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Elwell Trail



9.3 mile 15.0 kilometer point to point
82% Runnable


Ascent: 1,370' 417 m
Descent: -2,785' -849 m
High: 2,373' 723 m
Low: 638' 194 m


Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 55% (29°)


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Trail shared by Ken Cutting

A lovely trail connecting the AMC Cardigan Preserve to the Goose Pond/Sugarloaf Conservation Area and Wellington SP.

Ken Cutting

Features Cave · Fall Colors · Lake · Swimming · Views

Runner Notes

A great rugged trail for running though a couple areas may be difficult to maintain the trail without slowing down.


From the interesting area of the junction of the Mowglis Trail, Elwell Trail plunges from the northwest corner of the Cardigan Preserve past the Back 80 Trail and on up toward Mowglis Mountain. Maintaining the ridge line past the Carter-Gibbs Trail over Oregon Mountain with great overlooks of Alexandria and beyond to the south and east from both peaks.

This trail is composed of pleasantly rugged bare rock in places mixed with peaceful sections through soft and hardwood stands. After making your way down from Oregon Mountain and nearing the halfway point, you'll reach the only truly unfortunate area of the trail, The Blight. Recent logging in the area has significantly affected the trail making it difficult to follow and detracts heavily from the tranquility of the area.

Getting through this area which includes a large power line crossing, luckily gives way to a gentle and peaceful incline to the summit and along the ridge of Bear Mountain. It is here that you'll find two potential bailout routes along Elwell Trail, one to the northeast (Bear Mountain Trail) leads to the Hobart Hill area of Hebron, and one to the southwest (Welton Falls S Trail) leads towards Welton Falls.

Coming to the end of this restful section be prepared for a steep descent off of Bear Mountain. After the descent, the trail winds through the woods—across Bear Mtn/Hebron Road—for a short, but steep, final ascent of Big Sugarloaf. Be sure to watch for nice views of Newfound Lake and Wellington State Park as you traverse these final peaks! Some overlooks are slightly “off-trail” but worth a look and even a moment of pause and enjoyment. With well under two miles to go on the trail coming down from Big Sugarloaf, enjoy the remainder of the Elwell Trail and the many neat little features of the area as you make your way over Little Sugarloaf to complete the trail.

I always enjoy making my way from the conservation area parking lot to the Wellington State Park beach to take a refreshing swim after the trail! This trail is well worth the trek and deserves more attention and protection for future generations.

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in New Hampshire


100 Views Last Month
1,282 Since Oct 25, 2017



Looking south from one of the last outlooks before heading into the hardwood forests and blighted logging areas before reaching Bear Mtn.
Feb 10, 2018 near Alexandria, NH
Looking southeast over a beaver meadow in the headwaters of Davis Brook
Feb 10, 2018 near Alexandria, NH


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