North Pack Monadnock lies in southeastern New Hampshire, 12 miles away from its brawny, more famous and far more popular cousin, Mt. Monadnock. Hiking Mt. Monadnock is a gorgeous, hamstring-pulling adventure filled with people young and not-so-young. But if you’re looking for a pleasant time in nature, alone or nearly so, I recommend nearby North Pack.
It’s a lovely hike for people and dogs, gentle but steady uphill and downhill, only one somewhat steep bit, and 6.2 miles roundtrip. The elevation gain varies according to what source you read, but appears to be between 1300 and 1400 feet, a great warm-up to start the hiking season!
We took Ted’s Trail up (to the intersection with Cliff Trail) and were accompanied much of the way by a charming stream that made for picturesque moments and handy drinking spots for the canine contingent.
The stream also wandered in and among clumps of boulders, offering various small waterfalls and pools.
We had nearly perfect weather and conditions. The trail was dry underfoot. On April 22, after the snowy winter of 2011, only the tiniest few patches of the white stuff remained. The temperature was 50°- 55°; and the sun shone. There was a bit of haze, which we never noticed until we had a long view, as we did from the south ledges where we stopped for lunch.
The only thing that irritated me about this trail was the number of false summits. I swear I said, “Here we are, this must be the top” about seven times. Because the websites we read about the summit claimed it had limited views, we were surprised to find quite an expansive summit awaiting us, with a really humongous cairn and plenty of room to roam around and explore. The views were pretty, too. Just keep following those blue blazes!
Yes, we did see Mt. Monadnock, recognizable by its rocky top and for standing by itself. I’ve included a photo of it here. The haze made it hard to discern its solid rock cone, but I can’t complain about such a wonderful day.
Coming down we switched to Carolyn’s trail to enjoy the loop experience for different views and sights. The first quarter of the return trip meandered down slabs, not at all like Ted’s trail. That Carolyn sure likes her ledges!
Once past the ledges, the trail was a sweet, easy ramble that eventually joined up again with Ted’s and led us back to the trailhead.
The dogs slept like rocks all the way home.