What you’ll see: Mount Cardigan, located in the Lakes Region of Central New Hampshire is one of the best places to be, with its 360-degree views and open ridge walks.

On the east side of the mountain, start your hike at the AMC’s Cardigan Lodge and Reservation. This trip utilizes the following three trails: Holt, Cathedral Forest, and Clark trails. While on the Holt trail, you will cross over Bailey Brook, a tempting but chilly swimming hole. Once you are on the Clark Trail, experience PJ Ledge; from here on up the trail primarily runs over granite slabs. PJ Ledge will give you a taste of the view you will see at the summit. Look out over Newfound Lake and the surrounding mountains. Once at the summit, climb the fire tower and say hello to the warden, who is always keeping a watchful eye out for any fires. To the east one can see all the way to Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossippee and Belknapp Mountains, and on a particularly clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of Mount Chocorua. To the west, you can look into Vermont’s rolling hills. To the north you can just begin to see the White Mountains, when the skies are clear.

What you’ll experience:
  • The hike is of moderate level and is considered the easiest route from the west side of the mountain.
  • Total mileage one way is 2.6 miles with a hiking time of 2 hours and 10 minutes.
  • This is an excellent hike for first-time hikers and families and an enjoyable track for those of all ability levels.
  • The trail is steepest as you near the summit, traversing open granite slabs for the final 500ft from the Warden’s Cabin to the fire tower.
What’s in the area:
  • Stay overnight at Cardigan Lodge a 53-bed full-service lodge, also offering platform tents and campsites. Enjoy hearty family-style meals, swim in the pond or sit by the fire with your favorite book.
  • Daily programs are available from our resident naturalist.
  • Check out our Theme Programs offered throughout the summer.
Getting There: