Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Vose Spur, Mt. Carrigain, NH
Trails: Signal Ridge Trail, Carrigain Notch Trail, herd path, bushwhack, Desolation Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Friday, August 9, 2019
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Sawyer River Road is in very good shape which was great to see :) It’s a bit narrow even for a dirt road in the White Mountains and steeply drops on one side so please go slow and be careful!  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: With lower water recently the crossings were your pretty standard rock hop. They can be tricky in high water though.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Although there were likely a few blowdowns, I don’t remember any other than on the herd path so the trails are likely in very good shape :) Keep in mind, that some of these trails or parts of them are in the Pemigewasset Wilderness so they won’t have blaze on them. That said, there was strangely yellow blaze on the section of Carrigain Notch Trail between Desolation Trail and Stillwater jct but nowhere else on the trail as I recall. Although easy to follow throughout, I think Signal Ridge Trail is only blazed in its lower section (to jct with Carrigain Notch Trail) in yellow. I had no problem following any of these trails. See herd path/bushwhack conditions under “Comments” section as well as some notes about undermined sections of trail.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: I didn’t see any and this hike wouldn’t be suitable for most dogs given the steep bushwhack and the very steep, rocky, and rough Desolation Trail.  
Bugs: I chose to apply bug spray on shortly into the hike as the mosquitos were getting to me. Not very numerous though and no black flies  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Took out an empty water bottle I found along the herd path to Vose Spur.  
Comments: My third time to Carrigain for the grid and my first time to Vose Spur for the NH500. Signal Ridge Trail —> Carrigain Notch Trail —> herd path to Vose Spur —> bushwhack part way down to col between Vose Spur and shoulder (?) of Carrigain —> herd path back to Carrigain Notch Trail —> Carrigain Notch Trail to Stillwater jct —> Carrigain Notch Trail back to Desolation Trail jct —> Desolation Trail to summit of Carrigain —> Signal Ridge Trail back to car.

The trail was wet in the morning from recent rain but it dried out in a few hours. There was more consistent mud than I’ve tecently seen but the mud was never very soft or deep surprisingly.

Signal Ridge Trail was its usual fine self. Overall, Carrigain Notch Trail wasn’t quite as easy as I’d anticipated it to be but was in decent shape. Several washed out sections from the jct with Signal Ridge Trail to the height of land from prior storms but they’re all pretty small/minimal compared to say the washout along Wild River (Highwater Trail, Wild River Trail, etc.). My eye did catch one undermined section of trail that I leaped over though. The section from the HOL to Stillwater jct was nicer and from Nancy Pond Trail to Stillwater jct was a very nice section with soft footing similar to the lovely parts of Ethan Pond and Nancy Pons Trails that is redliners all know and love :) Desolation Trail also has some eroded and undermined steps and bits of trail that should be fixed but overall was in okay shape. This trail gets extremely steep and rough just an FYI though.

The herd path to Vose Spur is pretty well established so has become pretty popular by people who don’t really have good map and compass skills. If that’s you, I’d recommend at least having a GPS to know where you are or tracking your ascent in Gaia or some other hiking app so that you can find your way back down as the herd path is much more difficult to find on the descent. There is pink and orange surveyors tape marking the path and at times is very useful. Although most report issues following the herd path on the way up the ridge (and I did look around a bit here on the descent) I had the hardest time following it in a rough and rocky section in between the talus slope and the where it flattens our up top. On the descent, go down some steep rock stairs, turn right, then left into some thicker trees by some pick tape (I missed this turn). Also, the herd path enters the trees again on the talus slope at two points: if you’d like to traverse the slope as briefly as possible like I did (it was looser than I imagined and I’ve been on a few slides) you can go up towards your left where it enters the trees and is marked with pink tape. You can also traverse up and to your right a longer ways and enter the trees by a cairn.

Though I’m sure there were a few doing out-and-backs to Carrigain via Signal Ridge Trail, the only hiker I saw all day was beginning to head down as I just ascended the firetower. He popped back up to say hello as he hadn’t seen anyone either (he also did the loop but without doing Vose Spur and going all the way to Stillwater jct). I was glad he did as we decided to hike down together and I learned a lot from this Colorado man about the 14ers out there that I’m hoping to travel to next year :)  
Name: Liam Cooney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2019-08-11 
Link: https:// 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

Copyright 2009-2019, All Rights Reserved