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Cardigan State Park

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General Information

Description - Cardigan State Park's main feature is Mt. Cardigan which towers at 3,121 feet above sea level. Volunteer groups are instrumental in maintaining the clean and inviting environment.

Attractions - Mt. Cardigan has been a popular mountain destination since the early 1800's and especially since 1867 when a carriage road was built to the summit at a cost of $200. In 1855 a devastating forest fire left the treeless, exposed granite mountaintop that persists today. A wooden fire lookout, built in 1904, was replaced by a steel tower in 1924. The state of New Hampshire acquired 700 acres in Orange in 1918 and formed the Mount Cardigan State Reservation. Today the reservation contains more than 5,000 acres in Orange and Alexandria. A big boost came to the park in 1933 when the Civilian Conservation Corps built trails and a new entrance road and extended a telephone line to the fire tower. The reservation has been, and continues to be, the beneficiary of a remarkable civilian effort.

Recreation - This carry-in / carry-out park is used primarily for hiking to the summit of Mt. Cardigan. No camping at this park.

Climate - Winter can be cold with average temperatures ranging around 19 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold temperatures humidity bring heavy, water-laden snow to all parts of the state. Spring begins in mid-March and lasts through May. This time of the year is referred to as mud season in the mountains. The sugar is flowing early in the season and wild flowers bloom toward the end of it. Summer is the busiest season of the year for the tourism industry. This is an excellent time to travel, mountain roads are open and most of the mud has dried. Average summer temperatures range around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall brings the leaf lookers to see the spectacular colors of the deciduous trees. Expect to see bus loads of people enjoying the crisp fall New England weather.

Location - From SR 118 in Canaan, travel New Colony Road to the park.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Jim
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Go in the winter , alone , its cold , snowy, windy, and it takes like 3 hours to hike , oh yeah and dont forget your snow shoes or your sunk.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I went with McKelvie Middle School with 300 of my peers. This is the 30th year McK has been doing this I will never forget this trip. I highly reccomend taking the Holt trail to the summit. When you get to the top you have such a great feeling of accomplishment. It was a lot of work and if you looked at what was in front of you, you would automatically think that you couldn't make it to the top because it was so impossible. The entire top section of the mountain is a rock face because of a fire long ago. There was a lot of serious climbing, some was pretty steep. I reccommend staying to the side, finding cracks in the rock and sections of dead brush and stuff to hold onto. Position your hands and decide where you're going to grab onto next before you even think about moving. Windy at the top pack a hat. Holt is twice as hard as Alexandria but half the time. Really dangerous to go down the Holt.

More Information

Contact Information:
Cardigan State Park, P.O. Box 123 , Greenfield, NG, 03047, Phone: 603-927-4096

Additional Information:
New Hampshire State Parks - The state of New Hampshire has over 65 state park facilities ranging from historic sites and woodland picnic groves to beautiful sand beaches.

New Hampshire State Parks - Official New Hampshire State Parks Website


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