As school and activities are winding down for the summer, it is time to focus on summer plans and bucket lists. I have had many people tell me that their kids want to hike this summer and have asked me about hikes in the area that are good with kids from babies up to Middle School age. This is very exciting to me. Even thought hiking with kids is not always fun, check out my blog post on that. It very beneficial so I have put together my list of favorites hikes for kids in the Monadnock Region. The hikes are in no particular order and I had input from my eight year old. Click on the trail name for a full description of each trail.
Kidder Mountain in New Ipswich: This hike is near and dear to my heart as it is the hike that my husband and I frequently did when we first moved to the area. It was also the first hike my daughter did right before her second birthday all my herself. The kids at the local elementary school do this hike every year as a school field trip. It is great because it is only about a mile and a half to the top with not a lot of elevation gain, but a beautiful view of the southern part of the wapack and on a clear day you can see Boston. It's a perfect spot to bring a picnic lunch.
White Ledges in Temple: This is great for the little ones who can't walk far, but you want to get a view. It is a little less than a half mile up to the top, with a slight incline. At the top there is white ledge outcropping with views looking towards Milford, Nashua and Manchester.
Tutor Trail at Willard Pond in Antrim: This is a great trail for a warm summer day because at the end you get to swim in a sandy part of the pond. The trail is a little rocky along the edge of the pond, but it is flat and provides you with beautiful views. There are two spots that I have swam at. One is about a half mile down the trail there is a small bench and a rock outcropping. It's great swimming here. If you continue down the trail, it's a little over a mile to a small sandy beach and sandy swimming area. There is also an open wooded area for exploring and rocks to climb on. Make sure you bring a picnic lunch and spend an afternoon here.
Andres Institute of Art in Brookline: Not technically in the Monadnock Region, but close and worth the drive. How fun is it to explore trails scattered with sculptures. This is a great place for all ages. Kids minds can wander while exploring the various sculptures and trails. Just remember the trails are on the side of an old Ski Mountain so they can be steep, but there are options for easier trail. If you chose to hike to the top there is a beautiful view looking towards Mt Monadnock.
Storybook Trail at Highbridge Hill Elementary School in New Ipswich: Storybook Trails are great for young and old. While walking around the trail you read a story. The trail is open spring through the summer into the fall and the story is changed each month, even during the summer. The trail is a little under a mile in the woods around the elementary school. There is also the school playground if you chose to stop after you complete the trail.
Crotched Mountain Rehab Trails in Greenfield: There is a great variety of trails here. There are trails that are wheelchair and stroller accessible. It has been a little bit since I have been there, but the last time I was there, there was a story book along the accessible trails. The accessible trails goes to an outlook over a marshy area. From the parking lot there is also trails up to a beautiful outlook on Crotched Mountain, this would be for the older kids. This is one of my favorite views in the area.
Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard: Fire towers are also a fun destination for kids. Always use caution around them as they can be dangerous due to the structures being older and high off the ground. Pitcher Mountain in an easy short hike up to beautiful view. During the summer it is usually manned by a Forest Ranger. The rangers can be a wealth of knowledge in regards to the landmarks you can see from the top.
Distant Hill Nature Trail in Alstead: This is a fairly new trail system. Even though it is only about a mile long, there are plans to expand. The trails are handicap and stroller accessible. There is a natures playground, a small board walk and plenty to keep the kids entertained for a few hours. This is a great trail for the young ones in your life.
Hiroshi Hayashi Conservation Land Trail Peterborough: This is a great trail for the older more adventurous children in your life. This roughly two mile look provides a scenic outlook, a wire tight rope over a stream and a cable skiff where you can hand pull yourself around the stream on a barge.
Cranberry Meadow Pond Trail Peterborough: An easy two mile round trip hike that takes you over bridges, around streams for splashing, near down trees and large rocks that make good climbing opportunities and ends up at a beautiful pond with an opportunity to stop and have a snack and enjoy the views.
Remember to always use cautions with hiking with kids, make sure they have good footwear, bring plenty of water and a snack. For younger kids a change of clothes is a good idea incase they get wet. Be prepared to make many stops and side trips. Try to encourage this as it keeps kids interested in the great outdoors.