Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Cardigan Mountain State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Easy trail with great views. Fun drive out to trailhead and perfect hike for dogs too!

hiking
12 days ago

We tried to get to the Holt trail, but accidentally drove to the wrong side of the mountain, so ended up taking the West Ridge Trail instead. It was very beautiful, but fairly easy. It took us 40 minutes to get to the summit, and then we looped around to Firescrew (the other summit), and went down the South Ridge Trail (hitting two more summits along the way). Overall, we did 6 miles of trail in 4hrs, including lunch.

The trail starts out very simple, but then gets more difficult, with some scrambling over bald face rock at the top. It's very scenic!! When we went, it was muddy in parts, but no ice or snow, and we were entirely fine in just running shoes.

Small spots with ice , up with two dogs on leashes no problem! Muddy wear gaiters! Lunch just below the summit.

hiking
25 days ago

I went this past Saturday! Was way too icy to get to the top, very dangerous. Will update review once the ice melts and I go in the summer.

hiking
1 month ago

Icy with snow

Did the orange loop today 4/14/18. The road up to the tables and benches is closed so you have to walk up that. Once on the trail it was very icy / snowy, I recommend boots, extra socks, gloves and snow picks . Very slippery!

Gets progressively steeper on the way up, but nothing too strenuous. You start getting views at around 1.2 miles, and the panorama at the summit is phenomenal. On a clear day, you can see the White Mountains, the Green Mountains, the Lakes Region, and countless other points near and far. The beginning of the descent is very steep, all rock, then it goes over a fairly level ridge with nice views. After that, it gets steep again, hands are necessary at times. Overall a nice hike, but the descent route was more difficult than we were expecting.

hiking
5 months ago

Great view for a short hike. I wasn't expecting as much Ice as there was. I should have brought ice spikes. Our dog had a great time.

hiking
5 months ago

This trail had heavy ice on it (November) and very unsafe. It might be nice in the summer but not late fall. Also my dog had a hard time with this trail, it’s not as dog friendly as I was hoping.

nice trail, wish I had hiking sneakers tho. pretty wet, but still navigable and we're in our 60's. beautiful views up top.

Great little trail ,off season and still bumped into 4 or 5 groups working their way up as we came down. After two days of rain trail was still navigable.

hiking
7 months ago

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!

hiking
7 months ago

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!

hiking
7 months 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.

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.

hiking
7 months ago

We had the mountain to ourselves yesterday! Great hike!

hiking
7 months 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.
http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/cardiganfiretower

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

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.

Quick fun hike! Brought the dogs, everyone got a little muddy, but overall great time!

Took the west trail to the summit and back. Well marked trail, gorgeous view at the top! Well worth the effort :)

Went up for a sunrise hike and it was beautiful! Got to the trailhead at 5:35 and was up at the summit in time for sunrise at 6:20. It was a bit foggy at first but made for beautiful photos. You could see for miles once the fog cleared. The way down was a little more difficult than the way up but still pretty easy! Took my small dog and he did great!

Quick and easy for anyone with decent experience. Good views at the peak. Can be very very gusty up there.

good half day hike

This is NOT a moderate trail!!
Refer to each listing for individual trail information. Hike was VERY challenging in both directions. Thankfully the scenery was spectacular both during the ascent and from the summit. Beautifully clear day offered views of the distant mountains and Newfound lake. Trail is not appropriate for children and rock scrambles are fun for experienced hikers with aggressive tread hiking boots for added traction. Total time=5hrs including lunch break.

DO NOT WASTE THIS HIKE ON A CLOUDY DAY WAIT FOR CLEAR SKIES! Awesome views for the effort. A person of average fitness can complete this hike if they take their time and be rewarded with SPECTACULAR VIEWS usually reserved for much higher peaks. I headed up the West Ridge Trail early and had the summit to myself for 1/2 hour before others started to trickle in. I took in the incredible views from Mt. Monadnock to Mt. Washington before heading down the Mowglis Trail and turning off towards Grotto Cave. This route has very iffy footing and requires quite a bit of careful scrambling around. Due to time constraints I turned back before reaching the cave and upon returning to the summit I found dozens of people there. I prefer solitude so it was my time to head down. The hike down was quick and uneventful, although very crowded. Well worth the effort for such great views! I will add this to my winter wish list!

Holt trail is a difficult trail not for the inexperienced and definitely not for kids. Be sure you have grippy shoes and do not climb this trail when it's been wet. There were several places where you can stop, catch your breath and take in the amazing views.

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