Outdoor Activities in the Monadnock Region

No matter the season, the Monadnock Region can almost overwhelm with fun and exciting things to do. It is why so many people love to visit and why so many people choose to stay.

While you are here, you will find moments to breathe, draw in new energy, and connect with the world around you. Perhaps it was best put by renowned composer Leonard Bernstein, who, after spending time at an artists’ retreat here, wrote that a “vastness is inherent somehow in this place.”

Whether you decide to lace up your hiking boots, go cycling around the countryside, or enjoy a laid-back afternoon of berry picking, your “playtime” is sure to be memorable. With more than ten state and federal parks in this part of New Hampshire – including Monadnock State Park – you will never run out of gorgeous, natural spaces to explore.

If you love to climb, you cannot miss the mountain. Mount Monadnock itself is the second most-climbed peak in the WORLD. It has over 35 miles of hiking trails and multiple well-traveled routes to the summit originating in towns across the region. Take your pick based on what kind of climb you are looking for, but no matter your approach, you will be astounded by the journey, and rewarded when you reach the top.

On the rocky, open summit, you can see for miles, picking out Boston’s landmarks, New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and Vermont’s Green Mountains on a clear day. You will truly be in awe as you soak in the magnificent landscape, standing where countless hikers have left bootprints before you.

While Mount Monadnock is often considered a main attraction, the “mountain that stands alone” is accompanied by a wide range of scenic destinations. These include expertly groomed trails for cross-country and downhill skiing, as well as an incredible network of rail trails, great for walking, biking, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

Paddling the region’s stunning lakes and rivers is also a favorite activity for many. Bring your own gear or rent canoes and kayaks so you can set out on the rippled water and discover the incredibly diverse wildlife that populates this part of New England.

Whether you go by foot, bike, or boat, you will find that being in nature here beneath the shadow of Mount Monadnock makes for a truly unforgettable experience that will have you coming back for more.

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Inspected and Approved

The Caterpillar Lab

42.9041365 -72.2083261 Outdoor

Category:

172 Main Street, Marlborough, NH 03455

Not your average butterfly house! The Caterpillar Lab is a not-for-profit devoted to appreciation and conservation of local natural history through educational outreach, research, and art. Adults and children, beginners and experts, photographers and casual observers, all are welcome to … Continue reading ...

Madame Sherri Forest and Ruins

42.86505867936541 -72.51775458858573 Outdoor

Category: Hiking, Skiing - Cross Country, Snowshoeing,

(Approx.) 366 Gulf Road, West Chesterfield, NH 03466

The former Madame Sherri “castle” ruins are accessible by a short walk from the parking lot. Sense Madame Sherri as you walk around the stone remains of a foundation, fireplace, chimneys, and a grand stone staircase. Venture beyond the ruins … Continue reading ...

Annett State Forest / Annett Wayside Park

42.78533268407039 -71.97937727271632 Outdoor

Category: Canoeing / Kayaking, Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, Mountain Biking, Skiing - Cross Country,

538 Old Cathedral Rd, Rindge, NH 03461

Enjoy some of the best of NH’s secluded scenic beauty on the trails of Annett State Forest, cut by the CCC in the 1930s. The highlight of this 1,500-acre forest is Hubbard Pond, a relatively shallow 181 acre jagged shaped … Continue reading ...

Log house structure behind tall wood picket fence
Inspected and Approved

The Fort at No. 4

43.2548339 -72.4334601 Outdoor

Category:

267 Springfield Road, Charlestown, NH 03603

Travel back in time to Plantation No. 4, once the northwesternmost village within the British colonies.  We are an open air museum, dedicated to preserving the history of the fortified section of the plantation No.4 (later to be known as … Continue reading ...

Beautiful property with gravel sidewalk, green grass, mulched landscaping, trees and view of Mount Monadnock
Inspected and Approved

Cathedral of the Pines

42.77476 -71.988371 Outdoor

Category: Hiking,

10 Hale Hill Road, Rindge, NH 03461

Cathedral of the Pines is located at the base of historic Mount Monadnock, the most frequently climbed Mountain in the United States. Situated on a hilltop, with panoramic views, Cathedral of the Pines is a breathtaking war memorial in Rindge … Continue reading ...

