View Full Version : Monadnock

06-03-2008, 12:33 PM
I am in the planning stages of preparing a hike up Monadnock. I'm a little out of shape right now and am getting a late jump on the season. I plan on hiking the mtn around the last weekend in June.

Those hiking with me will have a wide range of experience, ranging from none to expert. I am curious if someone could suggest a route(s) (ascent and descent) that is the most fun to climb (views, etc) yet not to difficult for the novice. Looking to the get the most bang for my buck if you will.

Has anyone stayed at the state park campgroud? If so, any reviews would be appreciated.
Are there any hotels, cabins, etc within close proximity to the state park?

The only mountain i've hiked in NH is Washington. Now im sure there must be extreme differences between the two, but im wondering how to prepare for Monadnock? Will I have to bring any extra layers to throw on going up (rain gear aside)? Wasn't sure if it suddenly gets cold like Washington does when you get around tree line.

Any good trail maps, know of anyone who carries the trail maps?

Any other general tips about the area and the mountain for someone who has never been there would be appreciated.


06-03-2008, 04:13 PM
We did Monadnock on Memorial Day and had a great day. See my post here with trip report and photos: http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=3700

Monadnock is one of our favorite hikes outside of the Whites. While it isn't Mt Washington it can be a bit tough for those not in condition and not used to mountain hikes. Do some additional research on the times, elevation gains, etc and compare to your groups abilities. The best source for information on the trails (including maps) and the area overall are here: http://www.qcc.mass.edu/brink/Trav-rec/mt_monad/monadtr.html The rangers will also give you a map with all the trails when you enter the park.

The main thing to keep in mind about Monadnock is the crowds. It is now claimed to be the most hiked mountain in the world (overtaking the "honor" from Mt Fuji). On most spring/suummer/fall weekends there will be a steady stream of hikers - including many novices who aren't really prepared - on the primary trails (which are typically White Dot and White Cross). The usual route is White Dot up and White Cross down. These are nice, scenic and well maintained trails - except for the crowd factor. What we've discovered over our last couple of Monadnock hikes is that it is possible to have most of the mountain nearly to yourself by using alternate trails. Our current favorite (which is what is listed in the trip report in the link above) is the White Dot, Cascade Link, Spellman, Pummelly trails up and the White Arrow, Amphitheter, Side Foot, Cliff Walk and Lost Farm down. There are many possible variations to both of the up/down routes on the less traveled trails. One thing to be aware of is that the Spellman trail is rated as the most difficult on the mountain. It is very steep in places and requires some scrambling. You definitely don't want to take it down. I am pretty severely acrophobic and it doesn't bother me at all going up, but it might some.

The one unavoidable crowd factor regardless of trails is the summit. There will be many (sometimes seems like hundreds) of people on top - running around, eating, yelling, singing and who knows what else. Cool if you are into large parties :rolleyes:. If you can, find a nook among the rocks just below the summit that is a bit away from the craziness and hang out there. It is worth braving the crowds in any event for the amazing views on a clear day. In the best case you can actually make out Mt Washington 105 miles away.

As far as campgrounds and local lodging I'm afraid I can't help. The thing I like about Monadnock is that it is so accessible. I live in south/central Rhode Island and it has never taken me over 2 hours to get there or back. Last week we left home at 8:15, did a leisurely 4-1/2 hour hike, stopped to eat on the way home and were still home by 7:00. It's nearly all highway from anywhere in southern NE and usually very little traffic.

Bottom line is - GO - you will undoubtedly enjoy it.

06-03-2008, 07:23 PM
We've stayed at the campground there, although it was several years ago. It was your basic state campground. Got to see a couple wonderful owls during the night. We enjoyed it! We used it as a "jumping off point" so that we could get an early start (had two younger children with us).

We took White Dot/White Cross and I agree that it was crowded.

Summit didn't feel so crowded because the clouds were so thick that we couldn't see the people around us. :p

Ah well! Any day on a mountain is a good day!

Bill O
06-03-2008, 09:01 PM
I've seen photos of the masses climbing Mount Fuji and I can't imagine Monadnock is in the same league.

06-05-2008, 02:24 PM

Thanks for the reply, that was great. I almost posted this topic originally in your post, but I didnt want to hijack your post.

I appreciate the heads up on how long it took you to get up there. I too live in south/central RI so itll take me about the same to get there and back.

06-05-2008, 04:11 PM
I've seen photos of the masses climbing Mount Fuji and I can't imagine Monadnock is in the same league.

I've actually seen this quoted (and debated) in a number of spots. Here's one (from http://www.tmclark.com/monadnock.html)

"Besides being the most popular mountain in America, Grand Mt. Monadnock is known as the most climbed mountain in the world. Monadnock has long been described as the second-most-climbed mountain in the world (after Mt. Fuji in Japan). Since 1990, it has been suggested that so many of Fuji's climbers have shifted to newly available public road transportation for that ascent, that Monadnock's annual total of foot traffic now exceeds Fuji's. Now in southwestern New Hampshire, 125,000 people every year hike to the top of Monadnock.

I've seen the pictures of the lines on Fuji and I know what you mean. On the other hand I've been in the middle of a couple on the White Dot that felt like waiting in line at Disney (with a crowd at the summit to match).