A month ago I had no clue that I lived only 1 ½ hours away from the most climbed mountain in the United States. This mountain is also ranked in the top three most climbed mountains in the world. Once I found this out I just had to go and climb it. This mountain is called Mount Monadnock. Mount Mondanock is 3,165 feet in elevation, and is located within the towns of Jaffery and Dublin, New Hampshire. There are several parking areas surrounding the mountain for the number of hiking trails that lead up the mountain. Some longer hiking trails such as the Metacomet-Mondanock Trail (110 miles) and the Mondanock-Sunapee Greenway (50 miles) traverse over Mount Mondanock as well.
This mountain can easily be done in a day, so for anyone that lives within a 2-hour radius of the mountain could most likely tackle this mountain as a day trip if you really wanted to. The trails are very well marked, but can be a little difficult in some areas to climb if you are not the average hiker. I took the White Arrow trail up the mountain and it was a pretty solid hike. Most of this trail has big rocks laid on top of each other, and was basically like going up a really steep uneven rocky staircase. This trail is considered the easiest ascent to the summit and is 2.3 miles long.
About halfway up the mountain, the mountain become more tree barren instead of forest, due to fires set by early settlers. Because of this, the White Cross Trail had some amazing views along the way. Boston is located a little over 60 miles from the mountain, and on clear visible days, the Boston Skyline is visible from some of the clearings before the summit, and is also visible from the summit as well. The visibility was pretty good on the day I trekked up the mountain, but towards the distance the visibility wasn’t as good, I could see a couple buildings in the distance, but they were a bit fuzzy.
When I plugged “Mount Mondanock” into my GPS on my way up there, it brought me to the parking area for the Old Toll Road, which is where the access to the White Arrow trail is. A couple of other well-marked trails that ascends the mountain are the White Dot/White Cross trails, which can be accessed from another parking entrance. On the way down from the mountain I took the White Cross/White Dot trail. These trails both start in the same area from the top and bottom of the mountain, and follow the same path on either end for a short while, but then the two paths split and run sort of parallel to each other. I ended up taking the White Cross trail down and was amazed at how different this path way compared to the White Arrow trail. There were some areas that had sorta stone stairs, but a lot of the path was just smooth flat rock or the forest floor.
Be warned though, if you go up one trail and then back down a different trail, you will have to take a connecting trail that traverses around the base of the mountain in order to get back to where you parked your car. This is what I had to do, but it was out of choice, not because I had too. It takes about 3-4 hours round trip if you go up and down the same trail. Overall for me it took about 5 hours.
If you decide you want to tackle this mountain, make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks with you. Also, be warned that there really isn’t anything nearby the mountain for food, so make sure to back a lunch or something more than snacks to hold you over until you can find a restaurant in a semi-nearby town/city. Rather than doing a day trip to Mount Mondanock I decided to stay over in Brattleboro, Vermont, which is about 40 minutes west of the mountain.
My friend Julie and I looked up other hiking areas in the area near Brattleboro for the day after our Mount Mondanock trek, and found a really cool conservation area called Madame Sherris Forest. A lady name Madame Sherri was a costume designer back in the 1920’s, and she purchased property in Chesterfield, New Hampshire in the mid 1920’s and built a castle-like home. As she got older her money gave out, and the castle-house ended up burning down, but the stone arch stairway remains still stand in a wooded forest. Anyone that takes a trip up to see Mount Monadnock should definitely stop and check out Madame Sherri’s Forest.
There are several hiking trails that split off from the castle ruins. One of these trails takes you up Wantastiquet Mountain, which is 1,356 feet in elevation, and has a great view of the Connecticut River and of Brattleboro, Vermont. It was a fairly easy hike, especially compared to Mount Monadnock the day before, but could still seem a little challenging to someone that is not used to hiking often.
Whether you decide to make a day out of it, or a weekend, climbing Mount Mondanock is definitely something everyone should put on his or her bucket list!