Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail
By: Jennifer Hansen
If, by writing this column, I can convince ANYONE to give the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway a try for a gorgeous autumn trail run, I will be very happy. The terrain is smooth and rolling, with few rocks and roots, and occasional summits provide satisfying views without too much hiking. There is plenty of water on the route if you bring a water filter.
Route - Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail from Washington to Stoddard, NH
Percentage Runnable - 90%
Distance - one-way is 7.3 (Pitcher Mtn) or 11.5 (Center Pond)
Elevation change - The route has many ups and downs, from its 1500' start to summits of 2000', 1900', 2150', 1820' and low points between. But there are very few steep sections.
I parked at the Historic Seventh-Day Adventist Church on King St. in Washington, NH, a 50-minute drive from downtown Lebanon via Grantham, Newport and Croydon. The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway trail is very well marked with white blazes and if one is attentive it's impossible to go astray. The route followed the gravel King St. for the first 1.5 miles southbound, then veered off into the woods for 5.8 miles of marvelous trail running -- pine-needle paved trail, bordered by emerald moss and ferns, which occasionally passes over broad flat summits of autumn-painted blueberry barrens. Pitcher Mountain, just north of NH 123 in Stoddard, has a firetower and terrific three-state views on a clear day. I continued south, crossing 123, for several more miles, through very similar woods and to the dirt Center Pond Rd, which leaves 123 a couple of miles to the east. I ran out-and-back, but it would be lovely to park a second car at the Pitcher Mountain parking lot on 123, or at the parking area near the south end of Center Pond, for a one-way excursion.
Washington's General Store sells ice cream and Greenway Maps.