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