Mount Monadnock. The second most climbed mountain in the world. And if you want proof, hike the White Dot trail on any weekend Memorial Day to Columbus Day. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, there are plenty of options on Monadnock to avoid them. Once such option is my favorite: the Spellman Trail.
Spellman is the steepest trail on the mountain. It does not lead to the summit, but if you enjoy rock scrambles and unbelieve panoramic views this trail is for you.
To reach this delightful trail, start at the ranger station off of Poole road. For the first part of this trail, climb the White Dot trail. White Dot is very worn and not hard to follow although it will get you warmed up. In about 2.7 miles, you’ll come to Falcon Spring. This is nice spot to fill your canteen and take a quick break. To the north is the Cascade Link trail, turn right onto Cascade Link. Almost immediately the crowds will dissipate and you’ll start to be able to appreciate the solitude of Monadnock. Soon you’ll come to a small creek that you’ll need to cross. There are plenty of rocks upon which to step. In about .3 miles you pass by Red Dot trail and the come to Spellman trail on the left.
Spellman starts off rather peaceful. You pass through a hemlock forest and then will come your first rock scramble. Keep an eye out for the white spots delineating the trail. Atop this rock face is another small brook you can easily jump over- in winter conditions, going around may be the better side of valor. You are back in a hemlock grove for a brief moment.
When you get the next rock face, the fun pat begins. For most of the remainder of Spellman trail you will be climbing and scrambling up the rock face. When you reach spots to take breathers, turn around and look at the view. On clear days, you’ll be able to see Wachusett Mt and the Blue Hills. When you finally reach the top, the trail is mostly flat to it terminus at the intersection with Pumpelly Trail. You can either head right and back down the mountain via Pumpelly or Pumpelly to Cascade Link. Heading left will bring you to Town Line Peak and then onto Grand Monadnock. I usually head to the summit. The views are well worth the climb (and the crowd.)