In late April, I was working on an article for Liftopia.com about free things for families to do at ski areas during the summer.
Many ski areas and resorts provided me with information, some of which I’m sharing on Facebook this summer.
Ragged Mountain Resort in New Hampshire went above and beyond, submitting the following hiking guide from Max DesMarais an avid outdoorsman and founder of Hiking and Fishing, an online resource to inspire people to get outdoors.
I am happy to share it with you.
Ragged Mountain: Get Outside in Every Season
During the winter, Ragged Mountain Resort is known for its great skiing on 1,250 feet of vertical drop and terrain park. Come summer, it might be easy to overlook this winter playground, but that would be a mistake given the various and gorgeous hikes in close proximity to the mountain.
Trails at Ragged Mountain
Hiking on Ragged Mountain itself is moderately difficult, offering views of nearby Newfound Lake, Mount Cardigan, Mount Moosilaukee, and other New Hampshire peaks.
Hikers can choose to ascend Ragged Mountain, Ragged Mountain West Peak, and Balanced Rock (correctly named), from Ragged Mountain Ski Area via the skiing trails, the New Canada Road Trailhead, or the Proctor Academy Trailhead.
The trails outside the ski slopes are a part of the Sunapee Ragged Kearsarge Greenway trail network that is a 75 mile loop trail system that connects summits, state parks, and state forests in central New Hampshire.
Ragged is located only an hour south of Franconia Notch where there is access to Franconia Ridge, and many other NH 4,000 footers. All hikes listed below are within a 30-minute drive, and have excellent views.
Mount Cardigan is a stunning and relatively quick hike suitable for active families. A 3-mile round trip, it is doable in only a few hours, and delivers incredible views at the summit. Rising 3,155 feet above sea level, Cardigan is a frequently trafficked family hike.
The most common route up is via the West Ridge Trail located at the end of Cardigan Mountain road. The trail features a lot of exposed steep granite near the summit and can be slippery when wet or icy.
The trailhead to Mount Kearsarge, a 2,937 foot mountain, is located less than 30 minutes from Ragged Mountain. Kearsarge is located within two state parks, Winslow State Park, and Rollins State Park. This gives hikers and families a ton of opportunities for outdoor activities beyond summiting Kearsarge.
The summit of Kearsarge features a fire tower that enables visitors to see as far south as Boston on a clear day, and also see many more mountains to the north.
Parking is located at the Winslow State Park Picnic area where there are two options to hike to the summit, the Barlow Trail, and the Winslow Trail. Each are moderate options, and are often both done (one up, one down). The Winslow Trail is 1.1 miles to the summit, and the Barlow Trail is 1.7 miles to the summit.
Hikers can also choose to hike up the other side of Kearsarge from Rollins State Park (a .5 mile hike). However, this is a slightly longer drive from Ragged Mountain.
Danbury Bog Wildlife Management Area
Danbury Bog Wildlife Management Area is located just a short 10 minute drive from Ragged, and is a fantastic family picnic, birdwatching, canoeing, and short hiking area. If you like canoeing, kayaking, birds, frogs, turtles, and other pond wildlife, this is a great spot to visit.
Lake Sunapee may not be known for hiking, but for those that love beautiful lakes and boating, it is great to know that the lake is only a short 30 minute drive from Ragged Mountain. Looking for a beach day? Lake Sunapee State Park is only about 40 minutes away from Ragged.
The Rest of New Hampshire
This is by no means a complete list of all of the great outdoor places to visit within a short drive of Ragged Mountain. Not only is there far more within 30 minutes, but if you are willing to drive an hour to an hour and a half, New Hampshire has some absolutely incredible short and easy, as well as long and strenuous hikes for all ability levels.
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