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Mt. Carrigain via Desolation Trail NH - 4 days in the Pemigewasset Wilderness

Date and Time

Friday, September 18, 2020 10:00AM - Monday, September 21, 2020 3:00PM


Signal Ridge Trailhead Bartlett NH,
New Hampshire, White Mountains,


Registration is required for this activity.


This 4 day three night backpack is generally over easy to moderate terrain except for the short steep climb of Carrigain from the north via the Desolation Trail. Carrigain at 4,700' is #13 on the 4,000 footer list. Overall gain/(loss) is 4,450'/(4,450'). Our trip route is an out and back from the Signal Ridge Trailhead. We start on Friday with a 6.5 mile backpack up Signal Ridge Trail to the Carrigain Notch Trail which we will take around Carrigain to avoid the crowds to climb it from the back side on Saturday. Our day will include about 1,300' of elevation gain. We base camp for all three nights on the north side of Carrigain. This trip includes 2 climbing days with one hard day and one easy day. Whichever day has the best weather we will climb Carrigain via the Desolation Trail, a 1.9 mile 2,500' ascent and then 2,500' descent back to camp after. The other hiking day will be to head north on the Shoal Pond Trail to Shoal Pond and back to camp for a total of 7 miles round trip with about 650' of elevation gain. If we have enough time and the weather is good we will take a side hike to a nice cascade area off the main trail. Monday we retrace our steps back to our cars for an additional 6.5 miles. Total miles covered is 23.8. Pace will be fairly slow but steady. Part of this backpack is a scouting trip for the leaders. We have done all of this route recently except for the Carrigain Notch Trail and the side hike off the Shoal Pond Trail. This area tends to be wet and boggy and there are a number of stream crossings. Water shoes required along with leader required bear canister or Ursack. Temperatures may be cool at night. No campfires allowed. Open to those in good physical condition with previous backpacking experience. If we have not hiked together previously please include more detail in your registration form about trips you have been on, who the leaders were and a way for me to contact them for a reference. Contact leader for more information.

AMC Trip Policy



Related Link(s):

A photo album of a previous trip to a portion of this backpack
Mt. Carrigain Information
All Trails map of the area

Driving Directions

Click map for driving directions

This backpack starts and ends at the Signal Ridge Trailhead. Due to wilderness group size limits you must register for the trip in advance. Anyone who shows up without registering will be turned away.

View from the summit of Carrigain.



Offered By

N.Y. - North Jersey



Nearby AMC Destination

Highland Center at Crawford Notch




Adults (18+)


I have been leading backpacking trips for the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Adirondack Mountain Club since 1975. I enjoy taking the time to look at the scenery and have a relatively slow pace. I am patient with beginners and enjoy helping them learn new skills.


(Email this person.)

"It's not about the miles you hike, it's about the memories you make." Every step, every turn of the head, brings a new view of the world into focus. Rushing past the beauty of the mountains and forests is not my way.