Tree on Mount Morgan with Squam Lake in the background (photo by Mark Malnati)

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:  5.5 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1575 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 3:35  
Outing Duration:  Actual: 5:15   Typical: 6:30  
Season:  Winter
Hike Date:  02/17/2008 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  05/17/2011  
Weather:  Temperatures in the low teens, sunny
Author:  Diane King
Companions:  Dave, Bill, Mary, Jack, Mark

Lunch break (photo by Mark Malnati)


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 Percival Trailhead.
  • Follow Mount Percival Trail for 0.2 mile.
  • Bear left onto the Morgan-Percival Connector and follow it for 0.5 mile to its end.
  • Turn right and follow Mount Morgan Trail for 1.6 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 you will walk past 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.
  • Squam Lake from Mount Morgan (photo by Mary Sheldon)
  • The better option for winter is to continue about 0.2 mile farther on the main trail and then turn 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 1.9 miles which will return you to the Mount Percival Trailhead parking area.

Mount Morgan (photo by Mark Malnati)


Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
Mount Percival Trailhead (800') 0.0 0.0
Jct. Mount Percival Trail/Morgan-Percival Connector (850') 0.2 0.2
Jct. Morgan-Percival Connector/Mount Morgan Trail (820') 0.5 0.7
Lower Jct. Mount Morgan Trail/Crawford-Ridgepole Trail (1850') 1.6 2.3
Upper Jct. Mount Morgan Trail/Crawford-Ridgepole Trail 0.4 2.7
Mount Morgan (2220') 0.05 2.75
Upper Jct. Mount Morgan Trail/Crawford-Ridgepole Trail 0.05 2.8
Mount Percival (2212') 0.8 3.6
Jct. Mount Percival Trail/Morgan-Percival Connector (850') 1.7 5.3
Mount Percival Trailhead (800') 0.2 5.5

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Dave (photo by Mark Malnati)

 



Ice ring around tree trunk (photo by Mark Malnati)


Heading up the trail (photo by Mark Malnati)
 

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


Trail Guide   

Mary and Zvijezda (photo by Bill) On February 17, 2008 six hikers and one dog gathered at the Percival Trailhead parking lot and hiked approximately 0.2 mile to the split where Morgan-Percival Connector and Percival Trail meet. We continued straight on Morgan-Percival Connector instead of taking the right cut-off to Percival Trail which is where we would come out at the end of today's loop.

It was low teens and chilly but sunny with little wind. We all used snowshoes and hiking poles from the start, although stabilicers would have been fine to the first peak as the trail was well packed.

At 2.5 miles we reached Morgan Cliffs. We paused briefly in awe of the ice-covered ladders scaling the lonely cliffs just below the exit of a cave. It appeared no one had been using the ladders this winter as there were no tracks leading over to it and the rungs were half-buried in snow and ice. (I breathed a sigh of relief: won't even have to make that decision...)

We remained on the combined Morgan Trail and Crawford-Ridgepole Trail to the right of the cliffs and in a couple tenths more we reached the ledgy summit. We got an extensive view of Squam Lake. We had a snack and took pictures and bundled up due to the wind-chill factor. Already the clouds had started rolling in and had silenced the sun.

Then we traveled 0.8 mile more through rolling terrain on the Crawford-Ridgepole Trail going over nearly buried ledges - several with nice outlooks. The snow was deeper now and we were really glad to have the snowshoes on.

Dave, Jack, and Diane descending and falling (photo by Bill) We lunched at Mount Percival just above a hidden cave below then started our descent down. It was a little fuzzy following the trail down as there were several sets of prints and little blazing but we finally got it. We took our time on the steepest parts as the considerable snow hid the glaze below. You sort of had to sidestep gingerly with your snowshoes and a pole out to brace yourself otherwise you'd have ended up in the brush. We got to the junction that leads over to the cave but no one was interested in further exploration.

Not everyone's snowshoes were as grippy in the steep areas. We all brought crampons but it was pretty much a given with so much snow that you'd have to take them off real quick anyway so we just kept the snowshoes on. In a couple steep spots it was like sledding on your tush with your feet out in front of you for a stretch. We got down the steep section pretty quickly and then were on the flats awhile before reaching the Morgan-Percival Connector and Percival Trail junction again and journeyed 0.2 mile back to the parking lot. It had reached the mid-thirties during the day as forecast.

Thanks to Mark, Mary, Bill, and Jack for their photo contributions.

Squam Lake from Mount Morgan (photo by Mark Malnati)

 
Mark and Zvijezda (photo by Jack)


Bill eating lunch (photo by Mark Malnati)
 


NH - Central East

  Driving Directions   

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

The loop starts from the Mount Percival 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 5.8 miles.
  • Parking for this trail is at the end of a short gravel road.

From the East:
  • From the junction of Rt. 113 and Rt. 109 in Center Sandwich, follow Rt. 113 southwest for 6.0 miles.
  • Parking for this trail is at the end of a short gravel road.

Note that the Mount Morgan Trailhead is on the northwest side of Rt. 113, 0.3 mile southwest of the Mount Percival parking area and there is also parking at the Rattlesnake lot across the street.

Other Notes   

Note that this trail may be closed during mud season.

More Mt. Morgan and Mt. Percival Trail Reports   


Hikers contemplating the route up Mount Morgan's cliffs via ladders and caves (photos by Mark Malnati)

  Trail signs for Mount Morgan almost completely buried in the deep snow (photo by Mark Malnati)

Jack looking up at Mount Morgan's cliff ladders (photo by Mark Malnati)
 

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