Monadnock Trails

Monadnock Maps

About Monadnock

Monadnock Vegetation

Old Trail Descriptions

Hiking Information

Tags: Monadnock Trails, Monadnock Mountain, New Hampshire Hiking, New Hampshire Trails, Maps, Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey, Hiking New Hampshire, Mt Monadnock, NH

Monadnock 1922

Above: Summit from Noble Trail

Travel back in time with:
Old Trail Descriptions from 1922
Excerpt from AMC Guide 1922 Edition p. 432-439

Mt. Monadnock in the towns of Dublin and Jaffrey, about 10 miles from the Massachusetts boundary, is an isolated mountain 3,166 ft. above sea level and from 1,500 to 2,000 ft. above the surrounding country.   The upper 500 ft. consists of open rocks bared by forest fires of a century ago.  There are several well marked paths to the summit from the north and south sides.   Two of these lead from Dublin on the north, one from the old hotel halfway up the mountain on the south and two from the Dublin-Jaffrey highway on the southeast numerous links connect the main south side trails, and ramify through the woods on the slopes.  Only the main trails to the summit are here described.

Reservations on Mt. Monadnock

There are three in number.  (1). The State Reservation of 493 acres, on the southeast slope (see National and State Forests.).  (2). The Jaffrey Town Reservation, comprising of 200 acres, on the south side near the summit.  (3). The Masonian Reservation and Derby Woods (S.P.N.H.F.), comprising of 775 acres on the summit and Dublin Ridge.  These lands are contiguous.  (See map.)

The Half-Way House Trail

This is one of the oldest routes to the summit and was much used at the time when Emerson and Thoreau frequented the mountain, about 1850, though relocated in part since then.  It begins near the carriage sheds of the Half-Way House and is broad and a clearly defined way, though rough rocky and steep.  It crosses the town of Jaffrey’s reservation.  For some distance it follows the brook and above tree-line is marked with white arrows on the rocks.  A spring at tree-line is on right.  Just below the summit there is a rain shelter built in 1910, by Scott A. Smith of Providence for the convenience of the public.

The Half-Way House is about 2,100 feet above sea level and is reached by a toll road (free to trampers) 1 ¼ mile long, leaving the highway from East Jaffrey to Troy at a point 5 miles from the former and 4 miles from the latter.  The road is reached 6 miles from Fitzwilliam.

Distance.  Half-Way House to summit 1 mile.

The Dublin Path

The Dublin Path on the north side of the mountain maintained by the Dublin Boy Scout Troop, leaves the road from Dublin to Troy opposite the barn and the cellar hole of the abandoned  Darling farm (sign), 4 ½ miles west of Dublin village, which is 6 ½ miles from the Harrisville Station.  Mail auto from the latter.  The path itself is about 2 ½ miles long, the upper ¾ mile over open ledges, being marked by small cairns.  It is much traveled and easily followed.  A spring in spruce woods 1 m. above highway is undependable in a dry season.  Another spring 1/8 mile above tree-line is more reliable.

 The Pumpelly Trail

Follow the highway west from Dublin village ¾ mile to a wood road on left opposite the entrance to Dublin Lake Club.  Follow this south along the west side of Snow Hill, crossing a small valley and thence gradually ascending (southwest) to summit of Oak Hill.  To this point and for a quarter mile beyond, it is a bridle path maintained by the Dublin Walking and Riding Club.  The trail (blazed) leads thence to and up the steep north end of Dublin Ridge.  There is a spring on the south side of the trail near the foot of the steep pitch.   Not easily found.  The trail zigzags upward until it emerges on the open shoulder of the mountain about 2 miles from the summit.  For the first ¼ mile on the ridge the trail winds in and out among low scrubby spruce and firs, always following the top of the ridge.  About a mile from the summit, it comes out upon the bare, glacier-swept rocks, whence for the remaining distance it is marked by large cairns.  From a saddle (elev. 2,700 ft.) just north of the central dominating summit of the ridge, a line of cairns leads left, the Cascade Link, a direct descent toward the Ark and Jaffrey.  Just before descending into a small ravine which separates the ridge from the main summit mass the little used upper section of the old Pasture Trail (White Dot) leads south to the Jaffrey side.  From the top of the zigzags to the summit the trail traverses the Derby and Masonian Reservation of the Society for the protection of New Hampshire Forests.  Over the ridge it is a rough scramble.

