Logo   How to Climb Mt Monadnock, NH
More dangerous—and satisfying—than you may think....  




Want to be among the 125,000 people who climb to the summit of New Hampshire's Mount Monadnock each year?

Good! The hike is exhilarating, the view from the summit worth the climb.

But it is not an easy hike. The trails are not smooth paths, but mostly broken rock (stones the size of auto tires or larger). In some places you must climb rock slopes (no tools or ropes needed, though.) You must be agile, strong-legged, with strong ankles. (The chance of a turned, strained or sprained ankle are high.) More...

Here's how to hike trails to the summit of Mount Monadnock pleasurably and safely:

1. Unless you're experience hiking in winter weather, climb only in warm, fair weather (May to early October).

2. Allow at least two hours to climb to the summit from Monadnock State Park headquarters, and at least 1-1/2 hours to climb down. Four to five hours is the minimal reasonable time to make the complete hike, allowing some time to enjoy the view (and perhaps a picnic) at the summit.

If your party includes young children (1 to 8 years), older people (55+), or anyone not in good middle-age physical condition, allow 5 to 6 hours or more.

3. Start your hike by lunchtime or earlier. Most enjoyable is to start after breakfast and reach the summit for a lunchtime picnic. Plan to return to park headquarters at least 30 minutes before sunset, as the forest grows dark just after sunset, and picking your way across the trail's broken rock is tedious and dangerous, even with a light.

4. Wear sturdy shoes, have sunblock for the hour or two above tree line, and carry extra clothing for the windy summit: at least a light jacket/windbreaker, perhaps also a sweatshirt or sweater. If the temperature is comfortable (mid-70°sF/ 20°sC) at the base of the mountain, it will be chilly because of the wind at the summit. If it's cool at the base, it will be cold at the summit. Don't spoil the pleasure of your time at the summit by not having sufficient clothing.

5. Carry at least one quart/one liter of drinking water per person, preferably more. Also carry snacks such as trail mix, nuts, fresh or dried fruit, candy bars, fruit juice and, if you wish, a picnic lunch. There are no services on the mountain: no food, no water, no shelter, no communications (although your mobile phone may work.)

6. Carry a trash bag and plan to carry out everything you bring to the park. Monadnock is a carry-in, carry-out park. There are no trash receptacles anywhere in the park! Whatever you bring in with you, you must take out with you, even banana peels, apple cores, etc.

Mt Monadnock Summit, NH

Hikers at the summit of Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire.

Trails up Mt Monadnock

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Mount Monadnock Homepage

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Mt Monadnock Trail, NH

White Dot Trail climbs a rock face.




Mt Monadnock Trail, NH

Above, typical trail to the summit of Mt Monadnock: tree roots, broken rock...not a smooth path!

Mt Monadnock, NH

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