Best of New Hampshire: Mount Monadnock

Mount Monadnock [116 Poole Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452] claims to be the third most hiked mountain in the world. Upon hearing that I wondered, what is so special about this mountain? I had to see for myself. On a perfectly bright beautiful day we made the trip and paid the $5 per person to get into the lot, which was packed. There are bathroom facilities and a visitor’s center. After talking to a ranger we decided to take the less popular red spot trail up to the summit. This was a fantastic tip because it was so much more quiet and peaceful than the white dot, which is the most direct route. Just over two miles through the woods to the summit on this route, over roots and rocks, up almost 2000 feet.

Mount monadnock 1 Mount monadnock 3The last few hundred feet the forest disappeared and it was replaced by exposed rock to scramble on up.

Mount monadnock 4 Mount monadnock 6For us it was particularly strenuous because we were moving at such a fast pace to make lunch reservations. We got up to the summit in one hour, sweaty and smiling. From a distance it looked like strange trees were covering the nearby summit, but no, it was all of those people up there crowning America’s favorite mountain.

mount monadnock 5We took our place among them and tried to stake out our own quiet spot to revel at the vista feeling crowded, but accomplished.

mount monadnock 8 mount monadnock 7 mount monadnock 9Monadnock is an isolated mountain with views for miles and miles, on a clear day you can see out to Boston and Mount Greylock. Looking to get down quickly we decided to take that popular white dot trail, the most direct route. For our preference, this was a mistake. We like quiet so that we can commune with nature and see wildlife. There are 35 miles of trails within the park and I would have to assume that 90% of the people were on this one white dot trail! So you can imagine it was very packed, almost unpleasant and possibly dangerous at times when you are trying to scramble down rocks and there are hordes of people. However, it was definitely quicker than our initial route, and more scenic. If you can deal with the people, go for it! I can see why Monadnock is so popular. A four-mile round trip hike for some of the best views out there, that’s a pretty good deal. I am pleased to have hiked this popular mountain, and especially enjoyed my time on the red spot trail!

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