Mount Cardigan

Alexandria, New Hampshire 03222

Mount Cardigan

Mount Cardigan Professional Review and Guide

"Enjoy a quintessential hike through a mossy ravine and a long, gradual climb to spectacular views, with side trips to a beautiful waterfall and swimming holes. Though it requires one of the most challenging hikes in this book, Mount Cardigan is a great destination for those ready for a true mountain expedition.

The trip has so much to offer families: a gentle grade, waterfalls, swimming holes, caves, a jaw-dropping summit with views into Vermont and Maine, and amenities at AMC’s cozy Cardigan Lodge and Campsites. Home-cooked meals are available to guests at the lodge or the campground, including fresh-baked breads daily, homemade soups, and hearty entrees, all served family-style in a rustic dining hall. (Note: Dogs are allowed on-trail, but not at the lodge or campsites.)"

Nearby Trails

More Mount Cardigan Professional Reviews and Guides

"Mount Cardigan’s bald granite dome towers over the western side of New Hampshire’s Newfound Lake. From its summit, views abound— from Mount Monadnock on the Massachusetts border to the Presidential Range in the heart of the White Mountains. Don’t let Mount Cardigan’s relatively low elevation fool you; the trails ascending the summit are as steep and challenging as many that scale New England’s highest peaks. The mountain also provides a tremendous variety of options. Many visitors choose the shorter, state park hikes beginning in the west; however, the more interesting trails ascend from the AMC lodge in the east. This hike attacks the mountain’s steepest face and concludes by traversing its most scenic ridge."

"The Alexandria and the Duke’s ski trails are classic down-mountain runs that descend the east side of the Firescrew–Mount Cardigan summit ridge to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s historic Cardigan Lodge. The Kimball Ski Trail descends through lower-elevation forest. The bald summits of Cardigan and Firescrew offer spectacular views."

"This is a short, kid-friendly hike to an expansive bald summit and a fire tower, with views in every direction. With an expansive bald top, a fire tower, and a 360-degree view, Mount Cardigan offers much reward for a modest effort. The West Ridge Trail (orange blazes) is a well-maintained route that is both kid- and dog-friendly. It’s a great first-time hike whether you’ve never been on the trail before or you’re just getting out for the first hike of the year.

From the trailhead, the route climbs moderately with numerous steps built into the path. At 0.5 mile, the West Ridge Trail meets the South Ridge Trail. Turn left, staying on the West Ridge Trail. Continue to ascend, eventually crossing two bridges over a large mud hole. The trail bends left, then climbs more steeply through a rocky area, passing a small, picturesque waterfall on the left."

Mount Cardigan Reviews

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
No posted hours
Cardigan State Park, state-park.aspx; AMC Cardigan Lodge and Campsites, 603-466-2727 (reservations),
Local Contacts
USGS Mount Cardigan quad; Southern New Hampshire Trail Map, Map 2: D5–D3 (AMC)
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018