Dartmouth-Sunapee Region

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 3156 ft / 962 m
Sign the Climber's Log

Mountains of the Region

The following is table of the summits in the Dartmouth-Sunapee Region.
Mountain Height Most Popular Route's YDS Rating
Mount Cardigan 3156 Class 1-3
Mount Kearsarge 2937 Class 1-2
Mount Sunapee 2780 Class 1
Croydon Peak# 2700 No trepassing in area#

#-Croydon Peak, though a prinicipal peak in Dartmouth-Sumapee Region cannot be climbed because the peak is home to an exclusive hunting club.


Pic1 of Cardigan

The Dartmouth Sunapee Region is home to many great climbs and hikes in New Hampshire. Though no mountain in this region even break 3200 feet, the region has some very well known summits. The most famous of these summits is Mt. Cardigan. Mt. Cardigan is very similiar to that of Mt. Monadnock. Like Mount Monadnock, Mt. Cardigan is home to a large number of routes, the easiest is the class 1-2 West Ridge trail and the hardest is the class 3 Holt Trail.

Amazing shot south from the...The famous Lake Solitude

Though Mt. Cardigan is the most famous of peaks in the region is not the only famous mountain in the region. Mt. Kearsarge though only 2937 feet high is also home to a number of different routes that vary from a very easy walkup to class 2. Mt. Sunapee has a number of different routes including the famous Andrews Brook Trail that leads to the legendary Lake Solitude. Croydon Peak is famous for being one of the only well known peaks that abosolutely can't be summited legally it is owned by a private hunting group and ONLY MEMBERS CAN BE ON THE MOUNTAIN. And finally Ragged Mountain though more well known for skiing is starting to become popular with hikers as well.

From Mt. Cardigan (7/12/03).

Regional Definition

Map of the Region

This region borders the Monadnock Region to the south (roughly south of Claremont), the White Mountains ( border towns are Rumney and Wentworth)to the north, the Lakes Regions (border represented by Bristol and Andover) to the east, and Vermont to the west. The only clear border in this region is Vermont with the others being skewed or overlapping.

The prinicipal towns in the region are Lebanon, Claremont and Hanover. Hanover itself famous for being the town in which Daramouth College, an Ivy League school is located. Lebanon is a small city (pop. 15,000 people) located on the border with Vermont that is rapidly growing in the technology field as well as in the service field. Claremont represent a poorer side to this region but still located close to the Monadnock Sunapee Greenway, a trail that link the summit of Mt. Monadnock to Mt. Sunapee.

Getting There

The prinicipal interstate in this region is Interstate I-89. For individual mountain direction click the mountains home site.

Weather Forecast

Weather Conditions and Gear

Weather Conditions is this region vary widely throughout the year. There is a saying in New England that if "you don't like the weather wait a minute". The Dartmouth-Sunapee is famous for changing weather. The weather is unpredictable at almost all times of the year. About the only thing you can depend on is that there not be snow in July and August and not be 100F temperatures in January and February. Though the mountains here are not as extreme as the White Mountains, care is needed when climbing during the cooler months. The summits of Mt. Cardigan and Mt. Kearsarge are toally treeless and are VERY EXPOSED TO WIND so use caution when climbing in winter.

From Mt. Cardigan (7/12/03).

In summer this region is easy to dress for, especially if you taking one of the many dayhikes in the region. Only essential hiking gear is needed with sturdy shoes and a jacket. Bug repellent is a must in this region due to the spread of the deadly Triple E and the West Nile Viruses in the region. In very early summer it is also Black Fly season. Black Flys bite with a vengance and can leave scars on your body for weeks unless you used a strong bug repellent.


Winter in this region is the most unpredictable. Invest in crampons, snowshoes and yaltraks if planning on hiking in winter. Depending on the hike, you might end up using all three. At this time of year it is key to look at the weather forecast. An ice axe is highly recommended if you plan on climbing Mt. Cardigan using the Holt Trail in the winter.I never usually hike in this region unless the weather is clear or partly cloudy. If a heavy snow has fallen recently wear snowshoes. If it cold and no snow has fallen for a while that wear crampons. You can't go wrong though if you bring both.

Pic3 of Cardigan

Fall is the pretty time but weather is highly unpredictable here. If you are staying overnight in the region bring everything except the crampons and the snowshoes. Though it doesn't start snowing in the reason until early October, the nights in this region can get cold even in September. Bugs become less of a problem after the first frost. Bring a sturdy jacket, gloves and a hat and keep your eye on the weather condtions during this time of year. Cameras in late September and early October are AN ABOSOLUTE MUST. New England has some of pretty foilage in the United States if not the world.

Leftover snow on the Mt....

Spring is the least desirable time to hike in this region. In April and May mud season from snow melt turns many of these trails to mud pits. Some trails are not even open at this time. However June can be a nice time to hike in this region. Temperatures are very reasonable and providing that you have bug repellent to avoid blackflys you should have little problems with weather.

Trail Conditions

Here are two websites that will provided you the best information on conditions in the White Mountains.

Appalachian Mountain Club

Current Trail Conditions



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.