Trail: White Dot Trail > White Cross Trail
Miles: 5.2
Hours: 4 hiking, 5 total
Level: Easy/Moderate

March 26, 2016

Mt. Monadnock (3,165’) is one of the most popular mountains to hike in New Hampshire. It towers over other mountains in the area by 1,000 feet and offers plenty of trails starting in different towns that all offer beautiful views at the summit. In simple terms, almost everyone hikes Mt. Monadnock.


NOTE: As I said before, Mt. Monadnock is a VERY popular hike. If you are looking for a peaceful hike, this may not be for you. Every time I have hiked Mt. Monadnock, the parking lots have been full. Because of its central location and variety of trails, there is almost never a time it is not packed. However, the views at the top make it well worth everything!


Alex, my dad, and I began the hike on Mt. Monadnock at 10:00 AM on a chilly but beautiful March day. Don’t let the top image fool you! It was from my previous hike to Monadnock in the summer. We were all bundled up for this hike. We didn’t have that much snow this year, and the weather warmed up quickly, so we were so excited to hike so early in the season! And since it was early in the season, there weren’t too many people there! We parked at Monadnock State Park Headquarters in Jaffrey which is the first time I had been able to park there. In the past, I had to park in the overflow lots. There were two trails that we could hike to the summit from here: White Dot Trail and White Cross Trail. Both are relatively easy, 2-mile one-way trails that gain 1,700 feet of elevation. We ascended the White Dot Trail and descended the White Cross Trail.

The White Dot Trail started off easy with a gradual elevation gain. The trail was mainly made up of roots and rocky stairways which made for a nice uphill stroll through the beautiful forest. After a half mile, we came to the junction of the White Cross Trail but stayed on the White Dot Trail for our ascent. The White Dot Trail is steeper which is why it is recommended to ascend it.

The fun began after the junction! The trail became more steep with larger boulders, and towards the end of the first mile, there was a large boulder we had to scramble up and around. But don’t you worry! After we conquered this boulder, we were rewarded with more scrambling! I personally love scrambling, so I really enjoyed this portion of the hike. After some steep rock scrambles, we began to go in and out of the treeline. We made sure to take our time here because the views were GORGEOUS.

Once we pushed through the treeline, we were rewarded with more beautiful views and one last HUGE rock scramble to the summit! We made it to the summit at 12:00 PM and enjoyed our lunch while taking in the views. Because Mt. Monadnock is the tallest mountain in the area, we could see for miles! This was also the first time it was not insanely packed at the summit which made for a more enjoyable experience.

Mt. Monadnock Summit

Mt. Monadnock Summit

After freezing our butts off while enjoying the views, we began our descent. We followed the White Dot Trail down from the summit until we came to the junction of White Cross Trail. Even though the White Cross Trail is less steep, the rock scrambles were still difficult! We stopped a few times to give our legs a break. This was the first time Alex and I hiked with my dad, so we didn’t want to push him too much and have him hate hiking with us lol! Once we were below the treeline, it was smooth sailing! (Kind of.) The trail is super rocky, so we had to pay attention to where we were stepping. Sometimes, we got ahead of ourselves and stepped too quickly… and I slipped down the trail at one point. SO moral of the story was to take our time! I am okay, don’t worry. The trail was a bit wet, so I just happened to put my foot in the wrong place. I ended up with a nice bruise on my bum!

We arrived at our car at 2:00 PM and began our trek home. My dad was overly excited about the hike and said he wanted to come on more! SUCCESS! We didn’t push him too much lol!