Monadnock Trails, Monadnock Mountain, New Hampshire Hiking, New Hampshire Maps, Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey, NH, Hiking New Hampshire
Monadnock State Park Side Trails
The side trails that emanate out of the State Park Headquarters are less crowded than the White Dot or White Cross Trails to summit. The side trails up the mountain are generally more eroded and have seen more use than the Halfway House Trails. The Harling and Hinkley Trails as well as the cross country ski trails are secluded, lightly beaten, mossy, grassy corridors through the woods. Cascade Link and Spellman Trails make for a scenic hike up the mountain via the Pumpelly Trail that leads along an open ridge to the summit. The Parker Trail and Lost Farm Trails lead to the Cliffwalk with it's declivities of open ledge and Bald Rock, an open crag. Take the Smith Connector to Monadnock's summit via Amphitheater to White Arrow Trail or to White Cross and White Dot Trails.
Cascade Link offers a scenic hike up to the Pumpelly Trail for a longer hike up the
mountain. From Headquarters take the White Dot Trail to Falcon Spring junction to Cascade Link (.7 miles from headquarters).
Cascade Link shortly passes the
Harling trail on right (sign). Right after the Harling junction Cascade Link passes through a birch/hardwood forest that has been devastated by the Dec. '08 ice storm and soon comes along some small cascades (may be dry)
then crosses the Birchtoft-Red Spot Trail junction (1.2 miles from headquarters). Cascade Link heads north in 20 feet from the Red Spot Trail through a spruce forest then to the Spellman trail (1.4 miles from headquarters), on left. Cascade Link continues through spruce forest with much damage from the March '10 ice storm higher up, passes the source for Eleventh brook and then opens up with
some limited views up to Town Line peak and across the valley to the Wapacks, then
the path joins the Pumpelly trail 2.1 miles from headquarters, 1.4 miles to the summit (3.5 mile hike).
Spellman Trail is the steepest maintained trail. The Spellman Trail starts on level ground from Cascade Link (1.4 miles from headquarters) then climbs a section of steep ledge with excellent views toward the east then enters spruce woods shortly before reaching Pumpelly trail in .6 miles(2 miles from headquarters and .7 miles to the summit, a 2.7 mile hike).
Red Spot Trail is less steep than the Spellman Trail and is much less crowded than the main trails from Headquarters. The Red Spot Trail is reached by Cascade Link (1.2 miles from headquarters) from Falcon junction via the White Dot trail as well as Birchtoft Trail from Gilson Pond (2.1 miles from Gilson Pond parking). The Red Spot Trail starts at the junction of Cascade Link and Birchtoft Trail, shortly passing the Cascade Link junction to Spellman Trail. The Red Spot trail heads uphill at a moderate grade reaching the Old Ski Trail in .4 miles. The Red Spot Trail climbs up along woods that have been hit hard by recent ice storms. The Red Spot Trail trail climbs past the Doric Temple with views east at a steep ledgy section (.7 miles from Birchtoft jct.). The Doric Temple was named because the cliffs resembled a simple Greek temple from a distance. There are some views on the trail (.9 miles from Birchtoft jct.) as Smith Connecter is reached (no longer on map but jct. is still marked on rock). The grade eases over open ledge with views of the summit and in a short distance reaches the Pumpelly Trail 0.4 miles to the summit (1 mile from Birchtoft Jct.).
Old Ski Trail leads northeast from the White Dot trail just below the plateau, the path follows a nice easy ski touring grade, but is too eroded unless there is very deep snow to ski on leading to the Red Spot Trail.
Hinkley Trail leads north from Poole Road (0 miles) east of Monadnock State Park headquarters connecting Poole Road to Harling Trail and Birchtoft Trail, linking Monadnock State Park to Gilson Pond, and the new campground. The Hinkley trail's signs are set back from Poole Road and you need to look for the signs. The path is lightly beaten and mossy in spots. The route is well marked by yellow markers. The forest changes from pines to hardwoods with spruce and joins up with Poole Brook shortly before reaching the Harling Trail junction (.5 miles). The Harling Trail heads west to Cascade Link and up Monadnock. The Hinkley Trail continues north (follow signs) along a lightly beaten path through logged woods and is now young hardwood re-growth with some trees bent from the recent ice storm on the way to the Birchtoft Trail junction (1 mile).
