About Mount Monadnock

The term "monadnock" has come to be used to describe any isolated mountain formed from the exposure of a harder rock as a result of the erosion of a softer rock that once surrounded it. The name has been interpreted as "the mountain that stands alone."

Mount Monadnock was not always as bare at the summit as it is now. In 1800, the first of two major fires was set on the lower slopes to clear them for use as pastures. This fire swept through the red spruce forest on the summit and flanks of the mountain. The second major fire occurred in 1820. It was a dry summer and the forest damaged by the previous fire combined with fallen trees from the 1815 hurricane made for abundant fuel. It is believed that local farmers set the second fire to rid the mountain of wolves thought to be denning in the blow downs. This fire raged for some time killing much of the vegetation and destroying the topsoil. Before the plants could start to retake the mountain, much of the soil washed down the mountain leaving the exposed rock.

The earliest recorded ascent of the mountain occurred in 1725. Captain Samuel Willard accompanied by fourteen rangers under his command camped at the top of the mountain. They used the summit as a lookout while they patrolled for Native Americans.

In 1987, Mount Monadnock was designated a National Natural Landmark and is the Northern terminus of the 110 mile Metacomet-Monadnock Trail and the Southern terminus of the 50 mile Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway.

Monadnock State Park is a Carry-In/Carry-Out park. That means if you bring it in, you bring it out. There is no place to dispose of trash and you are responsible for everything you bring with you. Hikers are also asked to stay in the trails at all times as hiking on the edges of trails tramples vegetation, widens trails, and harms the mountain's fragile ecosystem. Remember, we want to keep Mount Monadnock as enjoyable as it is now for many years to come.