The goal in cross-country skiing is to enjoy the journey—at your own pace. It offers a uniquely meditative way to step outside, exercise, and embrace the season while gliding along in the peace and quiet of a snowy forest trail.
The Monadnock Region is rich with stunning winter scenery and ample opportunity to enjoy this Nordic pastime for everyone from the novice to expert, all while remaining at a spacious and safe social distance. This is the perfect year to start if you’ve never been!
Beginners, find your stride on the campground roads and wooded trails of Greenfield State Park. With no campers in sight, you might have the place all to yourself! Explore the placid frozen ponds and pine forest in quietude.
Would you like to ski along historic train routes? Local rail trails include the 42-mile Cheshire Rail Trail and Ashuelot Rail Trail, both accessible for cross-country skiing in the winter months. Trail Link, by Rails to Trails Conservancy is a great resource to find the best section to ride to match your level of comfort on skis as these trails vary in difficulty level.
Stonewall Farm in Keene has trails that are great for cross-country skiing and show-shoeing. While you’re there, you might want to check out the farm, farm store, and other family-friendly recreational opportunities.
In Jaffrey, The Shattuck Golf Club has graciously opened their trails free of charge all season long. Groomed and ready to go, the expansive grounds are a great place to strap on your skis under the open sky. Grab a bite at the Dublin Road Taproom and Eatery on-site or sip a beer out on their deck.
Another location well worth the visit is the Dublin School Nordic Center, a must for all experienced cross-country skiers and those seeking the thrill of speed. These trails are challenging by design and open to the public for a small suggested fee when not in use for school or team activities. Capacity is occasionally limited due to snow conditions and an electronic waiver must be signed on their website prior to your visit. Upcoming events not to be missed include the NENSA Eastern Cup Classic Sprint, held at the Dublin School on February 20th.
A stay at the charming Chesterfield Inn will find you close to Pisgah State Park. Boasting 21 square miles of land, the experienced cross-country skier will be in heaven in the largest state park in NH. The advanced trails offer vast opportunities for wildlife viewing and scenic vistas. Pack a lunch and stay all day.
For a full day of intermediate to advanced skiing with mountain vistas and wildlife sightings, head on up to Pillsbury State Park in Washington, NH. With over 8,000 tranquil acres to explore you’ll probably want to visit more than once.
Those seeking just the right amount of adventure will find that the trails at Monadnock State Park offer eight miles of intermediate-level skiing with a few challenging drops and turns. If your group has mixed experience levels, try the lower campground loop or picnic area trails for a more relaxing ride. There must be a minimum of one foot of natural snow to cross some of the rockier terrain, so be sure to check conditions before you set out.
For an accurate and on-the-ground account of trail conditions try out the Skiwise app on your phone. This handy app will connect you to a network of other cross-country skiers, provide weather updates, and local event information so you won’t miss a thing!
Snow levels low? Not to worry. There’s plenty to take in during the winter months in the Monadnock Region. A trip into Keene will find you on one of the most charming main streets in New England. Take a leisurely winter stroll downtown and grab a quick lunch at one of the many family-owned restaurants in walking distance. Top the day off with a stop at Hannah Grimes Marketplace a ‘localvore’ gift shop featuring work by over 250 local artisans. Find the perfect place to stay and enjoy breakfast steps outside your door in the morning.
If you are planning a family or group trip, look no further than the Inn at East Hill Farm, a one-stop destination resort located right at the base of beautiful Mt. Monadnock. With family style farm-fresh meals, sledding, ice skating, snow-shoeing (shown below), farm animals, bonfires, family-friendly shows and more there is something here for everyone. It’s no wonder they’ve been voted a “Family Favorite” by Boston Parents Paper.
Make plans today to enjoy the best New Hampshire winters have to offer! We look forward to seeing you out on the trails of the Monadnock Region.