Trip report

GET FIT HIKE #4: Mt. Cardigan

52 With A View DATE: 05/20/2023 - 05/20/2023

Trip/Event Location: Bristol, NH

Trip Leader(s): Gandalf , JDNnh

Max # People: 15

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Thinking of getting in shape for a hike in the Whites, here is your opportunity to participate in a series of 4 hikes that will get progressively get harder!

Although Mount Cardigan’s

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

It's not the easiest place to find so if you prefer, meet us at off Exit 23 [Meredith/New Hampton] exit for 8:45AM at the Park 'N Ride [right of the exit on Route 104 East] to carpool. We'll be driving a blue Toyota Tacoma truck. Please let us know you’ll meet us there otherwise we will not stop.

GPS: Or most GPS systems will get you there if you type in 774 Shem Valley Road, Alexandria, NH. Or perhaps get driving directions from the web yourself.  

And as a last resort directions to Cardigan Lodge from I-93:

Take exit 23 for NH-104/NH-132 toward Meredith/New Hampton 
Turn left onto NH-104 W/NH-132 S Continue to follow NH-132 S for 0.9 miles 
Continue onto NH-104 W for 4.7 miles

Slight right onto Pleasant St for 0.2 miles 
Continue onto Lake St for 0.4 miles 
Turn left onto Bristol Hill Rd for 1.1 miles 
Slight left onto Plumer Hill Rd for .08 miles 
Turn left to stay on Plumer Hill Rd for .04 miles 
Take the 1st right onto Town Pound Rd for 0.7 miles 
Continue onto Washburn Rd for 0.2 miles 
Slight right onto Mt Cardigan Rd for 3.6 miles 
Continue onto Shem Valley Rd for 1.4 miles 
Cardigan lodge will be @ the end of the road

Trip Report/Photos
Featured Photo

This is the mountain everyone should have ticked off their list at some point. It’s on the 52 with a view list (as are many other fine peaks) so that’s as good an excuse as anyone needs, right? Right!

Started at 9:30 from the AMC Cardigan Lodge. There were eight of us. Down in the trees, it was a delightful spring hike. Wildflowers, spring green leaves above us! Plenty of painted trillium and a few purple trilliums. Saw bunches of trout lilies that faded due to the recent frost. The approach was fairly easy.

As the trail pitched upward, a bit more strenuous, we had some light scrambling. Approaching tree line, the trees were thinning out, and ledgy rock was starting to take over. Above tree line, breezy and it was constant.  

The trail zigzagged more steeply to three ledges with picturesque views. It was a cloudy day that impeded some of the views we would normally have. Our destination, Mt. Cardigan was visible periodically during the hike and sometimes hidden by clouds. The final ledges were the largest and steepest for the steep climb to the windswept Firescrew summit where we took a group pic. Devoid of substantial growth, this level summit instills an enjoyable top-of-the-world feeling!

We then made our way up Mt. Cardigan. It was very windy on the summit so we did not linger for very long; there was a large group on the summit besides ours. We had lunch at the Fire Warden’s Cabin to get out of the wind. We knew that rain was forecasted so we did not linger too long for lunch. We took the Clark Trail to descend.

It was interesting that this side of the mountain the trees at this elevation were just beginning to leaf out. We made good time for the descent pausing at a gorgeous cascade at a bridge crossing. We saw the work of a busy woodpecker on one tree! The leaves on the trees are so green right now!

We got back down just as it started to shower. Made it! After the hike, a few returned back to our house to soak in the hot tub and relax in the living room. Jon cooked up another stellar meal of roasted vegetables, marinaded chicken breasts, pesto pasta and garden salad.   

It’s a nice, fun little mountain. Overall, we enjoyed every bit of the enchantment that we would have normally found on bigger peaks! Always great to hike with a fun group of friends.

~ Mike and Jon

  There are 43 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)

What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event

  • Sorry I couldn’t have joined the hike. The description and photos are great. Your hospitality was the tops. God bless! Hope you will host another hike soon. Gaily yours In Jesus, Russ F. GO member - russneal

Members That Participated


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate

Jamaica Plain, MA

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous


United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Boston, MA

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate

Dover, NH

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Strenuous

Hanover, NH

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate

Manchester, NH

United States
russneal May 21, 2023 at 3:50 PM

Comment: Sorry I couldn’t have joined the hike. The description and photos are great. Your hospitality was the tops. God bless! Hope you will host another hike soon. Gaily yours In Jesus, Russ F. GO member

Hiking, backpacking, camping or vacation adventures, GayOutdoors [GO] has been the LGBTQ outdoorzy community leader for the last 22 years. We are an informal group of diverse hiking enthusiasts in the United States with a shared love of the mountains who prefer hiking with friends. We invite you to join us on our hikes, to post hikes for other members to join you and to share your hiking photos, stories and advice.

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