Sawyer’s Crossing (Cresson) Covered Bridge

42.8862 -72.2865 Outdoor

Category:

181 Sawyers Crossing Rd, Swanzey, NH 03446

Sawyer’s Crossing (Cresson) Covered Bridge is number 6 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire. It spans the Ashuelot River in northern Swanzey. This bridge is also called the Cresson Bridge.  It is 117 feet long and 17 … Continue reading ...

Man and woman standing in front of Distant Hill Nature Trail sign
Inspected and Approved

Distant Hill Gardens & Nature Trail

43.083997 -72.364325 Outdoor

Category: Birding, Hiking,

507 March Hill Road, Walpole, NH 03608

Distant Hill is an Environmental and Horticultural Learning Center encompassing fifty-eight acres of forest, fields, and wetlands straddling the town line separating Walpole, NH, from Alstead, NH. Distant Hill is made up of two adjoining properties: Distant Hill Gardens and … Continue reading ...

Howe Reservoir & Dam

42.91910224992198 -72.12160563182776 Outdoor

Category: Canoeing / Kayaking, Fishing, Swimming,

3-29 Brown Rd, Harrisville, NH 03450

Known locally as a hidden gem, this 168-acre scenic lake stretching about a mile between Rt 101 and Brown Rd has a forested shoreline and an average depth of 8 feet. Boat access is at the south end of the … Continue reading ...

Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway

42.86764901819758 -72.11068510948607 Outdoor

Category: Hiking, Snowshoeing,

169 Poole Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452

Fairly flat in the middle, multiple isolated summits, open exposed ridges, flat woodland sections, dense woodland, lakes and reservoirs, exposed dusty road walks, and quaint little trail town along an exceptionally well blazed 50-mile hiking trail with 10,088 feet elevation … Continue reading ...

Mount Monadnock & Monadnock State Park

42.845419 -72.088458 Outdoor

Category: Birding, Hiking,

169 Poole Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452

Mount Monadnock is an isolated 3,165-foot mountain and the highest peak within a 30+ mile radius. It is a National Natural Landmark. The state park encompasses Mount Monadnock and thousands of acres of protected highlands that surround the mountain. About … Continue reading ...

MacDowell Reservoir and Recreation Area (aka Edward MacDowell Dam)

42.893899 -71.984433 Outdoor

Category: Birding, Canoeing / Kayaking, Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, Skiing - Cross Country,

75 Wilder Street, Peterborough, NH 03458

Beautiful, easy to access lake and recreation area off Route 101 has about 4 miles of easy trails, a beach, boat launch, picnic areas with grills, two pavilions, and horseshoe pits. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the dam to … Continue reading ...

Rhododendron State Park & Little Monadnock Mountain

42.78053505378027 -72.18837949426856 Outdoor

Category: Hiking, Snowshoeing,

424 Rockwood Pond Road, Fitzwilliam, NH 03447

Probably one of the most impressive and fleeting sites in the Monadnock region is mid-July when the 16-acre grove of native Rhododendron maximum is in full bloom. Anyone can enjoy it via the 0.6 mile accessible trail encircling the grove … Continue reading ...

dePierrefeu-Willard Pond Sanctuary

43.018627 -72.020458 Outdoor

Category: Birding, Canoeing / Kayaking, Fishing, Hiking,

Willard Pond Road, Antrim, NH 03820

This uniquely attractive and secluded 1,700-acre sanctuary has abundant wildlife, undisturbed wilderness, several ponds, large hills, and huge boulders deposited by receding glaciers. Multiple hiking trails traverse diverse plant and tree species, including the feature trail, a 2.7-mile and steep … Continue reading ...

Slate Covered Bridge

42.847429 -72.340423 Outdoor

Category:

Westport Village Road, Swanzey, NH 03446

The Slate Covered Bridge is number 4 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire.  It was built in 2001 to replace the 1862 covered bridge that was destroyed by fire in 1993. It is located in the village … Continue reading ...

