Maine’s 12,000-acre Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness is a rugged expanse of mountain vistas, rocky notches, crashing waterfalls, and, come summer, abundant blueberries. Get a taste on this moderate 8.6-mile loop through serene woods and over scenic peaks. From the Bickford Brook Trailhead, ascend through the hardwood canopy and bear right on the yellow-blazed Blueberry Ridge Trail. Don’t miss the short detour (it’s signed) to Upper and Lower Bickford Slides, a two-tiered waterfall with a refreshing swimming hole. Return to the main trail and keep your eyes peeled for the blueberry bushes that pepper the route’s open ledges, framing views of the Baldface and Carter ranges to the west. Follow the path over granite slabs, then take the .5-mile side loop trail to the Outlook—another view-packed spot atop a cliff—before climbing past a bog and catching a glimpse of Mount Washington to the northwest. Press on to summit 2,660-foot Ames Mountain; from here, it’s just 1 mile to 2,906-foot Speckled Mountain, where you can camp on a flat bench just off the peak. Descend along the Bickford Brook Trail, hiking through beech, yellow birch, sugar maple, and white pine back to the trailhead.
Info: AMC’s Best Backpacking in the Northeast, by Matt Heid; White Mountain Guide, 28th ed. (AMC Books). (603) 466-2713; www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/
Hike provided by Appalachian Mountain Club