Hiking Trails on Mt. Monadnock--The Whites
Distance from parking lot to summit: about two miles, and two and one-quarter miles, respectively.
Ascending time: About two hours.
Descending time: About one hour.
Trail marker: White Dot Trail: a white dot; White Cross Trail: a white cross
The White Dot Trail and the White Cross Trail are very similar in character, paralleling each other for most of the length of the White Cross Trail. These two trails essentially go straight up the mountain from their junction. (Located near their junction is Falcon Spring, a source of icy cold drinking water.) The distance to the top via the White Dot Trail is about 2 miles. The White Cross Trail is a little longer, but if you use the Spruce Link to cut the hypotenuse of the triangle by Falcon Spring, you'll actually have a trip little longer and perhaps even shorter than the White Dot Trail.
These two trails are almost unrelenting in their climbs. The White Cross Trail begins by approximately following a single line of elevation for the first few hundred yards, but the White Dot Trail immediately goes for altitude along a rock- and root-strewn path. Eventually both trails climb wide, well-worn but rough trails up and up for three-quarters of a mile that seem more like three whole miles.
As your elevation increases, the trails are more and more frequently broken by stretches of bare rock faces instead of the broken rock early on. At least one of these faces on the White Dot Trail is quite steep (perhaps about 30 degrees of slope) and maybe 20 yards long. It presents a challenge to many people, though someone in the know can skirt the face by taking an alternate trail to the left and around the difficult section. (Coming down can be even more of a challenge!) Though the White Cross trail has its share of steep sections, none are more difficult to manuever by. Skilled hikers go through this section with little difficulty.
As you climb, and especially as you pass the larger rock faces, the trees change character, becoming thinner, shorter, and sparser. You should turn around to look at the spectacular views that are opening up behind you. Both trails have several natural rest areas with great views. After several hints that the trails are leveling off, they finally lose much of their steepness near the deciduous treeline. The White Dot Trail turns to the left (west) toward its upper junction with the White Cross Trail shortly after this. As you continue to climb, though, you are presented with several views of the summit. Unfortunately, all but the last view are false summits--your goal is farther away than you think.
The joined trails, once again simply identified as the White Dot Trail, now are crossing over solid rock exclusively as they wend their way to the peak.
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Last update and copyright © 31 July 1998 by Wayne Brink, email: firstname.lastname@example.org