Monadnock Trails

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Hiking Information

Tags: Hiker Safety, Mountain Hiking, Backpacking Safety, Hiking Safety, Monadnock Trails, Monadnock Mountain, New Hampshire Hiking, Monadnock, Hiking New Hampshire, Mt Monadnock NH

Hiker Safety

White Dot Hikers
Above: Hikers on Mount Monadnock

Hiker Safety

This page is for general hiking safety, as well as hiker information specific for Mount Monadnock
Hiking Equipment recommended by Monadnock State Park and: Hike Safe

Good Pair of Hiking Shoes
Clothing to pack:

Sweater or Pile Jacket

Long Pants (wool or synthetic)

Gloves (in Spring, Winter and Fall)

Hat (wool)
Extra Food and Water
Flashlight or Headlamp
First Aid Kit/Repair Kit
Rain/Wind Jacket & Pants
Pocket Knife
Lighter or Matches (Campfires are prohibited in certain wilderness areas as well as in Monadnock State Park except at campgrounds)
Another emergency shelter you can bring in your pack is a couple of trash bags which are lightweight and take little space.
Modern technology can help with a hike such as a GPS unit.  A cell phone can be packed in case of an emergency, but a map and common sense may be best to use.  You should be observant and make sure you take the right trail back down the mountain.  Not all trails lead down to the same place.  Keep in mind 95% of accidents happen on the way down the mountain and be especially careful during your descent.  You should also check to see when darkness falls.  The average hiker should allow one hour for each trail mile.  Check your map and look for the correct trail markers before leaving the summit.  Trails are not necessarily marked for winter use.
On Mount Monadnock if you have an accident and need help, ask a fellow hiker to relay information to park staff, or call the park at 603-532-8862 or 911.

If you Become Lost

If you lose a trail S.T.O.P.: Stop, Think, Observe and Plan.  If you think you just missed the trail, back-track a short distance and you may find the right track.  If you are near the summit backtrack to the summit and find the right way down.  If you can't find a trail and then stay put, and seek cover from adverse weather.  If notified, rescuers will begin a search of the areas near your original planned route.  Listen for whistles and respond to them or other signals.  Knowing how to use a compass is a good idea if you wish to do much hiking.  If you can use a compass with a map on Mount Monadnock you may head down the mountain and you should hit a trail, brook or road which can lead you back.  It is important to leave your plans with a responsible person.  If the weather is adverse and you don't know the way you should turn back instead of heading up the mountain above tree-line.

Drinking Water for hiking Mount Monadnock

You should bring 2 quarts of water for a hike of Mount Monadnock on a summer day, hiking directly up and down.  On Mount Monadnock it is advisable to not drink any source and bring your own water.

Drinking Water

Drinking plenty of water is a necessity out on the trail.  Making sure that you bring enough water with you can often be the difference between a safe trip and a dangerous situation.  It's better to err on the side of bringing too much water than too little. If you're drinking enough water your urine will be clear, not dark. Since thirst is already a sign of dehydration, don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. It is NEVER safe to assume any natural water source on the trail is safe to drink. Therefore, always filter, chemically treat or boil water you've taken from an unprotected source or bring your own water. Dehydration can lead to poor decision-making, heat exhaustion, cramps and heat stroke. For multi-day trips (in the White Mountains for example), be aware of where water is located, so you can fill up accordingly. Make sure you carry a water filter, iodine purification tablets or a stove with enough fuel to boil your water before you drink it on those trips. You should continue to drink throughout the day. Steady water consumption serves your body better than guzzling a whole bottle at once.


Mountain climate can be much cooler than the valleys.  The temperature drops an average of 10 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius) for every 3000 feet (900 meters) elevation.  Above tree-line you are fully exposed to the wind-chill making it feel even colder.  Being prepared can make for a more comfortable summit visit.  In summer with hot, humid conditions you should pack plenty of water.  For a hike of Mount Monadnock 2 quarts of water is advised for a hike directly up and down the mountain.  In hot weather it may be a good idea to hike early in the morning.  Also above tree-line you are fully exposed to rain and wind so you should be prepared if there is a chance of such conditions.  Rain in the valleys can be snow or ice higher up the mountain.
For more information about current weather and conditions, click; TrailWeather+News.
For more information about hiking in winter, click; WinterHiking.


You should be checking the weather before hiking any mountain such as Mount Monadnock which can be very exposed to storms.  If severe weather or storms are predicted you should pick another day or perhaps in the morning if the weather permits.  You should know escape routes/trails off the ridges and summit and head down if storms threaten.  If a storm strikes and you are in a group you should keep a distance apart so everybody doesn't get struck by one lightning bolt.


It is a good idea to be prepared for showers, even if you start with shorts and t-shirt.  Above tree-line a cold windswept rain can cause hypothermia and has caused fatalities in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains.  It is a good idea to minimize exposure to wind and rain and head down in those conditions.


In hot weather make sure you bring more water than you need. It may be a good idea to hike early in the morning on very hot days. Perhaps, select a course that is exposed to a breeze such as if there is a west wind, hike on the west side. Hot weather combined with humidity and exposure to the sun can cause, dehydration, accidents, and heat cramps. Heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are less common in the northeast but can also be caused by exposure to heat with dehydration. Lack of water combined with heat can be a factor in accidents, and the inability to self rescue. Most accidents occur on the way down.

Cold and Hypothermia

The lowering of your body's core temperature below normal can lead to poor judgment and confusion, loss of consciousness and death - even in summer! Early signs of hypothermia may be as mild as poor judgment, a slight sensation of chilliness, and trouble using your hands for simple tasks. Later signs can include uncontrolled shivering, unconsciousness and death. Prevent hypothermia by having warm clothes and dressing in layers to adjust temperature as needed. Keep dry with good wind and rain gear: your body loses heat three times as fast when it's wet. Drink plenty of fluids, eat many small meals throughout the day, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Hiking in Wet or Icy Conditions

My best advice to give if you are going to hike in wet or icy conditions is to use great care hiking the mountain.  From my own experience of 1300+ hikes I have listed a number of ways to make it safely up and down the mountain in slick conditions:

    Try to find steps or handholds
    Perhaps grab on to trees
    Use a trekking pole
    Get down on all fours and scramble on slick spots
    Take it slow and cautious
    If it looks slippery, it likely is
    If its icy above tree-line use crampons and an ice axe
    Use proper footwear

Following the above should help make for a safer hike if conditions are slick such as in summer in wet humid conditions or in wintry conditions.  One exception to taking it slowly is in winter with adequate snow some hikers may glissade or slide down the trails.  If the mountain is icy I strongly advise to use crampons which provide the best traction in solid ice.  It is always harder to descend the mountain with icy or slick conditions than to ascend with such conditions.  Hopefully this advice will help people have safe hikes and fewer accidents in any season.

Researched, Compiled and Composed by Frederick Pitcher, 2010 Edition (see contact author)
Monadnock State Park Map, For you Safety, 2010

Below: Bald Rock after an ice storm

Monadnock Trails to visit:


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: Hiker Safety, Mountain Hiking, Backpacking Safety, Hiking Safety, Monadnock Trails, Monadnock Mountain, New Hampshire Hiking, Monadnock, Hiking New Hampshire, Mt Monadnock NH

Jaffrey Weather Forecast, NH

The weather above is for the base of the mountain.