Bear Brook Trail is located near Conway, NH. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.
Directions from Allenstown, NH: Travel SR 28 north and turn right onto Dodge Road. The park is about 1 mile east. Parking is available in Hayes Field off Podunk Road and in the lot across from the junction of Campground and Podunk Roads.
First off, the Bear Brook Trail and the Champlain Mountain North Ridge Trail are one in the same. Every so many years the park service changes the names of some of the hiking trails. For me, this is one of the easier routes up to the summit of champlain Mountain and offers some very nice views as your hiking up or coming back down. You may want to take along snacks and water for this hike, depending on the weather.
To find the trail Head, drive along the one way section of the Park Loop road, as if headed for Sand Beach or Thunder Hole. Once you pass by the turn off for Sieur de Monts spring, you will pass under a stone bridge. Here the road goes uphill and around a long curve. At the top of the hill Bear Brook Picnic area is to the left, and Just ahead is a large pond, on some maps its called the Beaver pond, on other maps its called Bear Brook pond. The Trail Head is between the pond and the pull over just ahead on the curve. Park and walk back toward the pond, and you will see the trail head.
Now let me tell you about a place very close to this trail, called the Bear Den.
The Bear Den is an old bear den in acadia National Park that shows up on old maps. In the mid 1800's to the early 1900's a hiking trail led from Bar Harbor to the Bear Den at the base of Champlain Mountain. Old accounts of that trail state it was a popular hiking trail. One thing is certain, in those days there was no park loop road, and once the park loop road was constructed, it wiped out much of that trail.
To locate the old Bear Den, or bear cave, get onto the ParkLoop road's One Way section, and drive until you see signs for the Wild Gardens of Acadia and the Nature Center and sieur de Monts Spring. Drive past that turn off, and continue along the one way section, passing under a stone bridge. The road will lead uphill and around a long curve. At the top of the hill you will see Bear Brook Picnic area to the left, and the Bear Brook Pond will appear on the right. Continue past the pond and park at the pull over on the left at the corner just past the pond.
Now exit your car and cross the roadway, and walk in the same direction as the traffic, until the tall ledge comes down to the roadway level. At this point you can look straight into the woods and see a large black area, that is the bear den. You will also notice there is a worn path on the ground leading to the entrance.
This hike is very short and easy and kids will love it. You can see the road from the bear den.