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Hiking Mt. Monadnock

With its unsurpassed panorama, Mt. Monadnock is the perfect way to get a bird's eye view of the Monadnock Region and all of Southwestern New Hampshire. Standing well above everything in the region, at 3,165-feet, Monadnock is an ever-present influence and can be seen from practically anywhere.

You'll find many ways to enjoy a hike up Mt. Monadnock. There are forty miles of clearly marked foot trails, all of which lead to the bare rock summit through unique alpine vegetation. On a clear day you can see the Prudential Center in Boston, as well as Mt. Washington in northern New Hampshire!

There are five major trails that lead to the summit:

Mt. Monadnock - Old Toll Road & White Arrow Trails (2.2 miles)

The Old Toll Road begins on the south side of the mountain, off Route 124 from Jaffrey to Troy. A large sign shows the turnoff to two ample parking lots. This unpaved road heading up the mountain is open only to foot traffic. The road makes walking easy for a mile. About halfway, the Parker Trail from Park Headquarters intersects on the right. At the end of the road lies the clearing from the Half Way House, once a hotel on the side of the mountain, built in 1886. From here the White Arrow Trail leads to the summit.

Mt. Monadnock - Dublin Trail (2.2 miles)

This trail is located by turning south from Rte. 101 at Dublin Lake and following the Old Marlboro Road to Dublin Lake Club Golf Course. Turn left on unpaved Old Troy Road and follow it about 1.8 miles to the trailhead. There's a new parking area on the right.

At the outset, the trail cuts through dense maple and spruce forest before narrowing and turning steep. As with most of the major trails, this one later requires some giant steps over rock slabs and boulders, including the one pictured at the right.

The second half of the trail rises twice as high in altitude as the first, passing timberline at 1.7 miles and entering rock ledges. The trail joins the Marlboro Trail just below the summit.

Mt. Monadnock - Marlboro Trail (2.1 miles)

To find the Marlboro Trail, turn onto Shaker Road from Route 124 and drive over a rough unpaved back country road for about three-quarters of a mile. A small parking area accommodates a few cars at the trailhead. This trail is less hike than others, so chances are good for long stretches of isolated walking on the lower section. For nearly a mile the trail is rather easy. Then it ascends steadily and steeply. Once you're on open ledges, the views extend to the Green Mountains in Vermont. When the Dublin Trails intersect the Marlboro Trail, you have three-tenths of a mile left to the summit.

Mt. Monadnock - White Dot & White Cross Trails (1.9 miles)

These two trails have a common origin, coincide for their first 0.8 mile, then separate, but rejoin for the last three-tenths of a mile to the summit. Both start at Monadnock State Park. Be sure to pick up a trail map at the park and look for some interesting features off the trail, such as Falcon Spring.

Mt. Monadnock - Pumpelly Trail (4.5 miles)

The longest trail on Mt Monadnock, Pumpelly stretches from nearly the southeast edge of Dublin Lake to the summit. For a long way it follows the Pumpelly Ridge through open country. Exposed walking can be pleasant, but in cold wind and rain this trail can be dangerous.

More than the first third of the trail (1.5 miles) traces relatively flat land. The walking is easy and enjoyable through mixed forest. At the midsection the terrain becomes steeper, leveling somewhat when you reach the ridge itself. Toward the summit three connecting trails intersect - the Cascade Link, Spellman and Red Dot Trails. The last mile up is marked by cairns, with the summit in plain view along the final stretch.

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