Mt. Cardigan Super Loop
ElevationAscent: 3,074' 937 m
Descent: -3,075' -937 m
High: 3,139' 957 m
Low: 1,376' 420 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 57% (30°)
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“A tough but worthwhile loop around Mt. Cardigan State Park, with great views and steep pitches!”— Simon Pendleton
Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
From the AMC Lodge, head west on the Holt Trail, taking the Nature path detour (great flora and fauna). When you reach the Holt Trail, backtrack towards the Manning Trail (0.1 mi) and then turn W-NW (left) onto the Manning Trail. The Manning Trail has some lower gradient smoother sections but becomes a steep, gnarly ascent in the last mile to the top of Firescrew (keep you eyes open for yellow blazes (it's easy to lose the trail).
Once on the summit of Firescrew (hard to define), turn south onto the Mowglis Trail and tackle the last and steepest bit of bedrock scramble to the top of Cardigan (0.6 mi). Enjoy the view and breeze from the top of Cardigan before turning SW from the summit and following the stone cairns to the West Ridge Trail. The first part of the descent is steep bedrock that turns to a rocky and rooty trail. Once past the small waterfall, the trail mellows and is enjoyable all the way back out past the first junction to the summer parking lot (1.5 mi).
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Flora & Fauna, History & Background
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Land Manager: NH State Parks - Parks and Rec. Dept.