Hiking Mount Monadnock? Here’s What You Need to Know

Jaffrey, Cheshire County, New Hampshire
Trail Length
3.8 miles
Trail Type
Loop, Dirt
Elevation Gain
1,774 feet
Trail difficulty
Average Time
3 hours (Round-trip)
Wheelchair Access
$15 per vehicle
35 campsites, 5 remote hike-to sites
360 views, Boston skyline (from 80+ miles), Challenging day hike
View from the top of Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, New Hampshire

Located in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, Mount Monadnock is one of the greatest gems for hikers in the southern NH area. 

The 3,165-foot mountain is not only a giant by regional standards but intertwined with the identity of the Keene, New Hampshire region.

If you’re looking for a more challenging day hike, then here is everything you need to know about Mount Monadnock!

Getting There

Mount Monadnock’s main parking lot is located on NH Route-124 (Main Street) in Jaffrey. 

Some GPS systems will take you to a lesser-known entrance that’s a couple of miles away from the main entrance. If you’re looking to find the main entrance with the White Dot Trailhead, then look for the large, green sign on the road that says “Mount Monadnock”.

Parking & Fees

Once you arrive in the parking lot, you will be greeted by a park ranger who will ask for a $15 parking fee for both residents and non-residents of NH. This fee will give you access for the entire day.

Important Policies

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on Mount Monadnock due to the long hike and rock scrambling.

As always, carry in, carry out, and follow all Leave No Trace principles while hiking or camping.

Hiking Mount Monadnock

The most popular route at Mount Monadnock is to take the White Dot Trail to the top and White Cross on the descent. This loop forms a 3.8-mile trek with a 1,774’ elevation gain.

Most notably, the trail is well-marked and easy to follow, but don’t let the short distance fool you. There is some rock scrambling involved, and the steep incline is pretty tough on beginners, although it should be nothing new to more experienced hikers.

If you’re looking for an easier hike nearby, Gap Mountain, Watatic, and Mount Wachusett have stunning views of Monadnock and the surrounding area for much more beginner-friendly work.

However, if you choose to hike Monadnock without a lot of experience or before earning your “trail legs” for the season, we strongly recommend taking breaks on your way up. The steepness continues throughout most of the hike.

The View

View from the top of Mount Monadnock with rock pile during winter

At the summit, you will find a very stunning, 360-degree view of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. On a clear day, you can even see the Boston skyline from more than 80 miles away.

However, be mindful while on the summit. Like most New Hampshire mountains, it’s very windy, and harsh weather conditions only make it worse.

For that reason, we strongly suggest packing a windbreaker or an extra layer, even if you don’t think you need it. There are large rocks you can hide behind, but the wind can be overwhelming at the top.

What to Bring

As we mentioned, packing a windbreaker is beneficial, but don’t stop there.

Always check the weather ahead of your hike, as any conditions Jaffrey experiences are bound to be more intense at the summit.

A map isn’t entirely necessary, as the trails are clearly marked. However, bringing a map and a flashlight is always a good idea on any hike.

We also recommend a water pack that you can fit on your back or a water bottle holder on your belt. Even mild rock scrambling becomes more challenging and dangerous when you are trying to hold a water bottle. If you’re carrying any other gear, use a hiking backpack.

Lastly, due to the strenuous nature of the hike, we recommend packing a snack for the summit. A piece of fruit, a granola bar, or something light should suffice.


While Mount Monadnock is a day hike, many will choose to camp here or in the area. There are 35 designated campsites on the reservation and 5 hike-to sites for more remote camping. NH senior citizens will receive a $5 discount per reservation, and there is a $1 transaction fee when reserving online, which we recommend you do in advance.

Also, there are plenty of private campgrounds nearby, in NH, MA, and VT. However, if you’re looking for cozier lodging nearby, we recommend looking for hotels in nearby Keene, NH, as they won’t be far from the hiking site.

Review of Mount Monadnock

Overall, Mount Monadnock, especially the White Dot to White Cross loop, is our favorite hike for miles around. If you find yourself in the area and you’re comfortable with minor rock scrambling, then we wouldn’t recommend any other hike around.

In terms of views, challenge, and prestige, there aren’t any comparable hikes until you reach Mount Cardigan, which is 2 hours (and 97 miles) north in Orange, NH.

If you’re coming from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or southern New Hampshire, then this is the best hike around, and it’s surprisingly lacking in large crowds throughout the year. Yes, you will find other people, but it isn’t nearly as overwhelming as Mount Wachusett or similar hikes in the area.

Enjoy the 360 Views for Yourself

Now that you know all about camping and hiking Mount Monadnock, take a short drive over to Jaffrey and see for yourself! It really is worth the trip for anyone who loves hiking!

As always, feel free to share your experiences with Mount Monadnock in the comments below, and keep reading our blog for our latest reviews of your favorite New England destinations!

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