Pumpelly Trail is a White Mountains taster. It’s a mini-WM hike: The distance is a bit contracted, it’s less strenuous, and you don’t go as high up, but the ambiance and feel is all there.
This gem is now one of my favorite hikes in the area.
Mt. Monadnock is just over the border in New Hampshire and an hour closer than the larger peaks further north.
The trail features rambling dirt paths under a dreamy canopy, moss strewn rocks reside in rivulets of worn roots, and a carpet of ferns distinguishes unbounded nature from footpath.
The forest melds browns and greens and black into a mosaic of silhouetted titans who have no other care than to be there.
About two miles in the earth juts up… then down, then up, then a little less down, then up and up along the ridge of three small rolling hills. Exposure and light, the path gives you vast patches of unobstructed views to the north, of the Whites, sapphire lakes and New Hampshire freedom.
Continuing upwards the path bursts open to the exposed granite top Monadnock is known for. Take your pick for summiting, the rocky desert of marauding boulders calls for traversing. The hike culminates in the bald dome with 360 views, and it is oh so glorious.
How to get there: AllTrails has the coordinates
Where to park: This took me awhile to figure out. As soon as you turn onto Lake Dr., there is a parking area to your left. Along the road there are ample places for parking, but it is all private property, and the signs let you know so.
Total miles: 8.3 according to AllTrails. 9 according to the signs on the trail.