Hiking Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire

Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire is a pretty tough hike. However the reward of 360 degree views over New Hampshire‘s trees and lakes is worth it. You can even see into Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Read on to see how you can hike it.

Fun Facts about Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire:

  • It is the second most commonly climbed mountain in the world after Mt. Fiji in Japan.
  • This means it is the most climbed mountain in the western hemisphere with over 100,000 visitors a year!
  • The crowds are largest during peak foliage, but for good reason.
  • The name is an Abnaki Indian word meaning “mountain that stands alone”.
  • Mount Monadnock is located within two hours of Boston and Providence.
  • Although you will hike through many trees, the mountain is fairly bare. Legend tells this is due to purposefully set fires. These fires were set by early settlers to gain pasture land and to remove wolf dens from the area.
  • I don’t know which trails they took, but this mountain was climbed by Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. I was feeling a bit literary as I was climbing.

What is the easiest way to climb Mount Monadnock?HIking Mount Monadnock

No matter which way you climb it, this hike is classified as difficult. But the easiest way up the mountain is the 3.8 mile White Dot-White Cross loop.

Travel up the mountain on the White Dot Trail. The trail markers will be white dots on rocks and trees. When New Englanders planned mountain trails, we tended to not mess around. The trail almost never meanders, but heads straight up to the 3, 165 foot peak. At the beginning you are climbing up rocky trails.

By the last half you will be scrambling straight up rocks, often requiring the use of your hands. Much of this happens when the trails converge near the top third of the mountain. The trail markers then become large cairns.

Take the White Cross Trail down the mountain, following the painted white crosses. It is a little longer, but less steep than the White Dot Trail and has more rock staircases to make the descent a bit easier on your knees. A majority of the hikers brought hiking poles along. I definitely slid down some of the steeper points on my bum. I figured that was better than slipping and going down on my head!

The hike can be done in around 3-4 hours. It took us 6.

Where do the trails to climb Mount Monadnock start?

The trails start at the Mount Monadnock Park Headquarters at 116 Poole Street, Jaffrey, New Hampshire. On a popular day there will be a long line of cars to pay the park entrance fee. There are also camping spots available.

What do the trails look like on Mount Monadnock?


Can children climb Mount Monadnock?

We climbed with our four sons, aged 9-12. They had no problem climbing the mountain. In fact, they are much less sore than I am today…. I saw smaller kids, but it is probably best for older kids, unless your little one is a like Spiderman. Furry kids aren’t allowed in the park, however.

Any other advice for climbing Mount Monadnock?

  • Since the trails are so rocky, I would skip this hike if it there is a chance of rain.
  • There are no bathrooms or water on the mountain. On the trails we took, we didn’t even see a creek to filter. We drank three bottles of water a piece and brought snacks and a sandwich.
  • Take your time to enjoy the views. Head up early enough that you don’t get caught on the mountain at dark. This would be an incredible place to see the sunset, but I can’t imagine travelling down this mountain in the dark.

Read on for more New England hiking spots, New England fall fun or more adventures in New Hampshire.

Which is your favorite New England hike? Let me know in the comments. My favorite is still Mount Tumbledown in Maine, but this was pretty fabulous!

If you liked it, please share it. Thank you!

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