Little did I know how popular this place is for a hike. The trail map showed several choices and two parking lots. I decided to make it a 6-mile loop hike by starting at the western parking, climb North Pack Monadnock via the Wapack Trail, then descend using the Cliff and Ted’s Trails, and return along the road. Good choice.
The western parking lot is the northern terminus of the 21-mile Wapack Trail, although I’d only be following it to the top of the mountain. If you’re going there on a weekend, plan to get there early, as lots of through-hikers will have already positioned a car there. I arrived at 8am and it was already mostly full. (The eastern parking lot had only two cars in it at 8am but that’s another story as you’ll see.) The Wapack Trail, based on my experience and hiker comments, seems to be a very enjoyable trail, and I’d look forward to doing it sometime.
At only 1.4 miles, it seems I was up to the top in no time, while still getting a good workout. The view south, especially towards Mt Monadnock, was wonderful, especially as I had to summit to myself (although that was soon going to change).
All around the summit were ledges where good views could be had in most directions. My favorite was from the junction of the Cliff Trail and Ted’s Trail south towards Pack Monadnock and its fire tower.
Heading down, you have to make a big decision: Ted’s or Carolyn’s. I chose Ted’s which appeared to be the clear favorite.
As it got down off the mountain, it followed a pretty stream with lots of water features and inviting places to stop for a rest.
I love it when trail builders have a sense of humor. The trail could have easily been built around this little double-waterfall. Instead, it was built to pass through a crack in the rocks and passing directly in front of the waterfall. Based on other images I’ve seen, this was clearly one of people’s favorite spots on the trail!
Like I said, get there early. This was the scene at the eastern parking lot (which only holds 4-5 cars) at around noon. By my count there are over 30 cars there!