Mt Monadnock Hiking Guide

man on Mt Monadnock peak

Mount Monadnock is my favorite place to hike in New Hampshire. As a kid, I would hike there a few times a year with my family and these experiences helped me develop a passion for hiking. In this post you will learn more about Mt Monadnock, Mt Monadnock Trails, recommendations to make this a fun hiking experience, and some frequently asked questions,.

Jump to 

  1. About Mt Monadnock
  2. Mt Monadnock Weather
  3. Mt Monadnock Trails
  4. 3 Recommendations For a Great Hike
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

About Mt Monadnock

Mount Monadnock is a 3,165 ft tall mountain in the towns of Jaffrey and Dublin, New Hampshire. It is the most prominent mountain peak in southern New Hampshire and is the highest point in Cheshire County. It lies 38 miles southwest of Concord and 62 miles northwest of Boston. Mt Monadnock averages a total of 125,000 hikers yearly. 

Covid Precautions

This popular hiking destination now requires Day-Use Reservations to ensure hikers can social distance and move freely on the mountain. In the past, Mt Monadnock would allow unlimited hikers but things have changed due to the Covid 19 Virus. Hikers will also be encouraged to wear a face mask or covering at all times and visit in groups of 10 or less.

Mt Monadnock Weather

Below is the forecast for Mt Monadnock. The mountain is located in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Be prepared for brisk winds when standing on the mountain peak. On sunny days, you would be fine wearing a windbreaker or sweatshirt. On cold overcast days, you should wear layers so you will be prepared for the cold wind/snow conditions. 

Mt Monadnock Trails - Which one should you hike?

There are 3 main trails to hike up Mt. Monadnock. Each has a different path and scenic route. These trails are not very difficult and are great for family hikes.

The graphic below is from the NHS park website and is helpful for choosing a trailhead. You can also review the Monadnock Hiking Map for more help in choosing a trailhead.

Mt Monadnock Trails

3 Recommendations For a Great Hike

Here are 3 tips I wish I knew before I went hiking on Mt. Monadnock.

1. Bring 2-4 Litres Of Water Per Person

Experts recommend to drink about 1 litre of water per hour when hiking in strenuous conditions. The hiking time on Mt. Monadnock is 3-6 hours so you should bring about 3-6 litres of water. We understand that bringing water can be heavy so we just recommend a minimum of 2-3 litres per person.  It would be very smart to buy this 2 pack of Nalgene Water Bottles to bring per person. That is equal to 2.8 litres of water per person and it only costs $23.90 for a pack of 2. When I went hiking here, I probably had .5-1 litre of water the whole day and I suffered from a headache and felt cranky.

2. Make sure you have proper hiking footwear

Before you go hiking up Mt. Monadnock, make sure you have a good pair of hiking footwear. This could be boots, hiking shoes, trail runners, or sandals. The terrain going up is rocky so I would probably avoid barefoot sandles. Here are some hiking shoes to look through if you don’t have any. Also, if you don’t feel prepared then you could buy a manual treadmill to help get in shape!

3. Pack Snacks or A Picnic

What’s worse than being thirsty on a hike? Being hungry on a hike… As you may know, it is a good idea to pack snacks for your hike that include protein to provide energy to keep you going the whole day. Mount Monadnock also has some beautiful secluded spots towards the top of the mountain which is perfect for a lunch picnic. When I went hiking, we ate lunch towards the top of the white dot trail and it was one of my favorite memories. Something like this picture would be perfect for a hike.

fruit and vegetables in trays

Frequently Asked Questions

It will depend on which trail you choose. Here is an estimate for how long it will take per trail:

  • White Dot/White Cross Trail: 3-4 hours Roundtrip | 1.9 Miles One Way
  • Old Halfway House Trail/White Arrow Trail: 3-4 hours Roundtrip | 2.2 Miles One Way
  • Birchtoft Trail/Red Spot Trail: 5-6 hours Roundtrip | 3.5 Miles One Way

I would recommend the White Dot/White Cross Trail. It is beginner friendly and it is the shortest hike. While it is a little steep, it is a great hike for ages 10+. There are great spots along the way up for a family picnic as well.

Mount Monadnock has a parking lot at the base of the mountain. Do some research on which trail you would like to hike before you park because each trail has a different parking location. The 3 locations are Old Toll Road, Gilson Pond, and Monadnock Headquarters. The Monadnock Headquarters is the most frequently hiked trail.

Reservations are required and there is a $15 Parking Day Pass. ($15 fee includes admission for 6 occupants in one vehicle)

Pick a trailhead button below to make a reservation


169 Poole Rd (Access to main trails – White Dot and White Cross)


9 Halfway House Rd (Access to White Arrow – no direct access to White Dot)


585 Dublin Rd (No access to White Dot or White Cross – 6 hour hike)

A person hiking with a backpack in the mountains.
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