Caribou Trail

Oxford County, Maine

Elevation Gain1,672ft
Trailhead Elevation934ft
Elevation Min/Max899/2419ft
Elevation Start/End934/934ft

Caribou Trail

Caribou Trail is a hiking trail in Oxford County, Maine. It is within White Mountain National Forest. It is 2.9 miles long and begins at 934 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,672 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. This trail connects with the following: Mud Brook Trail.

Caribou Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

AMC's Best Day Hikes in the White Mountains (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Robert N. Buchsbaum
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"This loop hike takes you through a wilderness area past beautiful cascades to the broad open summit of Caribou Mountain (2,870 feet), one of the highest peaks in the Evans Notch region. The summit has breathtaking views as well as alpine plants."
Best Loop Hikes: New Hampshire's White Mountains to the Maine Coast (The Mountaineers Books)
Jeffrey Romano
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"Caribou Mountain, with its indistinct profile and modest elevation, is a summit often overlooked by observers from nearby destinations. While easily overlooked from a distance, the mountain begs your attention up close. From the open summit tremendous views spread out in all directions, and wildlife abounds throughout the forests that blanket its slopes. Each spring, while higher peaks remain buried in snow and ice, Caribou Mountain is carpeted with wildflowers, its waterfalls crashing with fury. By late September the hardwood-laden forest is a rainbow of yellows, purples, reds, and oranges. Between seasons, the beauty of the mountain is more subtle but no less impressive."
Hiking Maine: A Guide to the State's Greatest Hiking Adventures (Falcon Guides)
Greg Westrich
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"Caribou Mountain is in the heart of one of Maine’s only federally designated wildernesses. The hike up the mountain along Morrison Brook passes numerous waterfalls, including 30-foot Kees Falls. The falls drops from an exposed, flat ledge into a deep pool. The open summit of Caribou Mountain offers fine views in every direction. To the west, across the mountains around Evans Notch and the Carter Range, you can see the Presidential Range. At your feet the exposed bedrock is ringed by abundant blueberries. In the low areas you can find mountain cranberries. The descent off the mountain is steeper than the climb. Once down off the higher slopes, the trail follows Mud Brook."

Caribou Trail Trip Reports

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The drive into the White Mountains was beautiful, driving down windy narrow roads until you reach the trail head. Be prepared to have already purchased a parking permit or leave $3 in an envelope at the drop box for the day.

We followed Mud Brook trail up and the Caribou trail on the way back down. The Mud Brook trail comes by its name honestly, there were very few sections that you could walk through pleasantly. We spent most of the hike up hopping from rock to rock or carving out our own path slightly off the path in drier areas. Even in nice LL Bean boots the mud and water can overrun the top.

The trail starts gradually allowing you to get comfortable and loose. You follow a brook for the first section of the hike until you start to gain elevation. The path, from this point forward, is mostly comprised of roots, stones and mud.

There are a couple of decent views on this hike. There is a great rock ledge most of the way up that allows for a nice picture opportunity. Don't get too comfortable though by this point you are most of the way up the mountain. I considered reaching the top rather anticlimactic. Rest on the top was rather short lived, there were a considerable amount of insects happy to have human flesh to feast on. The top was not marked entirely well and locating the Caribou Trail to head back down was a small challenge.

A good portion of the trail down was a combination of trail and brook. At points it was hard to discern one from the other. Quite often they were the same entity.

I would recommend that if your already in the White Mountains other trails are far more worth your time.
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My absolute Favorite Hike! Done this hike every memorial day weekend since 2000. Best time is at the end of may, warm but not humid, and the water is still coming down falls. Caribou trail loops around to Mud Brook trail. First hour on both trails are gradual inclines. Last hour on both sides are steep climbs.
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This is the BEST half day loop hike I've ever done in New England (and I've done a lot of them). All the best features of a great day hike are here: water most of the way up and down, waterfalls, swimming holes, great 360 degree views and blueberries at the top in August. I have done this hike 2 to 4 times per year since moving to Western Maine 7 years ago. I usually start the hike mid-afternoon on Sunday's, therefore I'm usually the only one on the summit to take in the views and solitude. It can be made into a very easy full day hike for those who prefer a slower pace.
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Caribou Mountain earns its reputation as a one of the best Maine hikes below 4,000 feet. From the parking lot there are 2 paths to choose from making the hike a genuine loop. I recommend starting up the trail to the left (Caribou trail)and returning down the Mud Brook Trail. There are several small waterfalls to see as you hike up the the Caribou trail. From the summit you have a 360 degree view that's pretty impressive as the taller White Mountains are to the West. It is not a crowded trail at all and we saw 7 other hikers the entire time (and it was a beautiful Sunday in July.) It's a great hike for dogs as the trail follows a large stream. Most of the other hikers had dogs with them. All in all, a great hike that takes about 4 hours of hiking time.

Caribou Trail Photos

Trail Information

Oxford County
Nearby City
Additional Use
White Mountain National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Topo: Speckled Mountain, ME
Local Maps

Trail Log