Faye exiting cave

Mount Morgan and Mount Percival Loop

Mountains:  Mt. Morgan (2220'), Mt. Percival (2212')
Trails:  Mount Morgan Trail, Crawford-Ridgepole Trail, Mount Percival Trail, Morgan-Percival Connector
Region:  NH - Central East  
Lakes Region
Location:  Holderness, NH
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Summits, views, ledges, loop hike, caves, ladders
Distance:  5.3 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1575 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 3:30  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 6:30  
Season:  Spring
Hike Date:  05/06/2006 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  05/17/2011  
Author:  Diane King
Companion:  17 SDHers

Cliffs and ladders right below Mount Morgan's summit Route Summary   

This moderate loop hike over Mount Morgan and Mount Percival offers great lake and mountain views from each summit as well as the option to experience ladders and caves.

  • Start at the Mount Morgan Trailhead and follow it for 1.7 miles until it meets with Crawford-Ridgepole Trail.
  • Turn right and follow this path for about 0.4 mile. Mount Morgan Trail and Crawford-Ridgepole Trail coincide for this section. After about 0.2 mile there will be a series of ladders on the left leading up to a boulder cave that must be passed through before reaching Mount Morgan's cliff-top viewpoint.
  • The less adventurous should ignore the ladders and continue about 0.2 mile farther on the main trail before turning left to tackle the last part of Mount Morgan Trail, leaving Crawford-Ridgepole Trail behind. After 90 yards you will reach a fork. Bear left/straight to reach the cliff-top viewpoint in just 50 yards; or veer right to reach the true summit of Mount Morgan after 50 yards.
  • Return to Crawford-Ridgepole Trail, turn left, and follow this route for 0.8 mile which will bring you to the summit of Mount Percival.
  • For the descent, follow Mount Percival Trail. After less than 0.1 mile you will reach a trail junction, where on the way up one could opt to take a very rough route up to the summit by way of a boulder cave.
  • Continue descending on Mount Percival Trail for 1.7 miles at which point there will be a junction with Morgan-Percival Connector.
  • Turn right onto Morgan-Percival Connector and follow it for 0.5 mile to its end.
  • Finally turn left and follow Mount Morgan Trail for 0.1 mile back to the parking area.

Place         Split
Mount Morgan Trailhead (800') 0.0 0.0
Jct. Morgan-Percival Connector/Mount Morgan Trail (820') 0.1 0.1
Lower Jct. Mount Morgan Trail/Crawford-Ridgepole Trail (1850') 1.6 1.7
Upper Jct. Mount Morgan Trail/Crawford-Ridgepole Trail 0.4 2.1
Mount Morgan (2220') 0.05 2.15
Upper Jct. Mount Morgan Trail/Crawford-Ridgepole Trail 0.05 2.2
Mount Percival (2212') 0.8 3.0
Jct. Mount Percival Trail/Morgan-Percival Connector (850') 1.7 4.7
Jct. Morgan-Percival Connector/Mount Morgan Trail (820') 0.5 5.2
Mount Morgan Trailhead (800') 0.1 5.3



Trail map of hike route to Mount Morgan and Mount Percival (map by Webmaster)

Trail Guide   

The hike on Mount Morgan Trail is a moderate hike with lake and mountain views. We did a loop over to Mount Percival with slight ledge climbing required on the last 0.1 mile up Percival's summit.

Seventeen people and three furry friends plus numerous black flies departed Morgan Trailhead parking lot near 10:30 a.m. The Mount Morgan Trail starts as an overgrown woods road at the far end of parking lot. At 0.1 mile, a half-mile connector leaves right to circle around to Mount Percival Trail while the main trail continues to ascend on an old road with occasional bypasses of eroded or wet sections. The trail was relatively dry and we had gradual gain for about a mile and a half and reached an intersection with Crawford-Ridgepole Trail at 1.7 miles. To the left, the Crawford-Ridgepole heads toward Mount Webster, while we took the right toward Mount Morgan. At 1.9 miles, another intersection is reached with a side path on the left.

Viewing Squam Lake from Mount Percival This second intersection path runs left along a cliff base to a series of three ladders, with the step from the second to the third being particularly exciting (but you can take a path to the right to avoid doing the ladders if you choose). From the ladders you pass through a cave and climb up and around another cliff to a viewpoint of Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee. Most folks braved the ladders but a few of us went around with the dogs to the top. We had a nice view of Squam Lake and its many islands and lunched at Mount Morgan's summit. The black flies enjoyed our company a bit more than we did theirs.

After visiting Mount Morgan, we followed Crawford-Ridgepole Trail for 0.8 mile through a pretty wooded and rocky section to Mount Percival Trail. Along the way we met up with another of our group who had missed us at the parking lot and summit. At the Percival summit we had even more room to loll about and enjoy the view, chitchat and inspect the cliff area overlooking the "unseen" caves.

We headed down the trail and quickly came across another split where you could head straight down to the parking area or over to the caves. Half the group inspected the cave area and a few crawled through and found, to the left, the trail leading back up to the Percival summit. There was some confusion at this point since few of us knew the cave area but Donna expertly maneuvered those in the cave back to the summit trail. Donna Rocks and Girls do too!

On the Morgan-Percival hike Dennis located the stranded hikers and everyone headed back down until we met the connector tail back to Mount Morgan Trail which brought us back to where we started. We arrived back at the parking lot at varying intervals with a few cuts and bruises, the hallmark of a "really good" hike.

Our concierge, Jeff, directed us to an ice cream restaurant a few miles down the road. We got there a little after 3:30 and the sign on the window said they didn't open until 4:00 p.m. It is hard to keep ice cream deprived hikers waiting and the majority split for home. Our concierge reports they waited and found Brown Sundaes, and Kahlua and Bailey's ice cream. (I didn't know there was a bar in the area?) If we knew the pickings were going to be that good, we probably all would have waited!

A big welcome to the several new people who joined us today and added to the excitement of the day; we hope to see you again soon.

Donna gets the "gold star award" for having the ingenuity to collect ice from the cave and deliver it to the hiker who had a bump on the head from a fall. Good thinking Donna.

NH - Central East

  Driving Directions   

The trailhead for Mount Morgan Trail is located in Holderness, New Hampshire along Route 113.

The loop starts from the Mount Morgan Trailhead.

From I-93:
  • From I-93, take Exit 24 and follow Rt. 3 South to Holderness.
  • From Holderness, get on Rt. 113 and follow it northeast for 5.5 miles.
  • The parking area will be on the left. There is also parking on the right side of the road at the Rattlesnake trailhead.

From the East:
  • From the junction of Rt. 113 and Rt. 109 in Center Sandwich, follow Rt. 113 southwest for 6.3 miles.
  • The parking area will be on the right. There is also parking on the left side of the road at the Rattlesnake trailhead.

Note that the Mount Percival Trailhead is 0.3 mile southwest of the Mount Morgan parking area. Parking for this trail is at the end of a short gravel road.

Other Notes   

Note that this trail may be closed during mud season.

More Mt. Morgan and Mt. Percival Trail Reports   


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