Ski or Snowshoe to High Cabin

New Hampshire Cardigan Lodge Parking Lot

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High Cabin sits protected in the forest but offers pristine views off the front deck. It is located two miles in from the base of Cardigan Lodge and is 1/2 mile from the summit. Mount Cardigan offers 360 degree views from the peak and is home to original New England backcountry ski trails.

High Cabin, located in Cardigan State Forest, is owned and operated by the Appalacian Mountian Club (AMC). It was originally built in 1931 and since renovated in 2004. Renovations included new roof, siding, bunk beds, wood stove and composting toilet. It comes supplied with wood, bunks(stacked 3 high) and mattress pads for 12, table and benches, dry sink, two-burner propane stove, propane, composting toilet, broom and dust pan.

Make your reservations early in the season. Reservations are for exclusive use of your group. Begin your journey from Cardigan Lodge, 774 Shem Valley Rd, Alexandria, NH 03222 (43°38'57.9"N 71°52'39.2"W) where you can purchase last minute supplies, use the restroom, get weather reports and fill your water bottles. Head up the Holt Trail one mile to Grand Junction. Here continue up the Holt-Clark Cuttoff to Clark Trail. At the top of Clark Trail you intersect with a small part of the Alexandria Ski Trail. Take care as this part can become extremely icy, if on skis you may want to remove them. Continue up a short distance to PJ Ledge for great views and here you will see a sign and a trail to High Cabin. About 200 yards in you will see the quaint secluded cabin waiting for your arrival!

There is plenty to do on Cardigan Mountain during the day. Ski the Alexandria Trail is a .6 mile intermediate run which ends back at Grand Junction. From there you skin back up on Holt-Clark Cuttoff to Clark Trail (1 mile) to form a loop. From the cabin it is a 1/2 mile hike up to the summit of Mount Cardigan which offers a large rock covered peak, 360 degree views and a fire tower. Firescrew mountain is next door and offers another popular ski trail, Duke's Ski Trail.

To access Dukes with skis you ski down almost back to the base near Cardigan Lodge, but before reaching the lodge head up into Dukes Pasture and onto the Duke's trail, you skin up and ski down on the trail. You can continue on past the head of the ski trail onto the Manning Trail and ski Firescrew summit snowfields as weather permits. Spend your evening by the toasty wood stove with good food and drink. Pack out what you packed in and leave the cabin cleaner than you found it!

AMC Website:

Pack List

  • Reservations call 603-466-2727. Check availability:
  • Combination for lock on cabin
  • Map
  • Touring gear, snowshoes and/or micro spikes
  • Backpack*Layers
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Food
  • Water (unreliable stream, can melt snow if available)
  • Snacks
  • Adult Beverages
  • Cooking & Eating utensils (some there but unreliable)
  • Trashbag
  • Headlamp and any other means to light the cabin at night (flashlight, lantern, candles)
  • Pillow
  • Slippers
  • Toilet Paper
  • Means to clean dishes (Paper towels/cloth/sponge)
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Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:




Trail Type:



4 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1275 Feet




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about 1 year ago

Great Weekend Trip

Great group activity, the cabin was really nice and cozy. The hike was pretty and it was fun to ski down. Would love to do this again!

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Fun little adventure to plan with a group!

over 1 year ago

Added by Leah Joy

Recreation Therapist professionally. On my own time I love to pursue adventures- Ski, Bike, Hike are my favorites!

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