Logo   Mount Monadnock NH Travel Guide
Climbing 3,165-foot (965-meter) Mt Monadnock is a rite of passage for many New Englanders. It can be satisfying, but also dangerous. Here's what you need to know. 


Mount Monadnock, in southern New Hampshire between the towns of Jaffrey and Dublin (map), is the second most-climbed mountain on earth, following only Japan's Mount Fuji.

Each year, about 125,000 people make the 2-hour climb up Mt Monadnock, then the 2-hour descent to the base (4 hours total).

What's a Monadnock?

Unlike Fuji's majestic volcano cone, Mt Monadnock is a bald dome of tortured metamorphic rock (schist and quartzite) smoothed somewhat by the glaciers that covered New England with a blanket of ice thousands of feet thick about 18,000 years ago.

Monadnock has been adopted as the American term for inselberg ("island mountain"), a mountain whose peak rises above the glacial ice flow surrounding it.

Mt Monadnock thus may have retained vegetation and features on its summit that predated the glacial age, but in the 1800s farmers set fire to forests on the mountain to flush out wolves.

The wolves were shot, the farmers' herds and flocks were protected, but destruction of trees on the summit led to erosion of the fragile soil covering, leaving the mountain with a summit of naked rock and an artificial tree line several hundred feet below the peak.

Any living sign of pre-glacial times was obliterated.

Regaining the Past

Trees are slowly creeping up the mountain as the soil is naturally replaced, but it will take centuries for nature to repair the damage and again cloak Monadnock completely in forest.

Another New Hampshire White Mountain with a similar history, also good to climb, is Mount Cardigan east of Lebanon. More...

The View from the Summit

The view from the summit on a clear day is spectacular:

View from summit of Mt Monadnock NH

You can see all six New England states, and up to 100 miles (161 km) in all directions. (Note the tiny people in the photo above.)

How to Climb Mount Monadnock

Here's information on climbing Mt Monadnock, and on the trails to the summit.

Click here to download a simple trail map (.pdf, 2.6Mb).

Mount Monadnock is located in Monadnock State Park, a 5000-acre (2023-hectare) reserve with camping, picnic and swimming areas, and 40 miles (64 km) of hiking trails (map).

Monadnock State Park
NH Route 124 (map)
Jaffrey NH 03452
Tel 603-532-8862

Climbing Mount Monadnock

Trails up Mt Monadnock

Download Trail Map (.pdf, 2.6Mb)

Mount Cardigan

Lake Sunapee

Lake Winnipesaukee

Hiking in New England

Camping in New England

New England Outdoors

NH Highlights

Tourist Information

About New Hampshire


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View from Mount Monadnock NH

View from part way up the White Dot Trail.




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