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.
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
Mostly sunny, with a high near 23. South wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Patchy freezing drizzle after 9pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. Southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
Patchy freezing drizzle before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 31. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
A chance of snow showers and a chance of freezing rain before 11pm, then snow showers likely and a slight chance of sleet and a slight chance of freezing rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23. Southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible. Little or no ice accumulation expected.
Snow showers likely before 7am, then snow. Cloudy, with a high near 28. West wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 2. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of around one inch possible.
A slight chance of snow before 7am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 7. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about