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Thread: Most Challenging Hike up Monadnock?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2020

    Most Challenging Hike up Monadnock?

    We're heading to Monadnock Sunday with 2 other strong adults, no kids. I've hiked the more challenging trails in winter w/ adults, the easier trails in summer with kids. But it's been so long, I don't recall which are the more difficult summer trails. Can someone please advise? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    New Hampshire
    Pumpelly 8.8 mi +1950'
    Most of the others are in the 4-5 mi +1700-1850' range

    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Concord, NH
    If you want scrambling, Spellman is the way to go; it's the steepest trail on the mountain. Also, avoid Monandock this weekend at all costs.
    Proprietor: NH 52 With A View Facebook group
    Books: New Hampshire's 52 With A View - A Hiker's Guide; AMC Southern NH Trail Guide, 5th Edition; AMC White Mountain Guide, 31st Edition

  4. #4
    Senior Member alexmtn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Lexington, MA
    +1 for Spellman. Scrambly, yet friendly at the same time. Rocks and ledge, but not much skittery scree. Lots of nice views into the distance. Also, it hits the ridge at a particularly pretty section of the Pumpelly. +1 for the mob caution as well!


  5. #5
    Senior Member kerry13's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Otter River, Mass Avatar: Leisurely winter hike on Monadnock's Red Spot Trail
    Make sure you have reservations or don't go to the main park or half way house because you won't get in. I was there this morning and assistant mgr told me sat and sunday were already booked and there were only a few reservation slots open for monday and they would likely be gone already. Pumpelly parking is very limited and from what I have been hearing people have been parking where ever over there which has aggravated the locals and now the area is patrolled and locals police have been ticketing and towing (real irresponsible parkers). Marlboro trail has very limited parking and fills very early. Dublin trailhead has a good size parking area but I would definitely get there early too, to ensure a spot. Pumpelly, Spellman both are nice. Another suggestion if going from the park go Parker to Cliff Walk, to Bald Rock, Smith Connector to Ampitheater to White Arrow and up or continue on Ampitheater across White Arrow to west Ampitheater to Black Precipice to Smith Summit and up. Then down Red Spot or Spellman.
    Yesterday is history, Tomorrow a mystery,
    Today is a gift, enjoy it!


  6. #6
    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Brattleboro, Vermont
    Spellman and Red Spot are the two most challenging up.
    Pumpelly is the longest (and best) route to the top in my opinion.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Worcester, MA
    Echoing the previous comments:

    Pumpelly is the longest and best route, nice warm-up in the woods, quick ascent to ridge line, lots of long views well before the summit, limited parking

    My go-to loop on Monadnock is similar to one of kerry13's recommendations - Up via White Dot to Cascade Link to Spellman to Pumpelly to Summit & Back via White Dot to Smith Connecting to Bald Rock to Cliff Walk to Lost Farm to Parker

    Any of the trails off of Sidefoot to Bald Rock typically provide a short bit of solitude regardless of what is happening on the rest of the mountain. I am partial to Hedgehog.

    Hiking in from Gilson Pond is an overlooked option.

    When I was a child, the entrance to Spellman from Cascade Link was a bit grown in and almost hidden. That feature added a touch of mystery and wildness to that trail in my young imagination. As a result, Spellman will always be one of my favorite trails.
    Last edited by Tom_Murphy; 09-08-2020 at 11:03 AM. Reason: I can't spell.

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