View Full Version : Cardigan Questions

08-14-2007, 09:52 AM
Yes sapblatt - there are mountains in NH outside of WMNF! :D

A question on Cardigan - I am going to take my 4 year old son Aaron hiking and camping again soon - thinking about Cardigan. He loves scrambles, hates long forest walks. I know that Holt is more than he should attempt at this age and experience level, but I want ideas on which trails to take that have a good amount of open rock etc without too much danger. To get an idea of what he likes and can handle - he loved the Welch-Dickey loop.

Any ideas are appreciated.

Thanks! :)

08-14-2007, 10:37 AM
Hey Mike,

I've only done the loop from the AMC lodge (Clark + Manning trails), but there wasn't much scrambling until just before the summit. It was mostly a quiet forest walk until that point.

This totally isn't an answer to your question, but I just wanted to say check out Welton Falls if you start from the AMC lodge side and have the extra time/desire to. Also, nearby Wellington State Park is an awesome place for lunch. It's 5 miles from the lodge.

- Greg

08-14-2007, 10:56 AM
Some of the trails from the west are super easy if that is of interest.


08-14-2007, 01:12 PM
The West Ridge trail was my kid's first "big mountain" hike. It's 1.5 miles to the top. We even camped at the Hermitage shelter which is long gone. (I'm showing my age). It's a fun mountain. After reaching the top, the trip over to Firescrew has lots of open rocks.

08-14-2007, 01:32 PM
West Ridge is definitely the way to go. The last 1/3 to 1/2 mile is on open rock. If you are feeling ambitious, you can always add on to the hike by going over to Firescrew, or by descending the Clark and South Ridge Trails over the South Summit and Rimrock. Heads up, though: the descent off Clark is much trickier (steeper) than West Ridge.

If you want to ascend from the east, the Manning Trail works well, although longer. The Clark Trail is good, too, although the last scramble may be a bit tricky for a little guy. DO NOT try the Holt Trail; that trail is too much for many adults to handle. There is no way you would want a someone that young on that trail.

Cardigan is a great summit. Enjoy!

08-14-2007, 03:00 PM
Mike, have a blast. I think Cardigan would be perfect for a young kid who enjoys hikes. And with good weather, you can enjoy lunch on the rocks! Have fun!

08-15-2007, 09:18 AM
I just did this hike on Thursday 8/9 with my wife and kids (2 boys, ages 9 and 12). They loved it. Plenty of rock scrambling in the last half-mile that would be fairly easy even for a 4-year-old.

If you do decide to go, make sure you get directions to the West Ridge trail. If you end up arriving at the east side (near the AMC lodge), you'll have a tough time figuring out how to drive over to the west side.

Another hike that's about the same distance, and with some rock scrambling along the way, is the Boulder Loop trail on Mt. Major in Alton Bay. That would be a somewhat shorter drive from Peabody.

08-15-2007, 10:28 AM
Also, I'm not sure if you remember this thread from a couple years ago, but there was a thread that listed something like 40 trails with great scrambling in New England.

I can't seem to find it though...maybe somebody else can?

Jason Berard
08-15-2007, 01:57 PM
West Ridge is definitely the way to go. My kids love that trail! (ages 5 & 7)
If you wanted to do a loop, I would go down the South Ridge trail on the way down. You could stay overnight in the High Cabin and make it an overnight as well.

08-15-2007, 08:54 PM
I echo Jason's response. I know the West Ridge trail quite well. He can do it in sneakers even. Once you cross the log bridge (it has a name, my age is robbing me of that particular recall at the moment), you start to come into the ledgy rock area. Be careful of a couple sharp turns, one down low (trail goes to the left over the waterfall section..imagine it in winter conditions! is well signed, but moreso once you are level with it than approaching it, and a small cairn holds a trail on the ledgy area directing you to the AMC lodge, this circumvents the summit. Hope you like fire towers, the little one will enjoy visiting with the ranger up top if he's on duty when you climb.
For driving, go to Canaan center (small green) on RT 4. You will fork to the left (if you are traveling east) onto 118. Go slow in this section as the Canaan police love out of state cars (if indeed you are one) I personally spent time getting to know officer Timothy as he wrote me a "love note'!!! Just past the police station a samll distance you will see a sign for the Canaan Motor Speedway. Turn right here (Orange Rd) and just keep driving. The road eventually turns right, then becomes a dirt road. You will then come upon a road to the sharp left with an open gate(Cardigan Mountain Rd), this is the summer road to the parking lot for the West Ridge Trail, if you continue on the lower dirt road without turning, i can't tell you where it comes out..sorry. There is a small dirt parking area also at the turn up to the summer lot, as this is the winter parking access. It is always windy on top of Cardigan, bring a light coat for your son...enjoy, ctsparrow

08-16-2007, 02:13 PM
My daughter was like that. She could not differentiate boring from tired. A hike to a fire tower is always good, so Cardigan is one that I would do. If you ever have the time, there are alot of great ones to keep you busy for a week in Acadia. The Beehive is a favorite (others are Precipice, Penobscot/Sargent, Mt. St. Sauveur) and I took her when she was 6. She just started reading and understood when the sign said something about the open exposure and difficulty of the trail (ladders and rungs). She then got her motivation level up. A couple of other scrambles in the Whites that are fun are Artists Bluff over Echo Lake with a swim at the end. Mt. Willard is another and if you want a walk in the woods along streams, there are many waterfalls that are short walks with alot of bang for the buck. My favorite for a young child is Bridalveil Falls on the Coppermine Trail.

Another fantastic hike is Tumbledown Mountain going up the Loop Trail. Aaron will love the boulder cave and then swim in Tumbledown Pond and then descend the Brook Trail.

Lastly, Go in and out of Mahoosuc Notch via the Notch Trail (less than 2 miles of boring woodland walking and then the fun begins) from the Berlin Lumber road. Go in as far as you can and then go back. I did that with my daughter - age 7. The Notch is exhilarating. My daughter made me go back when she was 18 just to repeat that trek for the memories, just then we went all the way to Old Speck and out.

Also, take him to The Lost River tourist attraction and The Flume. Those are great although there is a tourist fee and they are a little tame.