Holt Trail is a 4.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Bristol, New Hampshire that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing, and nature trips and is best used from May until August.

Length4.4 miElevation gain1,755 ftRoute typeOut & back
HikingNature tripsRock climbingForestViewsWaterfallMuddyRockyScrambleNo dogs
Description
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Getting There

SEASONAL ROAD CLOSURE: Roads leading to this trailhead are subject to seasonal closure. For more information, please visit https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/cardigan-mountain-state-park The trail starts off easy but quickly gains 1000+ feet in less than .8 miles. If you are afraid of heights, do not attempt. Many people choose to take alternative ways back to avoid the scrambles going down, check out the Clark Trail on AllTrails for an easier way down.

Follow your GPS 774 Shem Valley Rd in Alexandria, NH

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Reviews (72)
Photos (401)
Activities (27)
Completed (285)
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Nick Belmonte
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 8, 2021
Hiking

never been so scared on a trail in my entire life! views were worth it! rocks at the climbing part at the top were still slippery. very steep definitely an adrenaline rush

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Jeannette Lindsay
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HikingRockyScramble

Challenging climbs, up holt and down Clark.

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Bradford Davenport
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
HikingGreat!Scramble

Challenging in a good way, *ONLY attempt in DRY weather. Steep incline on rocks is much more enjoyable with good footing the entire time. Weather was 55 and sunny started hike at 2pm. 90 min Up Holt, 20 min lunch at Top and about an hour back down via many easy/moderate routes (Do not take Holt on decent). Go with a buddy who is also experienced + prepared for a challenge and you will have a great time! Foliage currently near peak, 360 views at Summit.

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Sean Shepard
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Hiking

Great hike. Fun climbing and scrambling.

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David Stone
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Hiking
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M C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

The Holt scrambles weren't too bad. If you grew up climbing trees, or are comfortable climbing a ladder to the roof of your house then you would be fine on this trail. There are some steep spots on rocks, but it was still very clearly hiking, and NOT rock climbing. Took just under 1.5 hrs on the way up. I took Manning Trail down, which was about 1 hr.

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Dario Fiorentini
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Hiking
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Tami Kirlis
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HikingRockyScramble

I have NEVER been scared hiking until today. This trail is for seriously experienced hikers with some rock climbing experience. While I read that Cardigan is used for rock climbing, it just didn’t sink in how steep it would be. There was even a warning on the trail, but I just naively assumed this was just a hard trail and I like a challenge. I’ve done a lot of “hard” hikes by this apps standards, but this was different. I’ve never experienced 80 degree rock faces and areas where it would have been useful to know rock climbing handholds. It had also just rained, and this made the rock into steep slippery near death scrambles. Unfortunately, you get to a certain point of no return, where you just have to push forward because descending feels even more dangerous. At one point I thought, how many people have seriously injured themselves up here? Read the reviews, not by the people who claim it’s a cake walk and probably hiked up Clark Trail, not Holt. Read the real reviews, like Paul Wikstrom’s review is SPOT ON (if only I had scrolled down more when researching this trail). The view at the top is beautiful, but do yourself a favor and hike up a different trail, ESPECIALLY if it has just rained.

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David Caples
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HikingScramble
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Matt Andreas
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HikingScramble

Difficult scrambles. Do not attempt in Wet/Icy conditions. These scrambles are legit. The last half mile of the trail is very strenuous as you gain a lot of elevation quickly. If you're feeling up to it, it is worth going over to firescrew mountain for more outstanding views. This is my new favorite day hike for sure. Only attempt if you are in good shape, we passed several people who had to turn around because it was too difficult.

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Stacey D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 20, 2020
HikingScramble

Love this trail. Challenging and yes you will need to climb rocks but that was fun. There ate some steep slabs of rocks. Wear good traction shoes/boots, not regular sneakers and you'll be fine. I don't recommend doing it when wet or icy. Well marked down in the woods walking trail and up on the barefaced rocks. There was only one point when I was confused about which way to go so I asked the people behind me. It was in the part that had you climbing in the woods that looks like water runoff. I should have marked it with waypoint but I forgot. If I did it again I would remember. Also, we took Clark down as recommended. I'm an experienced hiker in great shape (the late 40s) and my son (19) was a beginner out of shape. We just stopped a lot and he was fine, (2 hrs up and 1 down). Although there were a few times he told me he should push me off and collect the insurance money for torturing him with this hike! LOL! But in the end, he felt accomplished and I let him beat me to the top. I'm a good mom.

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Jennifer Ellen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 17, 2020
HikingScramble

Great trail. It was marked as very difficult and it didn’t lie. I love hiking and have done many hard hikes and I found it very challenging. I also did it the day after it rained so the rocks were super slippery which made it more dangerous. Despite being really hard and scary at times, I loved it and would recommend this for those with a lot of experience. Maybe just don’t go after it rains.

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Kristy Lesniak
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Hiking

Definitely a little challenging but not as difficult as some make it seem . Color is already getting beautiful

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Kerri Ann T
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HikingScramble

Great views, nice hike. Kids loved the scramble up the bald peak.

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Alyssa Shaw
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Hiking

This hike was really fun but extremely challenging. The complete hike is not recommended for beginners! The Holt Trail is not recommended for descents and that is posted on the trail. It is extremely steep and could result in serious injury—especially for beginners.

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Lisa Kelly
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Hiking

Amazing hike and I am an adventurer and that was crazy hard at the end. A couple of hand holds that were crucial. I felt accomplished.

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Dylon Hite
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2019
Hiking

it was hard no question. but we had a 3 year old and a 5 year old go up it and they made it.... so go for it :) only one time did i think the 3 year old was going off the cliff but he didn't.

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Henry Torres
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HikingRockyScramble

Very challenging but well worth it at the end.

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Paul Wikstrom
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HikingRockyScramble

This trail was a bear. I'm 60, in reasonably good shape, very strong, and have been hiking and backpacking in the N. east and S. west for 45 years. I've backpacked up and down 12k+ footers in the San Juans multiple times and bagged many difficult White and Adirondack peaks. This trail was the hardest bit of hiking I've ever done. I can only image what my brave 16 y/o son thought, it being his first real mountain hike! It was a fine, sunny day, but had rained heavily the day before. The dreaded rock scrambles over the last 25-30% were quite slippery at spots, and we had to climb down and redirect ourselves at one point because there was no way to safely proceed. I was wearing about a 15 lb day pack and had to take it off after failing twice on one move (with much scraping of knee, shin and hand flesh). The finish is very steep, blazes are less then abundant and scary as hell, and I'm at worst an intermediate hiker. After a certain point we only continued to avoid descending this beast (which I would not recommend in any weather). Of course the Cardigan summit is a beautiful 360, but I'd only recommend Holt for those who really enjoy a bit of fear with their hike, and have some rock climbing experience.

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Shaun Tufts
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Hiking

Great trail.. great views.. I would def recommend hiking boots to grip the rocks.. Very steep at some points.

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Ann Schnorbus
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RockyScramble

Great views on a beautiful day!

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Rachel Lynch
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HikingBugsRockyScramble

I have hiked the AT and PCT and found this trail challenging. One of the few circumstances in which the warning signs are 100% valid. We did this hike at the mid/end of an 8 mile loop. We are pooped. Definitely recommend dry conditions and leaving plenty of time.

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