While we love being a two hour drive from the White Mountains (and Franconia National Forest) there are some days we just don’t want to make the drive. Recently, we spent some time looking more locally, especially when Cody was a bit younger, for trails that were on the shorter side but well worth the effort up the mountain. I’ve listed our three favorite below with everything you need to know about getting there, parking, and the trails themselves. We’re really lucky- it seems like wherever you go in the state, you can find a trail worth hiking.
Pack Monadnock (Wapack and Marion Davis Trail)
Pack Monadnock is the place I bring any friends who are visiting. About five minutes from Peterborough, NH, this pup friendly trail is located in Miller State Park. A reservation is recommended on the weekends and parking is $4 per person, which gives you access to the 2.7 mile trail leading up to Pack Monadnock. Views reach all the way to Boston! It’s also nice to note that you can also drive to the top if need be. If hiking though, I recommend heading up the Marion Davis Trail and back down the Wapack Trail in a loop.
*With your pup, you can head to Peterborough afterwards for an egg bagel sandwich at the Peterborough Diner where dogs are welcome on the patio! Without, check out Post & Beam Brewing or Coopershill for great Irish food.
Mount Major (via. Brook and Main Trail Loop)
This pup friendly (but more crowded!) hike gives 360 views and a bird’s eye of Lake Winnepesaukee. It’s important to get to the trailhead early because the lot fills up fast, however last time we were there, people were parking all the way down the main road. Parking is free, which is a plus! With 3.8 miles of trail and 1,000 feet of elevation gain, it’s a challenge, but doable for most! I recommend heading up the Main Trail and down the Brook Trail, however we did it the opposite way last time and we were fine.
Mount Kearsarge (Winslow and Barlow Trail Loop)
We had a little trouble getting to Winslow State Park the first time around (you can’t always trust All Trails mapping…) but once we did, we thoroughly enjoyed our hike up to Mount Kearsarge. Similar to Pack Monadnock, parking is $4 per person. This 2.7 mile loop trail is moderate and the fire tower at the top is a cool feature (you can climb up and in the summer, chat with the fire warden on watch!) The views are pretty wide open from there. Pup friendly and not as crowded due to its central-New Hampshire location.
*With your pup, you can head to Henniker afterwards for beers and snacks at Henniker Brewing Company where dogs are welcome on the patio!