This years New Years Day brought sub zero temperatures to New Hampshire. I had planned a First Day Hike for my hiking group, but contemplated canceling it due to the weather. I had a couple people who had RSVP and thought, if they are willing to come out in these frigid temps, then so am I. To my surprise I had four dedicated women show up to hike around Gilson Pond, at the Campground for Monadnock State Park.
There are several trails around the campground and park with many that lead up to Mount Monadnock. With the cold temperatures I wanted to do an easy quick hike, so we did the roughly mile and half around Gilson Pond from the parking lot. Just remember if you go when the park is open you do have to pay a day use fee to use the trails.
The pond trail around Gilson Pond is a great little hike or snowshoe this time of year. The trail is easy and well marked. It takes you around the pond and provides partial views of Mount Monadnock and various views of the pond. I did observe cross country ski tracks on the trail, but as someone who ski's I feel you would have to be a decent cross country skier to ski on this trail due to the trees and curves in the trail.
Despite the cold it was nice to get back on the trail after the holidays and reconnect with my hiking group ladies. We were all dressed appropriately and had warm hands thanks to a group member bringing hand warmers. Due to the movement of the hike we were warm and were not bothered by the cold air.
This is a great trail for year round hiking, beginner hikers, those who just want to get out for about an hour and families. To access the trail, park in the parking lot for Monadnock State Park/Gilson Pond Campground across from Thorndike Pond Beach on Dublin Road in Jaffrey, NH. Walk up the road past the gate house, down a small hill and you will see the pond in front of you. There is a small trail sign, "Pond Trail," follow the trail markers around the pond and you will end where you started.