Hike New Hampshire
Trips in NH

Mt. Cardigan

by Stephanie Wood

Hike Length: dayhike

Trails: Hoyt and Manning trails

Date: May 5th 2001 & May 12th 2001

On the 5th of May I hiked Mt. Cardigan solo. I ascended via the Hoyt trail, and descended via the Manning trail. This is a great mountain in north-central New Hampshire. There are many trails on this hill as well as a fully-staffed AMC hut. Hoyt trail is beautiful and extremely challenging in sections. I recommend it for those seeking a quick, short route right up Cardigan. This trail follows yellow blazes and crosses a brook several times, and at times you actually hike straight up through the brook. The AMC book says, "may be difficult to cross in high water", and they are not kidding. The steep section up through the brook is hand over hand climbing, but has many rocks and roots providing solid holds. Once this trail breaks through the tree line however, the holds disappear, yet the steepness does not. The entire top section of Hoyt trail is on open, steep ledge and I would not recommend hiking it wet or with a big pack. The summit is bald as well as the adjacent peak, Firescrew. You figure out the name by the lack of trees and presence of a fire tower on Cardigan's summit. There is actually a sign saying not to hike down Hoyt trail unless you really know what you're doing. Manning trail is a nice, easier but much longer hike down that wraps around down Firescrew and back to the AMC hut. This hike provides 360-degree views from the summit, and for a relatively quick hike it's a great view reward. Don't let the cars parked in the lot by the AMC hut scare you, I saw one person the whole day, and it was a Saturday.

Equipment: bug spray, boots

Special Equipment: ropes if you want to descend Hoyt trail

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