Sunrise from Mt.Monadnock

A new month, a new sunrise! It's finally time to strap on the snow boots and climb up Mt.Monadnock, a classic hike known for it's scenery and convenient proximity to cities like Boston and Manchester. While the mountain easily gets crowded on a pleasant summer day, less hikers can be found around the mountain on an early morning in the midst of winter. The sunrise from here is delightful, along with all other sites along the slopes of the mountain.

The sunrise from the cairn below the summit.

This is our second attempt of achieving a sunrise from Mt.Monadnock this month. Last weekend, we awoke very early in hopes of being rewarded with a pleasant sunrise, but clouds limited our visibility, and the sun stuck around for about a minute. While some people may take this as a failed hike, we took it as an invitation to come back for another.

The sunrise from our first attempt.

Early in the morning, my dad and I found ourselves at the Mt.Monadnock Headquarters, the trailhead for White Dot Trail, the most well trodden route to the summit. The lower reaches of the trail lacked in snow and ice. Almost the entire trail was bare of snow, only on the uppermost bald slopes of the mountain there were some hefty patches of ice.

Eventually, we arrived at the large cairn just below the summit, which made for our viewpoint of the sunrise. The sky began to light up, as several others continued up to the windy summit. Minutes went by, then the sun began to rise.

The sun rising above Temple Mountain.
The sunrise, with the Pack Monadnocks in the center of the photo.

While the sun made for a pleasant sight, it didn't stop the chilling breeze hitting our backs. We didn't stay around too long, but at the same time, it was very difficult to simply walk away from the gorgeous sight. From here, we started our way up to the summit.

Another photo of the sun.
Gap Mountain and Little Monadnock (to the left) during sunrise.

The wind was hidden behind the summit as we climbed higher and higher up the craggy slopes of the peak. Immediately after arriving at the summit, we were struck with a strong wind gust blowing us from the north. The summit was desolate, and the winds and temperature were the source of this.

Slopes of the summit during sunrise.
Taken from the summit.
Looking toward Town Line Peak.

After trying to enjoy the views from the summit, we headed a few hundred feet down the Dublin Trail until we found the White Arrow Trail, our primary way of getting down. I snapped a few more photos while on the ridge, then ducked down onto the trail to escape the wind.

The last photo of the sunrise.
The White Arrow Trail leaving the ridge.
Looking to Crotched Mountain, with Mt.Kearsarge in the distance to the left.
Mt.Ascutney in the center, with Killington Peak to the far left.

The White Arrow Trail wound down a steep ravine heading straight down through rough terrain. It winded below the summit, with beautiful scenery. There were several small patches of ice and snow here, some treacherous, especially without spikes. There are several good views here looking out to Gap Mountain, Little Monadnock, and even Stratton Mountain and Haystack Mountain in Vermont.

Looking down White Arrow Trail.
White Arrow Trail
Looking to Vermont, with Haystack Snow, and Stratton Mountains visible.

The path slowly morphed from rocky flats to a snowy forest. The trail from here became completely frozen over with ice. Not an inch of the trail from here wasn't covered in at least two inches of ice. Spikes are needed here. From flat spots to steep slopes, the entire White Arrow Trail was an enormous ice waterfall.

The large frozen falls on the trail.
More ice.

After the slippery, strenuous descent of White Arrow Trail, we came out to the ruins of the Halfway House, a former hotel built in 1858 that, at it's peak, could accommodate 100 guests. The building burnt down in 1954, but artifacts can still be found here to this day, along with a view looking southwest toward Troy.

The site of the Halfway House.
Some ruins of the buildings.
The old site of the Halfway House.
The view from the Halfway House.

We found our way to Hello Rock Trail, a footpath mixed with all the other random trails that squirm through the forest in this area. The trail had little ice, and clearly receives virtually no use in the winter. The trail winded up to the Cliff Walk Trail, where we laid ours eyes on Hello Rock, a large prominence along the trail that's made up of a large mossy rock with views over to the Wapack Range.

The top of Hello Rock.
Looking to the Wapack Range from Hello Rock.

After continuing down the steep, craggy slopes of the Cliff Walk Trail, which had more icy falls on it, we made our way to Parker Trail, which walked along the outermost reaches of the mountain. We crossed a bridge at one point which brought us to Hunter Rock, a large boulder used by hunters as a lookout for wildlife.

My dad standing in front of Hunter Rock.

Finally, we walked the rest of the icy trail until we reached Poole Reservoir, which offered a final view looking back up at the immense, bald slopes of Mt.Monadnock. We stopped for a few photos at the dam, then continued through the picnic area to the base.

The dam at Poole Reservoir.
Mt.Monadnock from Poole Reservoir.

As generic as it may be, Mt.Monadnock still made for an impressive sunrise. Ice and snow won't stop us from achieving yet another amazing journey. All the different trails of Mt.Monadnock are worth exploring, and many sites can be found that open a new page in the history of the mountain. Remember to comment, and thanks for reading!


  1. I really look forward to your adventurous hike updates. What a great sunrise! The thick, solid icy trails were quite impressive as well. I check your blog often and find it such a wonderful treat every time you upload new pics & great detailed write ups!

    You are such an inspiration! It is so impressive to read your blog and think of the goals you regularly set and conquer, and wonder what the next one will be...

    1. Thank you! Hopefully we can visit Monadnock again this summer.

  2. Great photos and even better writing, your description really helps the reader get into the experience. Best line in the blog was "While some people may take this as a failed hike, we took it as an invitation to come back for another". That line really captured you and your Dads character. Thanks for the good read.

    1. Thank you for the kind words! I'm always looking for more reasons to return to hiking!