Date: April 24, 2015
Distance: 4.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,801 feet
Our Hiking Time: 5 hours, 8 minutes roundtrip
Trail Blaze: White Dot (White Dot Trail) & White Cross (White Cross Trail)
What better way to summit one of the most-hiked mountains in the world than by bringing 22 teenagers with you? With my wife and kids in South Carolina last week for their April vacation, I decided to take my other “kids,” from the outdoor club Kendra and I lead, hiking up Mt. Monadnock with the awesome folks from the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Youth Opportunities Program. Because of their support, the kids were covered head to toe in solid gear – especially important because when we hit the summit, it was snowy, cold, and windy! Not quite what the kids were expecting!
To reduce our impact on the trail, we split into two groups and spaced ourselves about ten minutes apart. Starting from the park headquarters, we followed the White Dot Trial to the summit – the shortest and steepest way up the mountain. After just .5 miles, we started climbing up rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. Though not highly technical, there were a few spots that were tricky – especially when covered in ice!
After a long, chilly climb, we regrouped at the summit for lunch. Because of the wind, everyone clustered into small groups, seeking out rocks to shield them from the cold. Since it was early in the season, there weren’t too many other people at the summit, though on our way back down, my group was stuck behind a rather obnoxious dad and his kids. Every few feet he stopped in the middle of the trail to take videos with his DSLR, narrating as he did so. He was inexplicably oblivious to the fact that he was not only creating a traffic jam, but causing some dangerous hiking conditions on the icy trail.
Thankfully, at the junction with the White Cross Trail, we headed right and his group headed left down the White Dot Trail. I did a little dance of joy and turned the experience into a teachable moment for the kids about trail etiquette and safety.
The way down was easy-peasy, save for a few tricky ice-covered spots. We enjoyed the gorgeous views above tree-line as we descended. It was an awesome hike. Despite the chilly weather, I appreciated the lack of crowds on the trail. I will take snow and wind over trail traffic jams any day!
Know Before You Go!
Fees: Adults: $5.00; Youth ages 6-11: $2.00; Children ages 5 & under, NH residents age 65 & over: FREE
Hours: The park is open year-round, sunrise to sunset.
Restrooms: are available at the park headquarters.
Dogs are not allowed.
Directions to the Park
Monadnock State Park is located at 116 Poole Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452.
From Eastern MA: Rt. 2 west to 140N exit, exit 24B toward Ashburnham/Winchendon, merge onto MA-140. MA-140 becomes Spring St/MA-12, turn right on Glen Allen St (crossing into New Hampshire). Glen Allen St becomes US-202, turn left onto Main St/NH-124 and follow signs to Monadnock State Park.
From Eastern NH: Rte. 101 west to Peterborough, turn left for 202 west to Jaffrey. Turn right onto 124 west and follow signs to Monadnock State Park.
From Western MA and NH: MA Rte. 10 to NH Rte. 119 east. Take Rte. 202 east to Jaffrey. Turn left onto 124 west and follow signs to Monadnock State Park.