Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks None, ME
Trails: Laughing Lion Trail, Royce Trail, Royce Connector Trail, East Royce Trail, ME 113
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, May 29, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Evans Notch Road is open! Roadside parking just south of Laughing Lion trailhead. I was the first car there, one other when I got back. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The crossings at the bottom of Laughing Lion and East Royce trails were both easy rock hops. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Blowdowns were not an issue. Signs are all in place. Erosion issues on parts of Laughing Lion - as the WMG says, there's one section where you need to grab tree roots to pull yourself up. But that wasn't the biggest issue with Laughing Lion. More below. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: An agile dog would probably do fine. 
Bugs: Yes, lots. Bring strong bug spray, and if you are less tolerant of bugs, a head net as well. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Nothing. 
Comments: This was redline #2 of the day, which ended up being a somewhat longer hike than I intended. Laughing Lion Trail is a tale of two trails. The lower part of the trail - from the trailhead down to the crossing of Cold River and then up the first few hundred vertical feet - is TERRIBLE. There are so many fallen leaves that it's impossible to tell where to put your feet, and I was slipping and sliding. The climb up from Cold River is one of those horrible steep, gravelly, leaf-covered slopes where getting traction is next to impossible, and there are very few rocks to use as steps. It reminded me of Tom Wiggin Trail in the Sandwich Range, without the warning sign saying the trail is "Not Recommended - Steep and Loose". After struggling up that for a bit, the trail makes a sharp left (this turn is not entirely obvious), and from there to the top, the trail was better. There were still plenty of steep, rough sections, but they had much more solid footing, so I felt much better on them. There's even a nice lookout in this section.

My original plan was an out-and-back on Laughing Lion, since that was the only trail in the area I still needed to redline. However, ss bad as it was climbing up that lower section with extremely poor, loose footing, I knew that trying to descend it would be even tougher. (Note that I did NOT descend Tom Wiggin Trail when I redlined it a couple years ago.) Therefore, I decided to extend the hike a bit by climbing up Royce Trail to Royce Connector Trail, and descending East Royce Trail back to Route 113 and walking the road back to my car. That's right, I voluntarily climbed an additional, extremely steep 450 vertical feet on Royce Trail so I wouldn't have to descend Laughing Lion. I had climbed Royce Trail before, and knew that the footing on that very steep section was rough but still solid, so I'd be fine. I had also descended East Royce Trail before and knew that it was a much more pleasant descent. Both trails were as I expected.

I saw no one else on Laughing Lion, and met a group of three hikers at the junction of Royce Trail and Royce Connector Trail. We hiked the Connector over to East Royce Trail together, and then they climbed up East Royce while I descended. I saw no one else on the descent. The road walk was fine - there weren't too many cars on it. Plenty of cyclists and motorcycles out as well.  
Name: GN 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-05-29 
Link: https:// 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

Copyright 2009-2024, All Rights Reserved