View Full Version : Ukes in New Hampshire?

Captain America
08-07-2014, 11:45 AM
My family's starting planning for a summer 2015 trip to Mt. Monadnock. It would be great to meetup---and perhaps hike up the mountain---with some local ukulele folks.

Anyone near Jaffrey?

08-07-2014, 04:01 PM
Love that area, Captain A. Don't know any uke spots, though. I remember when you first mentioned this trip (forgot the age of your children). You'll all have a ball. Not sure if you've ever been on the mountain or in Keene/Jaffrey before, but if you want any tips, eateries, etc., I'm all ears. I grew up there. Which town you staying in? A couple ideas just to get you started:




Captain America
08-08-2014, 01:44 PM
Hey, thanks coolkayaker: we're just now plotting it out. Got the book. Probably driving to NH via New York, then return through Canada, stopping at Ottawa and Montreal.

08-08-2014, 01:52 PM
1 (forgot the age of your children). 2Not sure if you've ever been on the mountain or in Keene/Jaffrey before 3Which town you staying in? ]

I may have other ideas depending on age of kids. and of course, how many times you want to go up the great mountain while ur there lol .

08-08-2014, 04:50 PM
You might want to check in with these folks:


Captain America
08-09-2014, 03:18 AM
Hey, thanks. I'm going to try to narrow down the trip date. It would be great to take a uke to the top and play.

Our son's 10. I'd like to find an easy route to the top for my wife (she says), and a tough one for the two of us.

08-09-2014, 11:23 AM
The SNUG group is more towards the east (about a 1.5 +/- cruise from the Monadnock area

If you're into hiking, etc., I can forward you a trail map or perhaps point you towards a few other destinations. Feel free to let me know what you're looking for in regards to microbreweries and such.

There may be a few hot air balloon fests going on depending upon when your coming out to visit.


08-09-2014, 12:21 PM
I'm a native of northern Massachusetts and will simply tell you that the White Dot and White Cross trails from the main ranger station are wicked busy and should be avoided. They are boring, no views. They are, in fact, the worst trails on the mountain; people take them because everyone else does, and when someone has been onm Monadnock once or twice, they do what the herd does.

The most direct route is the Old Toll House Road, which is 1.2 miles on a gravel road, then the old Half Way House area (with Moses Spring) and then it's a straight, rocky climb up the spiritless White Arrow trail, with some highly steep areas on the rocks near the summit. It's direct, but lacks much to see or enjoy.

Best trails to the summit:

Old Toll Road to Half Way House, then Monte Rosa trail to the weathervane, a quick detour to Amphitheater Trail to see Black Precipice (highest ledge on the Mountain), and the Smith Summit Trail to the top. I know, it sounds complicated, but it's not and the ranger in the booth at the base of Old Toll Road (the same one that collects your five bucks) will give you a map and directions. You will see the most "landmarks" by this route, and although overall it's maybe 0.5 miles longer than the direct White Arrow trail, you will have more privacy and views before hitting the summit. For instance, you'll see "The Tooth" and "The Billfold" and stuff like that. It's still a hard hike, but just more scenic.

Summary: Old Toll Trail to Monte Rosa Trail (sometimes called the Fairy Brook Trail) (just past Half Way House pasture, on the left) to Smith Summit Trail (with a tiny optional detour to Amphitheater/BlackPrecipice). This has the most features to see of all the hikes.

The best "for the strong hiker", but your ten-year old can do it, trail to the summit:

Birchtroft Trail (from Gilson Parking and Camping area) to Cascade Link (just before Red Spot Trail) to Spellman Trail (steepest climb on Monadnock, but oh, the views!) to the last 0.6 miles of Pumpelly Trail along the top ridge (the prettiest part of the Pumpelly Trail) to the summit. You can return from the summit on Red Spot Trail. Lovely views. Your best shot at seeing Boston. Spellman (0.7 miles) is very steep but clean rock. Do not go on Spellman after rain or in winter/ice...it's too steep, and has springs that run over the stones. You will fall. This is a great hike, I promise you. Any sturdy person can do it, but be ready for some challenge. I'm 50 years old, but in good shape, and I did it. You can, too. It's a real thrill, though. It's about 3.5 miles each way, which sounds long, but it's more gradual than the other trails. It is also on the opposite side of the Old Toll House-Monte Rosa Trail.

Summary: Birchtoft to Cascade Link to Spellman Trail to Pumpelly to summit. Return on Red Spot Trail.

Enjoy! I have hiked this mountain since I was a kid, it's the best. The best book about all these trails is Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide (Daniell and Smith). (plus it has a trail map). Enjoy! These trails sound hard, but each that I mention has signs on the trail. bye now!

Captain America
08-09-2014, 04:14 PM
I've just returned from a dinner and discovered that a gentleman at our table grew up in New York and climbed Monadnock twice! So we talked. Kayak, (you know, our camp nickname for our son is Kayak Jack), and I was surprised and pleased to find that he'd love to bike the whole Erie Canal Trail. . . something I've off and on thought about for something like four years or so!

08-09-2014, 04:37 PM
I took the Pumpelly Trail up last year and enjoyed it. Pumpelly is long (about 9 miles round trip) but not overly steep. It doesn't have a lot of parking at the trailhead, so we didn't have much company until we neared the top.

One tip: no matter what trail you take up, when you get to the summit, take a moment to get oriented before you start dashing around taking pictures. There are a lot of trails up there and you don't want to be confused when it's time to head back down.

Also, if you can, consider hiking on a week day. Monadnock can get pretty crowded on a beautiful summer weekend.