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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Name City

Pillsbury State Park

43.207766 -72.117772 Outdoor

Category: Fishing, Hiking, Kayaking, Skiing,

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Aerial view of Crotched Mountain partially covered in snow and blue skies with white clouds
Inspected and Approved

Crotched Mountain Ski and Ride

43.012022 -71.878904 Outdoor

Category: Skiing,

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 ...

Inspected and Approved

Granite Gorge Ski Area

42.9709819 -72.2142327 Outdoor

Category: Skiing,

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 ...

Carlton Covered Bridge

42.854920 -72.274369 Outdoor


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 ...

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 ...

Slate Covered Bridge

42.847429 -72.340423 Outdoor


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 ...

Log house structure behind tall wood picket fence
Inspected and Approved

The Fort at No. 4

43.2548339 -72.4334601 Outdoor


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 ...

Inspected and Approved

The Caterpillar Lab

42.9041365 -72.2083261 Outdoor


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 ...

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,

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 ...

Greenfield State Park

42.950975 -71.888118 Outdoor

Category: Fishing, Hiking, Kayaking,

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 ...

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 ...

Sawyer’s Crossing (Cresson) Covered Bridge

42.8862 -72.2865 Outdoor


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 ...

Willard Pond

43.018627 -72.020458 Outdoor

Category: Birding, Hiking, Kayaking,

Willard Pond Road, Antrim, NH 03820

Managed by the NH Audubon, Willard Pond is the perfect getaway for a quiet paddle.  The 100 acre pond has no development around it and a pair of nesting loons.  Hike the trail to the scenic overlook above the pond....

Dublin School Nordic Center

42.8946298 -72.143476 Outdoor

Category: Skiing,

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....

MacDowell Lake

42.893899 -71.984433 Outdoor

Category: Birding, Fishing, Hiking, Kayaking,

75 Wilder Street, Peterborough, NH 03458

Managed by the Army Corp of Engineers, this beautiful park offers a quiet 100 acre lake for padding, several level hiking trails around the lake, picnic pavilions, fishing spots and fantastic birding opportunities!...

Powder Mill Pond

42.956685 -71.934758 Outdoor

Category: Birding, Kayaking,

290 Forest Road, Hancock, NH 03449

Drop in at the boat launch on the Contoocook River, paddle under the historic Greenfield-Hancock County Covered Bridge and the 400 acre Powder Mill Pond will offer you hours of fun and relaxation.  Great place to bird watch too!...

Dublin Lake

42.902076 -72.088919 Outdoor

Category: 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....

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 ...

Windblown Cross Country Ski Area

42.7760517 -71.9084342 Outdoor

Category: Skiing,

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: Fishing, Kayaking,

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!...