The Metacomet/Monadnock Trail (or M + M Trail for short) is a 114 mile long trail that snakes across the Pioneer Valley from Massachusetts through New Hampshire. About 70 miles from Boston, the M + M Trail travels across some of the most beautiful terrain in the area. Lakes, rivers, cliff faces, and even waterfalls dot the landscape, allowing for amazing hikes and views. As if that wasn't enough, hiking the M + M will grant you summit views of Mount Monadnock, Mount Tom, and Mount Holyoke.
What Makes It Great
Towering over southern New Hampshire at just under 3,200 feet, Mount Monadnock is either the exciting beginning to your journey or the last major hurdle between you and your multi-state hiking achievement. The diversity of terrain on the M+M trail will likely be a major selling point for backpackers considering hiking the trail’s length.
So what is it that you are looking for throughout your travels? Waterfalls? Check. Cliff faces? Check. Swamps, woodlands, farms, wildlife, and 3 mounts to summit? Check, check, check, check, and triple check. In essence, you get what you pay for with the Metacomet/ Monadnock Trail, metaphorically speaking anyways. The trail is long and filled with elevation changes along its entirety, so if you're up for pushing limits, the M+M could be the trail for you.
The Metacomet/ Monadnock Trail is maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club and a large portion of the trail is part of the New England National Scenic Trail. Do your best to minimally impact the areas you travel; better yet, leave them better than you found them.
Who is Going to Love It
Serious backpackers will love the length of the Metacomet/ Monadnock Trail, as well as its relative proximity to Boston. The short commute paired with the rural setting make this trail a popular destination for both day-hikers and through hikers alike. Some primitive campsites and national forest campsites are scattered throughout the trail, making the M + M a great destination for hikers psyched on multiple days of travel.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The most efficient way to Mount Monadnock is to go from I-93 North to MA-16 West to MA-2 West. From there hop on MA-140 North via Exit 24B. Continue onto US-202 North and then onto NH-124 West. The state park is just ahead on Poole Road.
Folks looking to hike the whole M+M trail might find it easiest to bribe a friend into dropping them off at the start of their trip, rather than dropping a bunch of money on daily parking fees. With that being said, Mount Monadnock is about a 2.5 hour drive from Boston, albeit an easy one.
Note: fires of any kind are not allowed on the trail, so don't let Smokey the Bear catch you rubbing any sticks together for a campfire.