Smith Summit Trail
- Distance from Monte Rosa to Dublin Trail:
- 0.7 mile (1.1 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.
- Monte Rosa or the Dublin Trail
- Trail marker:
- Small white dots—about 2" (5 cm) diameter, rather than the larger dots found on other trails.
- Average Grade:
- Steepest 660 yards: 25%.
|Location||Time (ascending) (approx.)||Distance (ascending) (approx.)||Altitude (approx.)|
|Trailhead||-||-||2450 ft (747 m)|
|Amphitheater Trail Jct.||10 min.||0.26 mile (420 m)||2621 ft (800 m)|
|Dublin Trail Jct.||40 min.||0.74 mi (1.1 km)||3133 ft (955 m)|
|Summit||43 min.||0.75 mi (1.2km)||3165 ft (965 m)|
The Smith Summit Trail apparently begins at Monte Rosa, which can be accessed from the Fairy Spring Trail or the Monte Rosa Trail off the White Arrow Trail.
Monte Rosa is a bald knob at about 2450 feet (747 m), with a clear view to the summit of Mt. Monadnock. The Smith Summit Trail is the most direct route to the summit from here. Except for a short, shallow dip as you leave Monte Rosa, the trail is almost all uphill.
From Monte Rosa, the trail travels about 200 yards (180 meters) northeasterly to a junction with a spur of the Fairy Spring Trail that bypasses Monte Rosa. Take the trail to the left and you will be heading to the top of the mountain. This section of the trail is mostly in the open, with an occasional bit of tree cover. After a few hundred yards, about at the junction with the Amphitheater trail (and a side trip to the Black Precipice—look for the signs on the trees to the right of the trail, and a rapidly fading sign painted on the rocks of the trail) you go back into the trees for a stretch of perhaps 150 yards (130 m) before coming into the open one last time.
The trail is narrow and not heavily traveled, though it is well-marked and easy to follow. The white dots marking the trail are well-placed so you can pick them out as soon as you pass the previous one. But there are a lot of twists and turns, so you do need to look around to find the dots as you ascend; frequently, they are off to the left or right, not straight ahead of you.
Steepness is one of the hallmarks of this trail. You are ascending about 750 feet (220 m) in less than three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km). It's slow going, but it offers some interesting climbing that is not inherently difficult, only strenuous. You don't experience a sense of switchbacks, yet the lower sections of the trail have a number of areas where you are traveling horizontally rather than vertically. The Smith Summit Trail has a distinctly "wild" feel to it compared to most of the other trails, as the plants are close under foot and have a different character than the plants on the other trails. They are more sparse, yet more intimate at the same time. You get the sense that you just sort of found this way up the mountain, and this is simply the obvious route to take to the top.
The last 100 to 200 yards (90-180 meters) before you crest the trail are a pretty steady climb over mostly bare rock. During this section, it is most important to look carefully for the trail markers, as the lack of wear makes it difficult to "assume" where the trail is found. Just before the junction with the Dublin Trail, you come over the top of the ridge and the white dots are replaced by a few cairns. These look spontaneously built, almost afterthoughts. Several of them lead you to a triple junction: The Smith Summit Trail joins with the Dublin Trail at the same point as the White Arrow Trail comes in from your right. The Dublin Trail continues about another 65 yards (60 m) uphill to the summit.