37-Mountain Most Climbed – Monadnock SP

They say Monadnock is the 3rd most-climbed mountain in the world, after ones in China and Japan.  Based on my experience this November Sunday I’d agree with that assessment.

Towards the summit from the White Cross Trail.  Note the crowds.

The mountaintop really is remarkable and it’s easy to see why it’s attracted so many climbers over the years.  There are no other high mountains around it, so the view is extensive in every direction.  (It is the type site from which all other monadnocks get their name after all.)  It was rather hazy when I visited but still enjoyable.  I enjoyed how the mountaintop had been smoothed by the glacier, giving it all kinds of weird and fantastic shapes.  Many of the smoother rock faces are covered with names chiseled into the rock by many of the 19th-century visitors.

The summit – windy and cold today.

The summit.

Carvings on the summit.

View to the west with the sky finally clearing.

View to the north.

I chose to avoid the main trail and instead hiked due west from the parking lot on the Parker Trail, then north to the summit on the Cliff Walk.  Excellent choice and I can’t recommend it enough.  It wasn’t much longer, and instead had far fewer people, far more viewpoints, and was simply a much nicer trail.  I descended the White Dot & White Cross Trails, which were crowded and rocky.  The viewpoints all had colorful names, like Hello Rock, Point Surprise, Thoreau’s Seat, and so on.  Bald Rock 500 feet below the summit would be a great destination in itself.  I’ll say it again: Cliff Walk is the way to go if you’re coming from the main park entrance.  It was still pretty cloudy on the way up but here are a few photos taken from the Cliff Walk:

Early morning on the Cliff Walk

From Bald Rock towards the summit.

There are dozens of other trails to choose from, some long and some short, so the combinations are endless.  The Pumpelly Trail, though longer, looks like a gentler and less-used hike to the top too, and might be my choice next time.  Here are a few more views of the geology:

Some natural rock carvings.

A geologist’s paradise.

The park has two campgrounds but I didn’t visit them so I can’t report on them today.  I understand that the larger Gilson Pond campground is newer.  They even have park ranger programs during the summer.  What a fun place!  Happy travels!

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