Distance.  From the road to summit 4 ½ miles.

The Red Cross Trail

This trail was formerly known as the Mead Brook Trail, from the stream along whose left (northeast) bank it follows closely for some distance through its middle section.  It begins on the highway from Jaffrey to Dublin immediately in the rear of the Annex of the Ark, 3 ½ miles from East Jaffrey.  A clump of three small trees close to the roadside supporting a large stone between their stems, the stone marked with a red painted cross, is the first landmark.  These red crosses are found on the rocks all the way to the summit.  For ¾ mile it follows a new road (passable for cars) to the boundary of the Monadnock State Forest where there is parking space.  To avoid this road take trail behind Happy House Cottage, first house west of Ark barns.  This leads through pine woods (signs at junctions) and intersects Red Cross at parking place.  The trail soon emerges into a clearing with a large Maple Tree bearing numerous trail signs, it being the focal point of a half dozen trails to the valley, to the Half-Way House, and to the summit.  One of these is the Pasture trail to Falcon Cabin from which the trail Cascade Link diverges.  Within 1/8 mile west the Fire Line Trail comes into the Red Cross from the left on the bank of the Mead Brook, coincides with the latter up stream a few rods and then diverges to the right (signs).  The trail now follows the brook on the east bank practically to its source.  Several junctions with other trails and links are met in the course of the next mile (signs), in the following order:  Lower Pasture Outlook, on right; Upper Pasture Outlook, on right (view within 100 yards of junction); the Wesselhoeft, on left; Falcon Link, on right; Dingle Dell Trail to Half-Way House, on left; Link to White Dot Trail, on right (blind).  Throughout this section the trail is steep and side-hilling, hence difficult for snow-shoes.  Blazed trees and red crosses on the rocks are frequent.  Within a ¼ mile beyond the Dingle Dell junction the trail clambers sharply up ledges by the Switch-Back and reaches the first open rocks (view).  From this point on close watch should be made for the red crosses and small cairns, for the route is circuitous and trees dwindle.  Not far above the Switch-Back a final scramble up the rocks brings one to the Plateau with its impressive view of the summit dome of which Thoreau wrote so enthusiastically.  In clear weather the summit is in plain sight thereafter.  Another junction (signs) will be met just before the dome is reached, where the White Dot Trail comes in from the right.  Crossing a small but sharp ravine the dome is climbed over smoothly glaciated and slippery ledges to the summit.

Distance.  The Ark to summit 3 ½ miles.

White Dot, Harling, and Pasture Trails.

The White Dot Trail is so named because it is marked with dots of white paint on rocks.  It is the steepest trail on the south side of the mountain and not materially shorter than any other.  It begins at Falcon Cabin near Falcon Spring (elev. 1,860) and was cut in 1900 as an extension of the Pasture Trail.  The Harling Trail, cut in 1914, also connects at the cabin.  At the Spring the Pasture Outlook Trail enters on the west, also the Falcon Link, a few rods higher up both connecting the Red Cross Trail.  The White Dot is steep and laborious for ½ mile above the cabin.  It then emerges on the open plateau where a spur leaves right to the Pumpelly Trail.  The White Dot main trail leads toward the summit and soon merges with the Red Cross (sign).  Owing to its steepness it is usually used mostly on the descent.

The Harling Trail begins on the highway leading from the Jaffrey to Dublin just north of the second brook north of the Ark.  For ¾ mile it follows the trace of an old wood road across partially cut-over land, where it is more or less bushy and blind.  Small cairns are at blind places.  At the wall bounding the Monadnock State Forest on the east, it makes a junction with the Pezet Link, a short cut to the Ark, and entering the forest immediately begins to climb.  About 3/8 mile farther on the Cascade Link crosses (sign) and in another 100 yards Falcon Cabin is reached.

The name Pasture Trail (a portion of the first trail to the summit cut from the southeast side in 1897) is at present applied only to the section between the Maple Tree (see Red Cross Trail) and Falcon Spring.  It is a much traveled route, at first through woods, then, as it rises on the mountainside, crosses bits of open pasture with views toward the east, again entering woods where it makes a junction with the Fire Line, on left 1/8 mile below the spring.  About midway its course the Red Oak Trail (a link to the Harling Trail) enters from the north.  Just above the fire Line the Cascade Link has its beginning on the north.

