New England Tri-State Cycling

Grand Monadnock Tour
Distance : 20.04 miles.
Time : 2 hours.
Elevation Gain : 1310 feet.
Difficulty : Moderate.
Bicycle : Mountain.
Directions to the Start : Take Route 101, 12.2 miles east of Keene and, just past Dublin Pond, park near the corner of Lake Road and Route 101.

When I first moved to New England, I was amazed to learn that New Hampshire's Monadnock was the second most popular peak in the world. This is because Monadnock is a rather easy climb and is near some major population centers. Only Japan's Mount Fuji attracted more climbers. But since you can now reach Mount Fuji's summit on a tram, without climbing, Monadnock's 125,000 climbers per year makes it the most heavily climbed peak in the world.

However, Grand Monadnock's popularity is not a recent phenomenon. Numerous American Indians, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, President Grant, and Nathaniel Hawthorne also have reached its summit.

It's easy to join the list of those who have absorbed the view of the six New England states on a clear day. But it's not going to be done on a bicycle: they are banned. However, the roads around the base of Monadnock make for an interesting tour, on which the cyclist has frequent views of the 3165-foot peak.

Route Description

From the start, you ride east on Route 101, and just beyond a CAMP WO-MA sign turn right (south) onto Upper Jaffrey Road. At mile 0.80, the road veers to the right and you obtain the first view of Monadnock. After the summit, you find a paved but rough downhill. Then at 1.98 miles, through a clearing on the left, you have a view of the hills to the east.

At 3.15 miles, after 15 minutes, is the Jaffrey Town line and Thorndike Pond. Now the road surface improves tremendously and you get a second view of Mount Monadnock.

After 5.01 miles and 30 minutes of cycling, you pass the first of several entrances to Monadnock State Park. Monadnock has always been considered a spiritual center and today is no different, because you next pass the Monadnock Bible Conference Center.

At 6.18 miles you reach Route 124. Just to the left, behind Jaffrey's Colonial meeting house, Aunt Hannah Davis (1784-1863) and Amos Fortune (1710-1801) are buried. Davis was a spinster who trade-marked and sold the nations' first wooden bandboxes. Fortune was an African-born slave who bought his freedom and began a tannery. He gave money from the tannery to the Jaffrey church and schools.

You continue to the right (west) on Route 124, and see the south side of Monadnock at 7.48 miles. You climb and at 8.9 miles, after a gain of 580 feet, you reach the Old Toll Road Trailhead for Monadnock. Now you have a pleasant, smooth, fast downhill which goes by the Perkins Pond. You have another perspective of Monadnock, pass the Troy Town line, and encounter some more climbing. After a climb of 670 feet at 10.99 miles, you cross the Marlborough Town line and reach a 1460-foot summit. At 12.74 miles, you turn right (east) onto Old Dublin Road, veer left onto a dirt road at 13.04 miles, and at 13.74 miles cross over Mountain Brook.

In the fall, when there are no leaves on the trees, you can see another aspect of Mount Monadnock from a spot at 14.29 miles. You pass Shaker Road and then at 15.89 miles after an hour and a half, go by the Dublin Trail Trailhead, the last access point to Monadnock.

After 17.38 miles and 1080 feet of gain, you turn right onto paved, unsigned Old Marlborough Road. At 18.23 miles, at Dublin Pond, turn left (north) onto unsigned West Lake Road, ride along Dublin Pond and then at 19.79 miles turn right onto Route 101. At 20.04 miles, after almost 2 hours and 1310 feet, you reach the starting point.

View: Trail Map

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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