Home > Monadnock

Preplanned Hike for Mt. Monadnock: White Dot Trail

Quick Facts I


Monadnock State Park HQ
Off of NH 124


3.8 miles roundtrip


3 hours


Moderately Steep


* hiking on rock ledges and 360 degree views from summit

Hike Rating

5 Stars

Quick Facts II


3,165 ft.


Jaffrey, NH
southwest NH

Best Map

"Mount Monadnock Hiking Trails"
NH Division of Parks & Recreation
Monadnock State Park
Feb. 1994 (free at park)


Strongly Recommended


     It has been said that Mt. Monadnock is the second most hiked mountain in the world after Mt. Fuji in Japan.  Whatever the case may be, if you look around the summit on a summer day, you'll see scores of kids and adults enjoying the fine views from this very popular peak.  The top half of the mountain is characterized by big slabs and boulders of rock that are fun to climb over.  There are many trails of varying levels of difficulty so there is something here for everyone.

     Mt. Monadnock is the centerpiece of the 5,000 acre Monadnock State Park. There are 40 miles of hiking trails, a visitor center, a campground with 21 tent sites and 7 youth group sites, a camp store, bathrooms, and shower facilities.  The park is open year-round although services are limited from November through April.  Pets are not allowed.

     The word "monadnock" originally comes from the Abnacki Indian language meaning "mountain that stands alone." Because Monadnock "stands alone", views from the treeless summit stretch far into the distance into surrounding states like Vermont and Massachusetts. Boston and the White Mountains are visible on a clear day.

     Mt. Monadnock forms one end of the roughly 50-mile Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail.  It is also the terminus of the 117-mile Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.

     Park rangers at the park's entrance and displays in the Monadnock Visitor Center provide excellent information about the mountain. There is a small entrance fee for people ages 6-64. For more information:

Monadnock State Park
Rt. 124
Jaffrey, NH 03452
(603) 532-8862
Campground reservations through ReserveAmerica: (877) 647-2757

Preplanned Hike 

     Hiking on the White Dot Trail, it is 1.9 mi. from the parking lot of the State Park headquarters off NH 124 to the summit.  The trail is marked by white dots on rocks.  The White Dot Trail is the shortest and most direct route to the summit.  Walking over rock slabs much of the time, it may also be the most fun.

     From the parking lot, you'll pass the bathroom facilities and the visitor center on your right.  The trail starts on a nearly flat dirt road.  After the junction with the Cascade Link Trail, the trail steepens.  You will ascend a well-constructed stone staircase followed soon thereafter by big slabs of rock.  About halfway up, you break out of the trees and a view opens up.  This is a great place for a break. Then it's back into the woods for a short clip.  When you emerge from the forest, more rock slabs appear with more magnificent views to the South.

     When you reach the junction of the White Dot and White Cross Trails, it's time for the final push to the summit.  A clear day on the summit offers many fine views.  To the north is Mt. Sunapee, and farther off, Mts. Moosilauke, Lafayette, and Washington.  To the northwest is Killington mountain in Vermont.  To the southeast is Boston.  To the southwest is Little Monadnock.  To the west, far off is Mt. Greylock.

     Descend the same route you came up - on the White Dot Trail.  However, if you want a change of scenery and an easier descent, consider taking the White Cross Trail down.  It parallels the White Dot Trail and ends at the same place the White Dot Trail started.  It is less steep than the White Dot Trail and there is more trail hiking (i.e., fewer rock slabs).  If you really enjoyed the White Dot Trail, stick with it because it is the more interesting trail in this hiker's opinion.


To Monadnock State Park (headquarters):

From the east:

NH 124
2 miles from Jaffrey
Sign for "Monadnock State Park"
Turn right onto Dublin Road that will lead you to the park.
Pass "Monadnock Bible Conference" on left.
Sign for "Monadnock State Park"
Turn left onto Poole Road to Monadnock State Park headquarters.
Arrive at Toll House and parking area.

From the west:

7 miles from Troy
10 miles from Marlborough
15 miles from Keene
NH 124
Pass Old Toll Road on left.
Just under 3 miles from Old Toll Road, sign for "Monadnock State Park"
Turn left onto Dublin Road that will lead you to the park.
Pass "Monadnock Bible Conference" on left.
Sign for "Monadnock State Park"
Turn left onto Poole Road to Monadnock State Park headquarters.
Arrive at Toll House and parking area.

Submitted by: Mark, MountainSummits.com, age 31, athletic male.

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