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View Full Version : Gilson Pond Trailhead On Mt Monadnock



DayTrip
04-12-2016, 08:09 PM
Can anyone tell me if the Gilson Pond Trailhead has a parking fee and how big/busy that lot is? Would like to do Birchtoft Trail Saturday and map shows the lower lot as year round. Wondering what the likelihood of getting a space early AM Sat is considering how busy all the trailheads are on Monadnock. Never hiked this side of mountain so any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

TJsName
04-12-2016, 11:30 PM
If the main lot is open I believe there is a fee. I parked in the winter lot on New Years and there was no fee.

kerry13
04-13-2016, 01:43 AM
I don't believe that campground is open yet so I doubt there is anyone there to just collect fees for hiking. Were numerous tents in old campground, at main park area, last Sat which is why I doubt Gilson is being used right now. Birchtoft is not a well traveled trail for hiking except when Park staff has to use it for overflow parking on peak days in the fall so parking there should not be a problem at all.

Ken MacGray
04-13-2016, 06:25 AM
I was there last week, climbed up via Birchtoft, and the campground is not open yet. You'll need to park in the lower lot. No fee.

DayTrip
04-13-2016, 12:38 PM
I was there last week, climbed up via Birchtoft, and the campground is not open yet. You'll need to park in the lower lot. No fee.

Thanks for the info.

DayTrip
04-13-2016, 12:44 PM
I don't believe that campground is open yet so I doubt there is anyone there to just collect fees for hiking. Were numerous tents in old campground, at main park area, last Sat which is why I doubt Gilson is being used right now. Birchtoft is not a well traveled trail for hiking except when Park staff has to use it for overflow parking on peak days in the fall so parking there should not be a problem at all.

Is it unpopular because it is a lousy trail or is it just relatively unknown? Seems like every trail on Monadnock now is a mad house. I hiked it for the first time from the official state lot off road before Birchtoft last Spring and was horrified by the sheer volume of hikers. Must have been hundreds of cars in those lots. I walked through cars and crowds for almost 10 minutes before I hit the trail head. Pretty sure I will never use that route again.

Pumpelly Trail is still my favorite approach but that trailhead sees some serious foot traffic as well. Love the mountain but hate crowds that get that large. Takes away from the wilderness aspect of hiking for me.

dug
04-13-2016, 12:46 PM
I don't think you should be considering "wilderness" when going to Monadnock. Too easy of a hike, too close to populated areas, too nice of views. One of the top 3(?) climbed mountains in the world, you aren't going to get a private setting.

sierra
04-13-2016, 01:03 PM
You may have done it, but my favorite trail on the peak is the Dublin trail. If you want to beat the crowds at least before the summit, consider the Pumpelly Ridge trail,( you might get lucky and find the secret cave).

TJsName
04-13-2016, 01:26 PM
Is it unpopular because it is a lousy trail or is it just relatively unknown? Seems like every trail on Monadnock now is a mad house. I hiked it for the first time from the official state lot off road before Birchtoft last Spring and was horrified by the sheer volume of hikers. Must have been hundreds of cars in those lots. I walked through cars and crowds for almost 10 minutes before I hit the trail head. Pretty sure I will never use that route again.

Pumpelly Trail is still my favorite approach but that trailhead sees some serious foot traffic as well. Love the mountain but hate crowds that get that large. Takes away from the wilderness aspect of hiking for me.

It's much longer than the more popular ascents. Same principle applies to the other mountains - most people like the shortest route. Less direct routes, IME, tend to have a nicer/softer trail (nicer on the feet). I suspect you'll enjoy it.

srhigham
04-13-2016, 02:25 PM
It's a nice trail. I've hiked it off peak season and even during the week in summer and scarcely saw another person.

kerry13
04-13-2016, 05:41 PM
As has been pointed out Birchtoft is a great trail. I don't often take it from the campground up but I take the Hinkley trail over to Birchtoft or use some of the x-country ski trails from the main park to get over to it and go up from there. Everyone complains about the crowds but I can hike there on the most crowded day and if I don't want to run into anyone I don't have to (so long as I don't summit). There are hundreds of trails on that mountain you just have to be willing to find them. White Dot, White Cross, Old Toll Rd, White Arrow are always the most crowded main trails. Dublin, Marlboro, Marian, Mossy Brook, Great Pasture, Smith Summit, Cascade Link, Spellman, Monta Rosa, Fairy Spring, Cliff Walk, Lost Farm are never any more crowded than anything in the Whites and like I said there are lots more and better trails not on any maps.

DayTrip
04-13-2016, 06:19 PM
You may have done it, but my favorite trail on the peak is the Dublin trail. If you want to beat the crowds at least before the summit, consider the Pumpelly Ridge trail,( you might get lucky and find the secret cave).

Yes I have. That is actually my third favorite route. I usually do Pumpelly or Marlboro and tried Dublin last year for the first time and enjoyed it. I wanted to try something different again instead of taking my "standard" route. I drive an economy car now so the trail heads at Dublin and Marlboro are an issue for me now when mud season or poor weather is a factor. The last time I did Marlboro Trail the road was an issue even in my F-150. From what I understand the road has been improved now but I haven't been.

DayTrip
04-13-2016, 06:25 PM
As has been pointed out Birchtoft is a great trail. I don't often take it from the campground up but I take the Hinkley trail over to Birchtoft or use some of the x-country ski trails from the main park to get over to it and go up from there. Everyone complains about the crowds but I can hike there on the most crowded day and if I don't want to run into anyone I don't have to (so long as I don't summit). There are hundreds of trails on that mountain you just have to be willing to find them. White Dot, White Cross, Old Toll Rd, White Arrow are always the most crowded main trails. Dublin, Marlboro, Marian, Mossy Brook, Great Pasture, Smith Summit, Cascade Link, Spellman, Monta Rosa, Fairy Spring, Cliff Walk, Lost Farm are never any more crowded than anything in the Whites and like I said there are lots more and better trails not on any maps.

Good to know. Now that you mention it when I went up from State lot last year I went down Pumpelly to get away from crowds to Cascade Link and took that back. It was a nice trail with some awkward terrain and relatively few people. Hopefully I'll do Birchtoft/Spellman/Pumpelly/Red Dot as a "loop" this weekend. Will all be new trails for me (except summit on Pumpelly). I usually decide if I will summit or not based on the crowds I can see. If it looks ridiculous I usually pass.