nature trips


Cardigan State Park spans 5,655 acres and is an excellent area for hiking. A mountain road leads to trails on the west slope of Mount Cardigan as well as a trail to the summit. Mount Cardigan's 3,121-foot treeless granite summit affords outstanding views of west central New Hampshire, with a panorama that includes Mount Monadnock and the White Mountains, Camel's Hump in Vermont, and Pleasant Mountain in Maine.

Despite living within a half hour this was the first time I've ever done this hike. Overall it was great, well marked trail-we followed the West Ridge up and down. I did it with my 70 year old Grandmother, 7 year old daughter, 3 year old son and puppy and it was challenging enough but not too hard. The view at the top is amazing. The only downside is the very narrow road, insane parking situation, people literally must have hiked up half a mile from their parking spots! Also lots and lots of traffic with people going up and down and boat loads of dogs some not on leads (no problem) but had some that ran up not on lead which really isn't good because just because that dog is friendly doesn't mean the other is. Either way I would definitely do it again. Reminder, it's carry in and carry out, help to keep our parks clean and enjoyable!

My boyfriend and I did this trail today to appreciate the fall foliage. It was a beautiful and well maintained trail. It was of moderate difficulty and the views from the top were lovely despite the fire tower being closed. My biggest tip for someone looking to hike this trail would be plan to go during the off hours. This is a very VERY popular trail full of families and dogs all trying to enjoy the same space. Parking was difficult and traffic on the trail itself was very heavy. All and all, it was a fun hike!

5 days ago

Holt to Holt-Clark cut off at Grand Junction. Clark to summit, to Mowglis to Firescrew- and descent Manning trail. Loved this hike. Very steep places on ascent and descent. Great challenge, beautiful day, foliage views, sweeping vistas, places to stop. Dry weather recommended.

Rainy day on the mountain, but still a gorgeous area to hike.

9 days ago

First time up this mountain, definitely earned my respect. The trail was very easy until the final pitch to the summit ... aggressive slabs and cracks but doable. Would be unsettling if wet. Excellent 360 views from the summit. Great little shelf out of the wind for lunch or a nap. Agree with others not to descend upper Holt. Wonderful hike all around!

Hiked Manning / Holt Loop over past weekend. Beyond some wet scramble up, a soaked by and cloud socked peak, cautious decent of rock - it was very manageable for mildly experienced climber.

West Ridge trail up & down. Moderate hike, steep in places, rock face, fantastic sweeping views. Great foliage hike. Will go back to explore other trails/the loop.

10 days ago

We had the mountain to ourselves yesterday! Great hike!

10 days ago

10/04/17 Third time up Cardigan (2nd time up Holt) awesome top, hasn't disappointed yet!" Descended Fire Screw to Manning. Would not recommend going down Holt.

13 days ago

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.

Good hike. Well marked trail.
Can be busy with other hikers

15 days ago

17 days ago

Went up Holt, to Mowglis, then descended down Manning. This was really tough going up for me, steep slabs with very few handholds. Required some holding on/climbing and I am lacking in upper-body strength dept. If I were alone, I could see contemplating turning back, but there's sort of a point of no return (in wet conditions, like my hike) and I was past that anyway when having difficulties. I've hiked a lot, hikes rated "hard", but this was no joke!

18 days ago

19 days ago

22 days ago

I would say that this was by far the hardest trail I have ever hiked. I don’t know why this trail isn’t on the NH most terrifying trails. People who have reviewed this trail before have talked about hitting a point of no return. I would say about three quarters of the way through this trail you hit the point of no return. It’s very steep and it would be very difficult to safely turn around to back track. There wasn’t a moment that my heart wasn’t racing because of how steep and scary this trail was. Now I know there are a lot more advanced hikers that have gone up this trail and said it wasn’t too difficult, but for a beginner to intermediate hiker this was extremely difficult. I would say that the steepest and scariest part of the trail is the very top of the trail. The rock face is easily at a 70 degree angle, the pictures I have seen online don’t do this part justice. There is an over-hanging rock that will help you get up this section, but the hand and foot holds aren’t as good as everyone has made them out to be. I would say beating this trail there wasn't so much a sense of accomplishment but relief. Take the Clark trail down, its quite easy and was a much needed break after going up the Holt trail.

awesome hike and awesome views! if you're gonna do the loop I recommend going up. it's very steep most of the way till you reach the first peak.