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.
Video by Joseph Getts of Getts Wild
Height: 4,700 feet (1,432.6 m)
Length: 10 miles round trip (16.09 km)
Duration: 5-8 hours
Elevation Gain: 3,250 feet (990.6 m)
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.
Signal Ridge Trail Map
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
Partly sunny, with a high near 51. Northwest wind 20 to 30 mph.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 38. Northwest wind 15 to 20 mph.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 52. North wind 10 to 20 mph.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 37. North wind 10 to 20 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 54. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 39.
Sunny, with a high near 59.
Trail Conditions from May 2017:
Wet trail conditions. This is pretty common for May, however this was especially the case today with all of the recent rain. Large sections where boots are highly recommended due to pretty deep mud. In addition, the one larger river crossing early on in the hike required removing boots and wading barefoot across the river. There were no decent crossing points within sight. Very small amounts of ice at high elevations. Trails were in good shape other than slightly more wet than normal. Nothing was especially difficult other than the river crossing. Highly recommend hiking boots, and the willingness to get some cold feet.