Heald Tract

42.80904439576616 -71.80043123276671 Outdoor

Category: Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, Skiing - Cross Country, Snowshoeing,

112-100 Heald Rd, Wilton, NH 03086

Catch a glimpse of a wide variety of wildlife and diverse ecology at Heald Tract, a 1,492-acre forest preserve with a rich, ecologically diverse habitat home to nearly all mammal species found in southern New Hampshire. This forest has bears, … Continue reading ...

Greenfield State Park

42.950975 -71.888118 Outdoor

Category: Canoeing / Kayaking, Fishing, Hiking, Snowshoeing, Swimming,

954 Forest Road, Greenfield, NH 03447

Ponds, bogs, and forests make up this rural park of 400 undeveloped acres on the shore of Otter Lake. The park offers miles of hiking trails (some with wild blueberries and blackberries), and including a self-guided interpretive trail loop around … Continue reading ...

Pillsbury State Park

43.207766 -72.117772 Outdoor

Category: Canoeing / Kayaking, Fishing, Hiking, Skiing - Downhill,

100 Clemac Trail, Washington, NH 03280

A hiker’s paradise, this heavily wooded state park is lightly trafficked and has a variety of wildlife, several ponds and wetlands, and home to the headwaters of the Ashuelot River, which runs through Cheshire County to the Connecticut River. Numerous … Continue reading ...

Eliza Adams Gorge

42.92694923280052 -72.13061718805676 Outdoor

Category: Hiking,

13-29 Brown Rd, Harrisville, NH 03450

The Eliza Adams Gorge is a stunning little quiet locals’ secret spot on the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway between Russell Reservoir to the north and Howe Reservoir. It has amazing rocky walls, cascading waterfalls, and rushing water under a charming footbridge that … Continue reading ...

Carlton Covered Bridge

42.854920 -72.274369 Outdoor

Category:

86 Carlton Road, Swanzey, NH 03446

The Carlton (Carleton) Covered Bridge is number 7 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.  It is the only 19th century Queens post truss bridge in … Continue reading ...

Gap Mountain Reservation

42.83005294505878 -72.1317320410888 Outdoor

Category: Hiking, Hunting, Snowshoeing,

125 Bullard Rd, Jaffrey, NH 03452

Gap Mountain is named for a prominent saddle or “gap” between its twin summits. It is the focal point of a 1,120-acre natural forest preserve featuring a stunning vista of Mt. Monadnock, blueberry bushes on the north summit, and two … Continue reading ...

Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area

42.914718068242365 -72.40453968324975 Outdoor

Category: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Snowshoeing,

1823 Route 9, Chesterfield, NH 03443

This small and impressive hidden gem 13-acre park features a 0.7-mile loop Gorge Trail that meanders through a dramatic rock canyon with 70-foot high walls. The rocky gorge was naturally formed by the rushing waters of the Wilde Brook and … Continue reading ...

McCabe Forest

43.043446404611956 -71.93305173419915 Outdoor

Category: Fishing, Hiking, Skiing - Cross Country, Snowshoeing,

67-91 US-202, Antril, NH 03440

McCabe Forest features a wide variety of habitats that lend to excellent wildlife observation opportunities in this small pine, oak, and hemlock nature preserve of only 189 acres. There are two miles of lightly trafficked, easy, flat, out-and-back trails that … Continue reading ...

Light brown cow grazing in a field of green grass with a few of Mount Monadnock in the background
Inspected and Approved

The Inn at East Hill Farm

42.838622 -72.145145 Outdoor

Category: Skiing - Downhill,

460 Monadnock Street, Troy, NH 03465

East Hill Farm is a working farm that offers hands-on farm activities and resort amenities. Farm activities include milking the cow and goat, patting the bunnies, collecting chicken eggs, making cheese and butter, horseback riding, and wagon rides. Fun-filled resort … Continue reading ...