Harling Trail is a lightly beaten path and is not hiked very much. The path is mossy and grassy in spots but is easy to follow. The path heads east down from Cascade Link .1 miles north from White Dot Trail at Falcon junction and south of Red Spot trail (sign). The path heads down to X-C ski trails with a sign to the State Park Campground, the Harling Trail (sign) now an old woods road continues east coinciding with the X-C Ski Trails passing a few junctions until reaching the Hinkley junction and Poole Brook (sign and bridge) where the Harling Trail currently ends (.7 miles). The Hinkley Trail leads south to Poole Road and Monadnock State Park Headquarters or across the brook the Hinkley trail heads north to the Birchtoft Trail, leading to Gilson Pond and the new State park campground.
Lost Farm Trail is generally crowd free although the path is well beaten. The Lost Farm Trail is marked by some white markers, is easy to follow and is a longer route to the summit via Bald Rock. The Lost Farm Trail leads north uphill from the Parker trail .6 miles from State Park Headquarters heading up by nearby Mead brook along the west side of a stone wall then turns west to head toward the Cliffwalk junction near Ainsworth Seat and Thoreau Seat. The path heads up on moderate grades through a hardwood forest then turns to spruce. Shortly before reaching the Cliffwalk, there is a fine viewpoint on right at a declivity of open ledge that resembles a slide. For reverse trail description from Cliffwalk see Bald Rock Ridge Trails.
Parker Trail (from Headquarters) on gentle grades from leads headquarters 1.4 miles to the Old Toll Rd. The trail is marked with yellow blazes and the trail is easy to follow. From State Park Headquarters Parker Trail signs lead to the south end of Poole Reservoir then pass through an area known as Mead’s Orchard, now just stone walls in the woods. The Parker Trail passes the Lost Farm junction in .6 miles (signed, heads up north then west to the Cliffwalk). The Parker Trail continues through woods passing a vernal stream then Hunter Rock a large glacial boulder at stonewall crossing. Shortly beyond the Former Cliffview trail junction is reached(a steep difficult route, no sign) then the current Cliffwalk junction (sign, leads north up the mountain). The Cliffwalk continues uphill and soon passes through a pass known as The Notch then at a sign a path, sharp left, southeast, a side path leads to a fine viewpoint Little Mtn. Then continuing east on the Parker Trail in 50 yards leads to the Old Toll Rd. For Directions from Old Toll Road see BaldRockTrails.
X-C Ski Trails is a ski touring trail network in an area east of the mountain that is lightly used, is un-groomed in winter and requires at least 8 ” of natural snow to ski. The trails are on easy grades and do not head up the mountain. The trails are marked with blue diamonds and are generally easy to follow for a woods walk in summer. Do not hike over ski tracks; the trails are for skiing. Southeast of headquarters the ski trails were all closed due to recent logging activity, however, now a loop has been opened. There is a map available at State Park Headquarters. There is a map of the currently open X-CSkiTrails on this website. The ski trails have recently been marked by blue diamonds so they should be easier to follow if nobody has broken trail yet. It still may be a good idea for anyone skiing that they should bring a map and compass and know how to use them in case they happen to lose their way.
Dora Spaulding Nature Trail is a well signed nature trail with many signs and descriptions of various trees, vegetation, and plant communities in a few loop paths. There is parking for a few cars or you can hike down Poole Road from State Park Headquarters. Some of the signs and information cannisters were recently missing (summer 2010). The loop paths are lightly used and care is needed to follow paths, look for signs. Also there is a patch of Rhododendron which is one of the most northern patches of this bush. Dora Spaulding Trail starts on Poole Road east of the Hinkley Trail and a path leads north out to Poole Brook a vernal stream along an old bridle path. Boulder loop may be difficult to follow. The open planting area loop is well signed.
Monadnock Trails website: Author, Creator, and photos by Frederick Pitcher 2014
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.
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