Beautiful fall color at North Pack Monadnock

Beautiful fall color at North Pack Monadnock. (Paige Impink photo)

North Pack Monadnock is found along the Wapack Trail, one of the oldest public hiking trails in the country. We previously hiked Pack Monadnock and returned to hike North Pack.

The area is part of the Wapack Na­tional Wildlife Refuge and is ac­cessed by a variety of trials, including the Wapack Trail and Ted and Carolyn’s trails. We hiked Ted’s trail from Old Mountain Road in Green­field, New Hampshire, about an hour away.

One item of note: hiking from Old Mountain Road does not require a reservation. Street parking is the only access. However, if you are hiking other locations in New Hamp­shire, check ahead for reservations now implemented due to COVID-19.

We hiked the easy trail in just a few hours, as it is three miles long and well worn. Despite the many cars, we didn’t encounter too many folks, and when we did, we just stepped aside, put on our masks, and waited for them to pass.

There are pine and deciduous forests along the route, with intact stone walls lacing the hill. There are some sections where tree roots are plentiful but for the most part the trail is smooth. It is said that on a clear day, Manchester can be seen from the summit, though we did not have such luck.

There are several boardwalks along the trail traversing what should be mountain streams. We had read there are waterfalls, but not right now. Unfortunately, during this time of drought, there was no running water anywhere.

We were pleased, however, that there were no bugs on the trail, but birds, squirrels and chipmunks were active. Ted’s and Carolyn’s trails meet up with the Cliff Trail, a loop that gives access to some views, though not as sweeping as Pack Mon­adnock simply by virtue of being a smaller mountain.

The refuge itself is 1,672 acres. According to the U.S. Fish and Wild­life Service, the refuge supports hawk migration areas and is a nesting habitat for migratory songbirds such as the tree sparrow, Swainson's thrush, magnolia warbler, crossbills, pine grosbeaks and white-throated sparrow.

The USFWS also states that the refuge has a wide variety wildlife including deer, bear, coyote, fisher, fox, mink and weasel.

For a map of the North Pack trails we’d suggest using a site such as Alltrails. There were no paper maps at the trail head, though there was a trailhead guide which we’d suggest photographing before heading out.

Enjoy!

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