Pack Monadnock: What You Need to Know Before Visiting

The view from Pack Monadnock - among the things to do in Peterborough NH
The view from Pack Monadnock. Photo credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region/Wikimedia

Quick Overview of Pack Monadnock:

Elevation: 2290 feet

Hiking Difficulty: Easy (slight incline)

Length of Hike: 2.8 miles out and back

Auto Road: Yes, 1.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 900 feet

Location: Miller State Park in Peterborough, New Hampshire

Situated in Peterborough’s Miller State Park, Pack Monadnock, is a 2290′ mountain that provides spectacular views of mountain ranges deep into New Hampshire and as far as Massachusetts and Vermont. On a very clear day, it’s possible to see Boston to the southeast, Mount Washington to the north, and Monadnock to the west. In addition to the views from the summit, Pack Monadnock also features a fire tower that visitors can climb to observe even more far-reaching landscapes.

There are two ways visitors can reach the summit: by hiking or driving to the top. The 1.3-mile auto road is windy but a fairly easy uphill drive. There are two hiking trails that run across the mountain: the Wapack Trail and the Marion Davis Trail. Between the two, the Wapack trail is considered to be more strenuous due to its rocky trail surface.

You’ll find the trailhead to the Marion Davis Trail in the far right corner of the Miller State Park parking area. The trail is an easy climb for the first .8 miles but eventually, descends uphill and the climb is steeper for half a mile to the top. In total, the Marion Davis Trail is 2.8 miles out and back with an elevation gain of 900 feet.

The Wapack Trail isn’t limited to Miller State Park but runs through it. In total, the Wapack Trail is 21 miles long and it extends from Mount Watatic in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, and ends at North Pack Monadnock in Greenfield, New Hampshire. The portion of the Wapack Trail on Pack Monadock begins in the same place as the Marion Davis Trail.

When you reach the summit of Pack Monadnock – either by hiking or car – you’ll find a number of parking spaces, a few buildings, a communications tower, and the fire tower. At the top of the fire tower, you’ll be able to see North Pack Monadnock, the Belknap Range, and the White Mountains to the north, to the west is Mount Monadnock, in the south is Mount Wachusett in Massachusetts, and to the southeast is Boston.

On the ground, there’s also a viewing area just across from the fire tower that provides a good view of Boston on a clear day. There’s also an area further up the parking lot, but into the woods, that provides excellent views of the White Mountains.

It’s believed that Native Americans named Pack Monadnock and that “pack” means “little”, referring to its contrasting size to the larger and more well-known Monadnock to the west. Although Pack Monadnock is small, a hike or drive to the summit is worth your time, especially on a clear, sunny day. It’s a great way to take in incredible views of the surrounding area with not too much effort.

See related:

10 Best Things to Do in Peterborough New Hampshire

A photo of Kerry Flatley leaning against a wall

About Kerry Flatley

Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.

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