Mount Carrigain (4,682 feet) is one of the most popular of the NH 48 due to its outstanding 360 degree views, and gorgeous ridge line trail. This 10 mile hike is worth it before you even hit the summit. A fire tower at the summit gives hikers an incredible view of nearly all of the 4000 footers. There are a few trail options that we will discuss below.
Height: 4,682 feet (1,427.1 m)
Length: 10 miles round trip (16.09 km)
Duration: 5-8 hours
Elevation Gain: 3,250 feet (990.6 m)
Video by Joseph Getts of Getts Wild
Signal Ridge Trail – 10 miles
This is the most popular route up Carrigain. This 10 mile round trip trail starts off Sawyer road, and features amazing views from Signal Ridge. The first two miles of the hike don’t feature much elevation gain, but the final three miles get more difficult. This trail features 3,220 feet of elevation gain from Sawyer Road to the summit. Keep in mind that Sawyer road is not maintained in winter. When the road is closed you will have to walk an extra 2.1 miles each way. Adding 4.2 miles to your hike. The link to check road status is below.
Once hikers ascend to Signal Ridge, they get incredible views, and a few fantastic places to sit for lunch. Hikers are exposed to the elements on the ridge, but the views of the Whites are outstanding.
During rainy times, or spring when water levels can get high, the stream crossing early on in the hike can be difficult. Some may want to remove boots to wade across.
Trail Map – Signal Ridge
The desolation trail is a far less traveled option and features a 1.9 mile very steep section up the other side of Mt. Carrigain. You can access this trail from the signal ridge trail. You can also take the Nancy Pond Trail to the Desolation Trail. You can see directions to this trail below.
Winter Hiking Mount Carrigain
Carrigain is a great option for winter hiking, but keep in mind that Sawyer Road is closed in Winter adding around 4 miles to your winter hike. Most of the hike is gradual and consistent gain. In winter, you should also have either Microspikes or Snowshoes for Carrigain on you. Snowshoes are recommended in times of high snow, especially after recent snowfall.
To Signal Ridge Trailhead on Sawyer Road. Sawyer Road can be shut down in winter meaning you will have to park at the beginning of the road where there is a parking lot. Making you have to park just off of 302. Check this website for road closage: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/whitemountain/home/?cid=stelprdb5183538
Want to take a look at mount Carrigain from the distance? Zeacliff has some awesome views. Read about Zealand Mountain
To Signal Ridge Trailhead:
Directions to Nancy Pond Trailhead
Scattered snow showers after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. West wind 15 to 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
A chance of snow showers before 8am, then a chance of snow showers and a slight chance of freezing rain between 8am and noon, then rain and snow likely between noon and 2pm, then rain and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Cloudy, with a high near 37. Southwest wind 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Rain before 7pm, then rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. Wind chill values as low as 0. Northwest wind 20 to 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
A chance of snow before 8am, then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 25. Wind chill values as low as -4. Northwest wind 35 to 45 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. Northwest wind 40 to 45 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
A slight chance of snow showers before 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 37. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
Mostly clear, with a low around 30.
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about