This trail does not go to the summit and is rarely used as part of a route to the summit.
- Distance from Monte Rosa to Marlboro Trail:
- 0.75 miles (1.2 km). (GPS determined).
- Ascending time:
- Descending time.:
- Difficulty rating/rank:
- Crowd Factor:
- 2 (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being near-continuous contact with others.) You may meet an occasional person on the trail, or see fresh footprints.
- Marlboro Trail, Monte Rosa, Mossy Brook Trail
- Trail marker:
- Cairns and, rarely, white dots.
- Average Grade:
|Location||Time (ascending) (approx.)||Distance (ascending) (approx.)||Altitude (approx.)|
|Trailhead (Monte Rosa)||-||-||2450 ft (747 m)|
|Mossy Brook Trail Jct.||5 minutes||0.25 mile (400 m)||2184 ft (665 m)|
|Marlboro Trail Jct.||25 minutes||0.75 mile (1.23 km)||2398 ft (731 m)|
The Marian Trail connects the southwestern trails network on Mt. Monadnock with the Marlboro Trail on the western face. There is little elevation difference from the starting point to the ending point, but you do drop roughly 300 feet (290 m) as you follow the trail. (Obviously, you gain most of that back.) Except for the pleasure of taking the trail, there's no advantage to taking it in either direction. Perhaps it's best to link into it from the Mossy Brook Trail if you are ascending, and follow it to the Marlboro Trail. Alternatively, for a somewhat different route on the descent, take the Marian Trail from Monte Rosa to Mossy Brook Trail and follow that trail back to the White Arrow Trail.
Traveling from the south, the Marian Trail begins at Monte Rosa, a bald knob with a clear view of the summit. (Take the Monte Rosa Trail or the Fairy Spring Trail from the White Arrow Trail to reach Monte Rosa. You have a good climb up to the top of Monte Rosa, at about 2450 feet [740 m].) The trail initially steeply descends toward the northwest, covering a brief distance over clear rock before going into the trees. At one point, you have a scramble across a large, smooth, sloped rock face, then you get onto mostly dirt trail.
About one-quarter mile (0.4 km) from Monte Rosa, the trail levels off as you approach a branch of Mossy Brook. This is the lowest point on the trail, at about 2150 feet (690 m). When you cross the brook, you will begin a gentle ascent, and shortly will come to the junction with the Mossy Brook Trail, which brings you back down the mountain to the White Arrow Trail. The Marian Trail continues basically straight ahead (important to note if you are coming from the opposite direction; there are signs but you have to look carefully to find them), and the Mossy Brook Trail goes to the left. You are about half a mile (0.8 km) from the Marlboro Trail here.
Perhaps 75 yards (70 meters) from the trail junction, the canopy opens for a few steps and provides a good view of the summit. Continuing on, you follow a gentle up-slope, occasionally punctuated by a particularly steep section. Nothing extreme on this trail, but a contrast to the general tenor. As you get closer to the Marlboro Trail, the steeper sections become a bit more common. Some sections, however, traverse the slope, so you have to walk with one foot farther down the mountain. Nearing the Marlboro trail, it levels out for the last 40 yards (35 meters) or so. You have ascended about 250 feet (75 m) from the crossing at the Mossy Brook, and are now at an elevation of about 2400 feet (730 m), a net loss of about 50 feet (15 m) from Monte Rosa.
This is a lovely trail, generally under the trees and with a nice mix of smooth rock and soil underfoot. The gentle slope (for most of the trail) makes it a pleasant respite from the uphill trails, and the trees protect you from the hot sun on a summer day.
While the trail is well-maintained, the cairns are sometimes a little far apart, and, where the trail passes over compressed dirt through the trees, there may be very infrequent markers. It is not difficult to follow, but you may find it necessary to be sure you are still on the trail, then go another 10 to 15 feet (5 meters) along what you think is the likely path to confirm that you will indeed be following the trail. That's usually far enough for you to see the next cairn or other clear indication of the trail. You shouldn't need to push your way past bushes or branches; basically, if you're not sure you're on the trail, you probably shouldn't go that direction.