Located an hour and a half north of Boston and just over the Massachusetts- New Hampshire line lies the small town of Nottingham, NH, home of Pawtuckaway State Park. Known predominately for its awesome boulders, Pawtuckaway (a.k.a. "P-Way) also hosts a small number of short top rope and trad lines for the beginner-to-moderate level rope climber, which can be found on the Lower Slabs, Upper Cliffs, and Devil's Den areas.
What Makes It Great
Ready to get your bones moving? Head on over to the warm-ups of Round Pond. It is only about 200 yards from the trail and has a plethora of V-easy climbing, although be sure to check out the tall crimp classic, "Maxim" (V7) and the super-classic sloper problem, "Dopeman" (V8).
Maybe you’re just in town for a quick weekend romp. If that’s the case, Boulder Natural has the greatest amount of climbs in a centralized location; all the boulders are within a square ¼ mile. Don't miss "Hobbit Hole" (V3), "Ride the Lightning" (V6), or "Halcyon" (V11).
Last, but certainly not least, Blair Woods. Playing host to many of the area's hard, classic boulders, with lines like "The Rose" (V7), "Stand and Deliver" (V11), and Dave Graham's "Child of the Storm" (V13), this is a great area if you are looking to throw down on some hard lines.
As always in New England, the best time to climb is in the fall and spring, but don't let the winter deter you- some of the best friction can be found on those chilly days. Avoid Pawtuckaway in the summer, as black flies and mosquitoes run rampant.
Who is Going to Love It
Pawtuckaway is a great destination to bring friends who may not have very much climbing experience. Rather than drag them to a boulder field or crag that they may only find a couple of lines to climb, consider taking them to P-Way.
Many high-end, classic boulders are a mere stone's throw away from the more moderate classics, making Pawtuckaway a great place for both strongmen and beginners to congregate. There are also many hiking trails in which to get lost with great wildlife viewing opportunities and a fire tower with a great view of the surrounding area, so if your pals get bored of climbing, you’ll still have plenty of areas to explore together.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Getting from Boston to the park’s entrance is easy; however, it is not the park entrance you are looking for if you are planning on climbing. The best place to park is at the Horse Farm, as it will allow you year-round access to the park and the highest number of parking spaces.
With that all being said, take I-95 North out of Boston to Exit 2 in New Hampshire. This is NH-101. Follow NH-101 West to Exit 5 and then to NH-156 North. Drive past this the park entrance and take a left on Deerfield Road. Continue past the boat ramp and take a sharp left onto Round Pond Road to a parking area.
Once here, strap on you pad and hike down until you reach Round Pond. Heading left or right will give you plenty of climbing options, so if you're looking for something in particular, consider picking up a guidebook before you head out.