Guide to Mount Monadnock State Park

Mount Monadnock State Park is home to not only the eponymous mountain but also land around it. Mount Monadnock rockets up to an elevation of 3,165 feet and the park is home to thousands of acres of protected highlands. Within the park, there are plenty of activities to keep your interest year round. Learn more about the area with our guide to Mount Monadnock State Park, which is open year round.

Where is Mount Monadnock?

Mount Monadnock sits within Mount Monadnock State park, which is about 22 miles south west from the Blue Bear Inn. The visitors center is on the southeast end of the park just off Poole Road.

Mount Monadnock Parking

There are three trailheads where you can park for access to the park: Monadnock HQ, Old Toll Road and Gilson Pond. Monadnock HQ is next to the visitor's center while Old Toll Road is at 9 Halfway House Road and Gilson Pond is at 585 Dublin Road. A parking day pass costs $15 plus a $1 transaction fee. A parking pass guarantees you a parking spot when you arrive. To make a reservation, visit the park's website.

Mount Monadnock Hiking Trails

The three trailheads --- Monadnock HQ, Old Toll Road and Gilson Pond --- provide access to a variety of trails. Monadnock HQ provides access to the main trails --- White Dot and White Cross --- and offers the most direct route to the top. Old Toll Road allows you to access side trails --- such as White Arrow but no direct access to White Dot --- and alternative destinations. Gilson Pond accesses a longer hike of about six hours for those interested in solitude rather than reaching the top. Gilson Pond has no access to White Dot or White Cross trails. All routes to the summit are steep and rocky. The White Dot Trail, which is accessible via the Monadnock HQ trailhead, is the most ideal route to take to the top of Mount Monadnock. Pets are not permitted on the trail or in any portion of the state park per New Hampshire Parks Pets Policy.

Climbing Mount Monadnock

If you are planning on making the trek to the top of Mount Monadnock, there are some important factors to consider.

Timing is crucial when you set out on your trek. A minimum of four to five hours is a reasonable estimate for how long it will take you to reach the top. If you have younger children or older people, extend that estimate to five to six hours. Starting your hike before lunch will provide you ample time to reach the summit and return. Even though the park is open year round, from May to October provide ideal times to make the hike.

The trails are not smooth thoroughfares. Hikers can expect to traverse broken rocks, climb rock slopes or encounter other steep and uneven paths. Make sure you bring the right equipment including sunblock, extra clothing such as jackets, plenty of water, snacks and a trash bag because you'll need to pack out whatever you bring in. 

Mount Monadnock Winter Activities

During the winter, Mount Monadnock's hiking trails are available for snowshoeing, when conditions allow. Monadnock HQ is the only trailhead that is plowed and maintained during the winter. Furthermore, there are eight miles of trails for nordic skiing on the lower slopes of the mountain. These intermediate trails are ungroomed and do require a minimum of 12 inches of natural snow to cover the rocky paths. All skiers must bring their own equipment. Reference the ski trails map for more information. Even without snow, the hiking trails are available for winter hiking,