royce Connector Trail 0.2 5.2
East Royce Trailhead (1420') 1.0 6.2

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Moose print (photo by Mark Malnati)
 




 

Map of hike route on East Royce and West Royce Mountains (map by Webmaster)


Trail Guide   

West Royce Mountain seen from East Royce Mountain (photo by Mark Malnati) On Saturday, July 28th we climbed East and West Royce. The summit of East Royce is in Maine, and the summit of West Royce is in New Hampshire, so this is a unique chance to reach summits in two states on the same day.

We followed the East Royce Trail from Route 113 in Evans Notch. This is a short 1.5 mile trail up to East Royce Mountain, but climbs 1,694 feet in that time. It has some ledges at 1.1 miles, then open ledges at the summit with views north and west.

Then we backtracked 0.5 mile to take the 0.2-mile Royce Connector Trail to the Royce Trail, which leads to the West Royce summit after 1.4 miles. We went down about 500 feet and back up another 500 feet to the summit. Then we retraced our path to the Royce connector trail and the East Royce trail to descend.

After a couple false starts, eight hikers and two dogs started the steady climb to East Royce. It wasn't as steep as expected, but it was a steady 1.5 mile climb. We interrupted it with a stop at the first trail junction and again at the ledges a little farther up. The haze and low clouds made it difficult to see very far, but we could tell there would be great views on a clear day.

After a few scrambles up rocks, we rested and ate lunch #1 on the summit and enjoyed the breeze. The summit of West Royce looked much higher, maybe because it was in a cloud. But we started down to hike over to it anyway.

We went back to the junction and hiked a nice level path through the woods for a while. There was good signage at the various junctions, which was amazing since the trail looked like no one had been on it for a while. One hiker remarked it was good we hadn't rested too long on the summit, or the trail might have been completely overgrown by the time we got on it.

Trail (photo by Mark Malnati) We hoped for a sign marking the Maine-New Hampshire border, but we passed the border without any notice. The last 0.7 miles to the summit of West Royce seemed very long and uphill. We finally collapsed on a ledge and only continued when it was agreed the summit would only take 10 more minutes to reach. Surprisingly, that's all it took!

We found a nice spot for lunch #2. The haze or clouds had settled in so the views were even more obscured, but they had possibilities. I couldn't find any description of West Royce in any of my books that said whether the summit was wooded or open or had any views. I joked that no one had ever actually been there - and it seemed that way to us. We met one other hiker at the summit, and that was the only other hiker we saw all day.

The weather forecast had thunderstorms in the afternoon, so the drops of rain we felt after lunch encouraged us to head down. With the 99% humidity we had been hiking in all day, it was hard to believe we could even feel the raindrops. We had a few showers occasionally on the way down, but actually hoped for more to cool us off.

We were all down in 5.5 hours and determined the hike was 6 miles in all. Everybody agreed it was just the right distance.

Since the little bakery/ice cream shop in Stow, Maine was closed, we had to go into Conway, New Hampshire for ice cream. By then the sun was out. And everyone was happy to be home before dark.
 
Thick trail (photo by Mark Malnati)


 


ME - Central Southwest

  East Royce Trail (photo by Mark Malnati) Driving Directions   

East Royce Trailhead is located in Batchelders Grant, Maine. It is on the west side of Rt. 113, just north of the height-of-land in Evans Notch.

When heading south on Rt. 113, East Royce Trailhead will be approximately 9 miles south of the junction of Rt. 2 and Rt. 113 and will be on the right-hand side. Note that this upper portion of Rt. 113 is closed in winter.

When heading north on Rt. 113, East Royce Trailhead will be approximately 23 miles north of the junction of Rt. 302 and Rt. 113 on the left-hand side.

Other Notes   

A parking permit is required to park at White Mountain National Forest trailheads and parking areas. You can purchase a WMNF permit from the forest service and other vendors and can also pay-by-the-day using self-service kiosks located in many parking areas.

For more information on parking passes please refer to the White Mountain National Forest website.

Rates:
  • $3 per day
  • $5 for a week-long pass
  • $20 for a year-long pass
  • $25 for two year-long passes (one household/two cars)

Jim on the trail (photo by Mark Malnati)

 
 

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