The Monadnocks and Merrimack Valley Places

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Jaffrey Center

Sports and the Outdoors

Monadnock State Park. The oft-quoted statistic about Mt. Monadnock is that it's America's most-climbed mountain—third in the world after Japan's Mt. Fuji and China's Mt. Tai. Whether this is true or not, locals agree that it's never lonely at the top. Some days more than 400 people crowd its bald peak. However, when the parking lot fills up, rangers close the park. Thus, an early morning start, especially during fall foliage, is recommended. Monadnock rises to 3,165 feet, and on a clear day the hazy Boston skyline is visible. Five trailheads branch into more than two dozen trails of varying difficulty (though all rigorous) 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 miles of groomed trails on the lower elevations of the mountain. 116 Poole Rd., off Rte. 124, Jaffrey Center, NH, 03452. 603/532–8862. www.nhstateparks.org. $5. Daily dawn–dusk. No pets.

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