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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Carrigain
Livermore, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking down the Desolation Trail
Looking down the Desolation Trail

Route: Signal Ridge Trail, Carrigain Notch Trail, Desolation Trail, (Mt. Carrigain), Signal Ridge Trail, (bushwhack), Signal Ridge Trail, (bushwhack)

Another mediocre forecast - of course, in recent weeks, mediocre was great.

The first set of water crossings on the Signal Ridge Trail were rather high - certainly a bit higher than in late spring. After working my way across the first crossing on the Carrigain Notch Trail, I was constantly dealing with either pooled or flowing water on the trail. Shortly after passing the traditional Vose Spur bushwhack starting point (a boulder with stepping stones around it), the trail soon turned a corner and ascended a bit more steeply.

After reaching the height of land on the trail and entering the wilderness, things became even more wet. At one point, the trail was a constant stream for a very extended portion - no waterbars or anything.

Eventually I reached an old railroad grade and soon, I believe, the site of the Desolation Shelter. At that point, it was a bit of a headscratcher, as there were a few possible places for the trail to go. Alas, it crossed a brook and continued on a railroad grade.

Next, the Desolation Trail became gradually steep. Though billed in some places as seemingly being end-of-the-world tough, it reminded me of a longer version of the ascent up North Hancock (certainly nothing easy!). While the footing wasn't particularly great, I didn't find it to be as bad as much more popular trails, such as some of the ones up Cannon.

Reaching the summit, I had decent views, despite being sandwiched between two rain storms. Meeting up with some other hikes, I took a leisurely break, before descending the Signal Ridge Trail.

Just after dropping off Signal Ridge, a thunderstorm moved in and hung around for a mile or two. After bushwhacking back to the Carrigain Notch Trail (for a downed-tree crossing) and then bushwhacking to avoid the last set of Signal Ridge crossings, we soon arrived in the parking lot in better weather.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Mt. Carrigain
Length: Difficult
Steepness: Very Difficult
Navigation: Moderate
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Saturday, July 4, 2009
Hike Commenced: 7:54 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,370'
Destination: Mt. Carrigain
Ascent Commenced: 7:55 AM
Summit Reached: 11:49 AM
Time Elapsed: 03:54
Trailhead Elevation: 1,370'
Summit Elevation: 4,700'
Distance: 8.5 miles
Vertical Gain: 4,030'
Hike Ended: 4:05 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 08:11
Hike Distance: 13.5 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 4,230'

Signal Ridge Trail trailhead on Sawyer River Road
Signal Ridge Trail trailhead on Sawyer River Road

A buttercup at the Signal Ridge Trail trailhead
A buttercup at the Signal Ridge Trail trailhead

Looking at Signal Ridge, Mt. Tremont, and in the distance, the Moats and Chocorua, from the Mt. Carrigain summit tower - Click to enlarge
Looking at Signal Ridge, Mt. Tremont, and in the distance, the Moats and Chocorua, from the Mt. Carrigain summit tower

Directions to trailhead: Take Route 302 West from Bartlett to Sawyer River Road. WMNF fee parking lot is a few minutes up the dirt road on the left. Trailhead is across the road.

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