How much do you know about Mount Monadnock?

  • How much do you know about Mount Monadnock? PHOTO BY ERIC ALDRICH

Monday, August 22, 2016 5:55PM

Our region’s iconic namesake, one of the most-climbed mountains in the world, is a treasure trove of trivia. We could easily ask 1,000 questions to test your knowledge of Mount Monadnock, but here are a few to get you started and warmed up for a hike.

1. Of the many theories about the meaning of the mountain’s name, the one that’s generally most accepted is:

A. Much-climbed mountain.

B. The mountain that stands alone.

C. Mountain above the clouds.

2. The summit of Mount Monadnock is 3,165 feet above sea level. If you hike from Monadnock State Park headquarters on Poole Road, you’re starting at an elevation of:

A. 0 feet.

B. About 500 feet.

C. Almost 1,400 feet.

3. Mount Monadnock is owned by:

A. The state of N.H. (Division of Parks and Recreation).

B. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

C. The town of Jaffrey.

D. A combination of above.

4. The longest trail up Mount Monadnock is:

A. White Dot Trail.

B. Pumpelly Trail.

C. Marlboro Trail.

5. Mount Monadnock’s summit once held:

A. An inn that hosted celebrities such as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Mark Twain.

B. A 40-foot-tall fire tower.

C. A lookout cabin for forest fire watchers and later a snack bar.

6. There are no trees at Mount Monadnock’s summit because:

A. The summit is above tree-line.

B. Fires in the 1800s burned much of the vegetation near the top.

C. Trees were removed to enhance the view.

7. The Sarcophogus is:

A. A large coffin-shaped boulder on the mountain.

B. A legend about a ghost that emerges one night a year near the summit.

C. A coffin buried near the Pumpelly Trail.

8. In 1988, Mount Monadnock was named as a:

A. State Park.

B. National Natural Landmark.

C. National Monument.


1. B. The Abenaki name is also used as a geological term for similar mountains that stand alone.

2. C. State park headquarters is about 1,390 feet. So the elevation gain from headquarters is about 1,700 feet.

3. D. The Forest Society since 1915 has acquired more than 5,000 acres around Monadnock, much of which it leases to the state park. The state and town also own tracts on the mountain.

4. B. Pumpelly Trail, at 4.5 miles, starts from Dublin Lake and follows Pumpelly Ridge to the summit. It was laid out in 1884 by Raphael Pumpelly, an archaeologist, explorer and Harvard professor who summered in Dublin.

5. C. The original 6-foot by 6-foot “Pill Box” was built in 1912. A new building was built on the spot in 1928, used for a time as a concession stand, and finally removed in 1972.

6. B. Although there are conflicting accounts, many sources say that before 1800, there were trees and vegetation near the summit. Fires around 1800 and 1820 removed much of the summit vegetation.

7. A. It’s a glacial erratic found at 2,800 feet on the Pumpelly Trail. There’s also the “Imp,” a face-shaped landmark on the Cascade Link Trail, and the “Doric Temple” on the White Dot Trail.

8. B. National Natural Landmark is a designation of the National Park Service. Mount Monadnock is one of almost 600 in the nation and 11 in New Hampshire.

Eric Aldrich writes from his home in Hancock.