Note: We look for public access, sufficient parking and request permission from any private lands before listing a hiking trail on our site.
Sugarloaf Mountain – Elwell Trail, Bristol/Alexandria town line
View of Newfound Lake from Big Sugarloaf. (Directions for hiking Little and Big Sugarloaf and Bear Mt. are in the AMC Hikers Guide to Southern NH — as are all of the trails around Cardigan.)
Park at the hiker’s parking across from Wellington State Park on West Shore Road in Alexandria. As you start out on the Elwell Trail from the parking lot, a snowmobile trail veers right. Be sure to follow the blazes to stay on the hiking trail. A bit further on there is a trail that leads left to Goose Pond. Not far – and a pretty picnic spot.
Little Sugarloaf is less than 1 mile to the summit. It is an easy hike in winter or summer.
A great little hike to introduce small children to the joys of peakbagging. I’ve seen 4 year olds at the top picnicking with their familes. View Newfound Lake from the top. If you look west, you can look down onto Goose Pond. Goose Pond, where loons, wood ducks and mergansers are often seen, is a nice side trip on the way down from Little Sugarloaf. Trail blazes are easy to spot.
Big Sugarloaf is accessed by traversing Little Sugarloaf and following blazes down into the saddle that separates the 2 peaks. You will then climb Big Sugarloaf. From the top of Big Sugarloaf, you can see far to the northeast and have a much broader view of the Newfound Region.
For those who don’t like to backtrack, leave one car on Bear Mt. Road in Hebron where the old Carriage Road veers left and Bear Mt. Road veers right. Then hike from the Elwell Trail at Wellington State Park to Big Sugarloaf and follow blazes down a steep trail to the Carriage Road and hike to your car.
At the intersection of the Carriage Road and the trail leading up to Big Sugarloaf, you can also access the Bear Mt. Trail and climb Bear Mt. too! Beware that it is rarely used, steep and sometimes confusing.
Cardigan Mountain Trails AMC, Alexandria.
Directions: From US 3A North in Bristol, turn left onto West Shore Road and in 1.9 miles, go straight on Cardigan Mountain Road. Bear right at fork onto Fowler River Road. In 3.2 miles, take left fork onto Brook Road. In another 1.1 miles, turn right onto Shem Valley Road and bear right at schoolhouse. In 1.3 miles, parking on left across from AMC’s Cardigan Lodge.