Distances.  Highway from Falcon Cabin via Harling Trail 1 ¼ mile  (1 ¾ mile from The Ark)  Maple Tree to cabin via Pasture Trail ¾ mile (1 ¾ mile from The Ark).  Cabin to summit via White Dot 1 ¼ mile.

Marlborough Trail.

One of the oldest trails to the summit, probably dating back to 1850 of earlier, but is now disused.  Traceable for ½ mile from its beginning at the abandoned Davis farm on the old road at the west base of the mountain, its course is lost across the pastures and up the Marlboro Ridge through the woods, a distance of close to a mile.  On the open ledges above it is clearly marked for ½ mile by large cairns to its intersection with the Dublin Trail ¼ mile below the summit.  The missing link should be rediscovered and opened up.

Distance. Highway to summit about 2 miles.

Cascade Link.

This path was cut in 1919 by the Worcester Chapter of the A. M. C.  It affords a direct approach to the central portion of the Dublin Ridge from Jaffrey.  (See Pumpelly, Harling and Pasture trails.)  Its southerly end (sign) is at a point on the Pasture Trail just above the junction of the latter with the Fire Line, and near the Falcon Cabin.  For ¼ mile it passes through spruce woods to a brook (sign) and the cascades from which it takes its name.  Thence it follows the east bank closely, rising 300 ft. in ¼ mile, to the wall bounding the State Forest on the north  About 1/8 mile beyond it turns left (sign) over a knob of ledge (wide view).  It is blazed thence through the woods to a small brook which is crossed and followed along the east bank.  This stream has its rise close to the boundary line between Dublin and Jaffrey, from which point an old cairn line (now clearly rebuilt) leads over open ledges to a saddle on the Dublin Ridge (elev. 2,700 ft.) and intersects the Pumpelly Trail just north of the eminence across the town line crosses.  A picturesque route with many broad outlooks.

 Distance.  Pasture Trail to Pumpelly Trail 1 ½ mile.

Snow-Shoe  Route.

The easiest route for a winter ascent from the southeast is as follows:  Red Cross to the Fire Line 1 mile up latter right 2/3 mile to junction with Pasture trail which follow left 1/8 mile to Falcon Spring, thence by Falcon Link left ½ mile to Red Cross Trail; and by latter right 1 mile to summit.  This route is not perceptibly longer than one of the more direct approaches and it avoids many excessively steep pitches, which are slippery and tiresome in winter.

Given good weather the most interesting descent toward the southeast in any season is by following the Dublin Ridge to the Cascade Link 1 ¼ mile (see Pumpelly Trail and Cascade Link), dropping gradually by that route 1 ½ mile (outlooks) to the Harling Trail near Falcon Cabin, down the latter ½ mile to the Pezet Link, which in turn something less than 1 mile enters the Red Cross Trail at the Ark.  Distances are approximate only.


A. M. C. topographic (100 ft. contours).  Scale 1: 20,000 approximately 3 inches to the mile), edition of 1922, covering the entire mountain and showing roads, houses, old house sites, public reservation boundaries and all trails.  (Included in this book, p. 432.)

Blue print, 400 ft. to 1 inch by F. H. Fay and S. H. Thorndike, 1922, from careful surveys of the trails on the S. E. slope between the summit, the Half-Way House road, The Ark and the Jaffrey-Troy road.

Blue print sketch map without scale by E. J. Harling showing all trails in the vicinity of the Half-Way House and those on the S. E. slope.  

Below: Abandoned Red Cross Trail, blind in spots
Red Cross Trail

Monadnock Mountain


Monadnock Trails website: Author, Creator, and photos by Frederick Pitcher 2015
Use of the information on this site is the sole risk of the user.  The author is not responsible for the trails or anyone's ability to follow them.  In addition to the trails there are certain places in this website described that are off trail.  Anyone exploring Monadnock does so at their own risk.


Tags: Monadnock Trails, Monadnock Mountain, New Hampshire Hiking, New Hampshire Trails, Maps, Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey, Hiking New Hampshire, Mt Monadnock, NH

Jaffrey Weather Forecast, NH

The weather above is for the base of the mountain.