Sports and the Outdoors
Monadnock State Park. The oft-quoted statistic about Mt. Monadnock is that it's America's most-climbed mountain—second in the world to Japan's Mt. Fuji. Whether this is true or not, locals agree that it's never lonely at the top. Some days, especially during foliage season, more than 400 people crowd its bald peak. Monadnock rises to 3,165 feet, and on a clear day the hazy Boston skyline is visible from its summit. The park maintains picnic grounds and a small campground (RVs welcome, but no hookups) with 28 sites. Five trailheads branch into more than two dozen trails of varying difficulty that wend their way to the top. Allow between three and four hours for any round-trip hike. A visitor center has free trail maps as well as exhibits documenting the mountain's history. In winter, you can cross-country ski along roughly 12 mi of groomed trails on the lower elevations of the mountain. Off Rte. 124, 2½ mi north of Jaffrey Center, Jaffrey Center, NH, 03452. 603/532–8862. www.nhstateparks.org. $4. Daily dawn–dusk. No pets.
Rhododendron State Park. More than 16 acres of wild rhododendrons bloom in mid-July at this park, which has the largest concentration of Rhododendron maximum north of the Allegheny Mountains. Bring a picnic lunch and sit in a nearby pine grove or follow the marked footpaths through the flowers. On your way here, be sure to pass through Fitzwilliam's well-preserved historic district of Colonial and Federal-style houses, which have appeared on thousands of postcards. Rte. 119 W, off Rte. 12, 10 mi southwest of Jaffrey Center, Fitzwilliam, NH, 03447. 603/532–8862. www.nhstateparks.org. $4. May–Nov., daily 8–sunset.
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