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How to Hike to North Pack Monadnock and Pack Monadnock

Mount Monadnock in Southern New Hampshire is one of the most hiked mountains in the world.

The crowds on this mountain can be intense even with the reservation system in place. If you are looking for a similar nearby mountain with a fraction of the crowds, consider exploring the nearby North Pack Monadnock or Pack Monadnock summits.

There are several ways to reach one or both of these summits and all trails offer views. Our favorite part of the hike was the Cliff Trail around North Pack Monadnock. Hadley, Finley and I did this hike in Novermber of 2023 on a day off from school and enjoyed exploring one of the peaks in the southern part of the state.

Hadley and Fin checking out the signs along the trail to North Pack Monadnock

Quick Look at the Hiking Trail to North Pack Monadnock and Pack Monadnock

There are several trails and ways to put together the routes up these mountain. Below you can find a quick look at the different trail options. Scroll down for more details on these hikes and other things to know about hiking the Pack Monadnocks.

North Pack Monadnock via the Waubek Trail
Distance:3 miles
Elevation Gain: 950 feet
Difficulty: moderate

This is a short hike that leaves from the north of both peaks and goes up and down North Pack Monadnock.  The trail is mostly in the forest but offers excellent views at the summit.  You can also add on the 1.7 mile Cliff Trail to this hike.

North Pack Monadnock from Pack Monadnock via the Waubek and Cliff Trails
Distance: 5.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1300 feet
Difficulty: Moderate

This is our recommended route.  Drive to the top of Pack Monadnock, then hike down, along a ridge and back up to North Pack Monadnock. The Cliff Trail offers a nice loop with the best views.

Pack Monadnock via the Wapack Trail and Marion Davis Trail
Distance: 2.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 810 feet
Difficulty: Moderate

This is another good option.  It is a fairly steep little trail but you can enjoy the view from the summit of Pack Monadnock.  

You can also link several of these trails together and hike both Pack Monadnock and North Pack Monadnock by combining the 2nd and 3rd option above.  
The view from Pack Monadnock to North Pack Monadnock

Map of Hiking North Pack Monadnock

Things to Know About Hiking Pack Monadnock and North Pack Monadnock

Is there a fee to hike?

Pack Monadnock is located in Miller State Park and Wapack National Wildlife Refuge. There is a fee to enter Miller State Park. If you are hiking from Miller State Park, you will need to pay this fee.

Are dogs allowed at Pack Monadnock?

Yes, dogs are allowed at Pack Monadnock. Since they aren’t allowed when hiking Monadnock Mountain, many people with dogs choose this trail as an alternative to Monadnock. Dogs must be leashed.

Hadley hiking with Calypso to North Pack Monadnock
Hadley hiking with Calypso to North Pack Monadnock

Where do you park for the Pack Monadnock Trailheads?

Depending on the trail you are hiking, you can access these mountains from several trailheads. To hike Pack Monadnock, park right at the base on the mountain at Miller State Park. If you plan to hike from Pack Monadnock to North Pack Monadnock, park at the summit of Pack Monadnock – this is a small parking lot and can become crowded so try to arrive early – you can also MAKE A RESERVATION to use the park during busy day.

If you are hiking North Pack Monadnock from the north, park at the Wapack Trailhead on Mountain Rd.

Why is it called Pack Monadnock?

Pack is a native word for little, so Pack Monadnock refers to the smaller of the two mountains. Monadnock means isolated mountain surrounding by flat areas.

Is North Pack Monadnock good for kids?

This is a good trail for kids but it is steep in some sections. Kids will enjoy the forest and the views from the summit. If you are hiking the Cliff Trail with kids, use caution as there are some drop offs.

The view from the summit of North Pack Monadnock

Our Experience Hiking North Pack Monadnock

I did this hike on a day off in November with Hadley, Finley and Calypso.

We chose to hike North Pack Monadnock from Pack Monadnock as it offered the longest hike and the most opportunity for views. Since we were hiking in the off season, we didn’t need a reservation and there was plenty of parking at the trailhead (at the top of Pack Monadnock).

We arrived and began hiking around 10:30 and saw only a handful of other people on the hike.

Just a short distance from the parking lot is a viewing area where a number of bird watchers were set up recording the birds that sited. There was a lot of information about the different birds seen from here throughout the season.

Check out the bird watching on Pack Monadnock
Finley checking out the bird watching on Pack Monadnock

From here the trail descends via some very small switchbacks. The trail is rocky and uneven through this section. Once the trail reaches the ridge at the base of Pack Monadnock it levels off. For the next mile, the trail is mostly level with some small ups and downs. This is the fastest part of the trail to walk and the trail goes through some very pretty wooded sections.

You will reach a sign post marking the break off o f the cliff Trail to your right. You can do the Cliff Trail loop in either direction – we chose to go clockwise and reach the summit first. The summit is open but fairly flat with a large rock cairn. We enjoyed the views from here before descending on the Summit Trail.

Hadley hiking the Cliff Trail
Looking up at the biggest Cliff on the Cliff Trail

This is the best part of the trail with very pretty views. Be aware of some drop offs and we got off trail in several places with the newly fallen leaves. The Cliff Trail is slow going but definintely worth it. Eventually the trail links back up with the Wapack Trail where you will retrace your steps back to the parking lot.

Looking for more amazing hikes in New Hampshire? Check out:

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