Otter Brook Preserve

43.03202489517687 -72.19619570154613 Outdoor

Category: Fishing, Hiking, Snowshoeing,

183-185 Bowlder Road, Sullivan, NH 03445

Otter Brook Preserve protects wetland and riparian habitat for endangered natural communities and significant portions of Otter Brook headwaters. Hike on one of 4 trail options that together make almost 5 miles of lightly trafficked, relatively easy trails through the … Continue reading ...

Pisgah State Park

42.811250 -72.408579 Outdoor

Category: Hiking,

426 Old Chesterfield Rd, Winchester, NH 03470

With over 13,300 acres (21 square miles) of rough forested terrain, Pisgah is the largest New Hampshire state park. It encompasses a complete watershed north of the Ashuelot River. The park features six trailheads and protects seven ponds, four highland … Continue reading ...

Powder Mill Pond Wildlife Management Area

42.956685 -71.934758 Outdoor

Category: Birding, Canoeing / Kayaking, Fishing,

290 Forest Road, Hancock, NH 03449

Enjoy a secluded feeling at this easily accessible wildlife management area. The Powder Mill Pond is a 419-acre long and narrow pond, ideal for paddling with an average depth of 3 feet. It is part of the Contoocook River and … Continue reading ...

Miller State Park

42.849887 -71.88715 Outdoor

Category: Birding, Hiking,

13 Miller Park Road, Peterborough, NH 03458

Pack Monadnock, a 2,290-foot mountain is the focal point of the park that also features an auto road to the summit and a 27’ steel fire tower with incredible views as far as Boston and Mount Washington. The park has … Continue reading ...

Crotched Mountain Ski and Ride

43.012022 -71.878904 Outdoor

Category: Skiing - Downhill,

615 Francestown Road, Bennington, NH 03442

Crotched Mountain Ski and Ride is a ski area located in Bennington NH that has 5 lifts, 25 trails, a full-service base lodge, snowsports programs, 100% trail lighting, 100% snowmaking capability and is home to the fastest summit lift ride … Continue reading ...

Shattuck Golf Club & Cathedral Ballroom

42.833141 -72.069091 Outdoor

Category: Golfing,

53 Dublin Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452

Shattuck Golf Club & Cathedral Ballroom Carved from the granite foothills of Mt. Monadnock, is one of the most visually stunning golf courses you will ever play. Shattuck’s Cathedral Ballroom With soaring cathedral ceilings and magnificent views of majestic Mt. … Continue reading ...

Dublin Lake

42.902076 -72.088919 Outdoor

Category: Canoeing / Kayaking,

Lake Road, Dublin, NH 03444

With Mount Monadnock as a backdrop, Dublin Lake is more than 200 acres in size with lots of nooks and crannies to explore while paddling around....

Granite Gorge Ski Area

42.9709819 -72.2142327 Outdoor

Category: Skiing - Cross Country, Skiing - Downhill,

341 NH Route 9, Roxbury, NH 03431

TUBING is our thing! Family-friendly and ready for your group, our wide lanes, carpet lift, music lights and a variety of tubes makes for the best of winter fun. You can also cross country ski, and enjoy the tow lifts … Continue reading ...

Dublin School Nordic Center

42.8946298 -72.143476 Outdoor

Category: Skiing - Downhill,

Dublin Road, Dublin, NH 03444

A 5km race class course and 3 additional km, all open to the public. Check website, https://www.dublinschool.org/dublin-school-nordic-center, for race closures and to sign the electronic waiver prior to skiing....

Windblown Cross Country Ski Area

42.7760517 -71.9084342 Outdoor

Category: Skiing - Downhill,

1180 Turnpike Road, New Ipswich, NH 03071

Windblown Cross Country Ski Area is located at 1180 Turnpike Road in New Ipswich, NH. You will find 25 miles of expertly groomed trails. A base lodge with rentals, food, fireplace and camaraderie complete the picture. 603-878-2869 or alwindblown@gmail.com...

Gregg Lake

43.043707 -71.988687 Outdoor

Category: Canoeing / Kayaking, Fishing,

211 Gregg Lake Road, Antrim, NH 03440

Gregg Lake is 200 acres of fun whether you want to relax on its beach, fish, paddle on your SUP or kayak or zip around the lake on your powered watercraft!...