Great trail with some minor challenge. Hiked in the end of October so the scenery was amazing. Started out with beautiful fall colors and turned to fresh snow covered trees. Little icy near the summit when the rock slabs become a little more flat. It was also crazy windy so we stopped a little short of the fire tower.
I loved this trail. It has a big mountain feel to it and is a nice challenge. But you've got to be comfortable on steep slabs with some exposure. Don't even think about it when conditions are wet, or if you don't have grippy footwear, and unless you are prepared to rappel, descending this trail is foolishly dangerous.
That's ok because descending by way of Firescrew and the Manning Trail is fabulously scenic and by comparison quite easy.
Very well maintained West Ridge Trail to summit is fairly easy. The South Ridge Trail is much steeper and less well maintained. Some nice views from West Ridge as you near the summit and 360 views from the rocky summit. Windy and cold today. Bring a jacket if you want to hang out on the summit for any length of time. There is a fire tower with a concrete footing so there is a wind break, but if it's crowded, the spot fills up quickly. SOuth Ridge trail is much more challenging but there are no views and its less well maintained and trafficked than the West Ridge Trail.
Loring S. on Mount Cardigan Trail
I love fire towers. This was a great hike with a great view at the top. Check out my trip report with photos and some things to look out for.