Wapack Range: Temple Mtn. and Kidder Mtn.

Mountains:  Temple Mtn., Burton Peak (2010'), Holt Peak (2055'), Kidder Mtn. (1805'), Sharon Ledges, Temple Mountain Ledges
Trails:  Wapack Trail, Kidder Mountain Trail
Region:  NH - Southwest  
Wapack Range
Location:  New Ipswich, NH
Rating:  Easy/Moderate  
Features:  Summits, views, pond, ledges, rock chairs
Distance:  8.9 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1600 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 5:15  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 8:00  
Season:  Fall
Hike Date:  10/18/2008 (Saturday)  
Author:  Reinhild Davis
Companions:  SDHers: Alex, Chris, Reinhild's Mom, Mary, Cheryl, Rachel, Charlie, Dennis, Kristin

View (photo by Dennis Marchand)


Route Summary   

This is a point-to-point hike northwards on the Wapack Trail with a detour to the summit of Kidder Mountain which offers great views. The section of Wapack Trail covered by this hike traverses Temple Mountain's ridgeline, including its two summits, Burton Peak and Holt Peak. The two summits are wooded but views are available elsewhere along the Temple Mountain ridgeline, including those from Sharon Ledges and Temple Mountain Ledges. There are also interesting cairns and chairs built with rocks on the last section of this hike below Holt Peak.

Trail map of hike route to Kidder Mtn. and Temple Mtn. via the Wapack Trail (map by Webmaster) Wapack Trail is blazed with yellow triangles (and cairns on the ledges) and Kidder Mountain Trail is blazed in blue.

This is a point-to-point hike so be sure to shuttle cars to both trailheads, or otherwise arrange for transportation, before heading out on foot.

  • Start at the Wapack Trailhead located on the concurrent Routes 123 and 124.
  • From the parking area follow Wapack Trail, starting off in a northeasterly direction (not to be confused with the southwesterly Wapack Trail which begins by following Wapack Road on the opposite side of the street from the parking area).
  • After 0.6 mile you will reach a junction with Kidder Mountain Trail.
  • Turn right, leaving Wapack Trail behind for now, and follow Kidder Mountain Trail for about 0.1 mile along the power lines, then cross the power line right-of-way and turn left into the woods.
  • Keep following Kidder Mountain Trail which is blazed in blue.
  • You will reach the summit 0.9 mile after leaving Wapack Trail. From the peak you should be able to see the distant Boston skyline, as well as the closer-by Mount Watatic and Mount Wachusett.
  • After enjoying the views, retrace your steps on Kidder Mountain Trail for 0.9 mile, back to Wapack Trail.
  • Turn right onto Wapack Trail. The rest of this hike will be on Wapack Trail which is marked with yellow triangular blazes and cairns.
  • Continue on Wapack Trail for 1.3 miles, passing a pond on the right en route.
  • Next, bear left onto Todd Road and then 0.4 mile later, you will reach Nashua Road.
  • Cross Nashua Road and follow Sharon Road (may also be called Temple Road) straight ahead for 0.4 mile.
  • Bear right, then 30 yards later turn right to follow a dirt road for a short distance at which point the trail reenters the woods.
  • After following Wapack Trail for another 0.4 mile, you will encounter the start of the open Sharon Ledges which allow for views, including one of Mount Monadnock. At this point, you should also look for a sign indicating an overlook to the right. Follow the spur path for 25 yards where there will be a view towards Mount Watatic.
  • Returning from the spur path, turn right and continue your trek on Wapack Trail. Sharon Ledges extend for about 0.7 mile before the trail dips back into the woods.
  • About 0.3 mile after the end of the open ledges, you will come upon a junction with Berry Pasture Trail on the left; keep going straight on Wapack Trail.
  • Barely 0.2 mile later you will reach the wooded summit of Burton Peak which is part of Temple Mountain.
  • Continue on Wapack Trail and 0.5 mile beyond Burton Peak will be another spur off to the right affording a great view east, including the Boston skyline.
  • Back on Wapack Trail, a short distance beyond the spur, is an open area with great views west to Mount Monadnock.
  • Staying on Wapack Trail, you will attain the wooded summit of Holt Peak, also part of Temple Mountain, 0.4 mile from the last spur trail, and 0.9 mile from the Burton Peak summit.
  • Continue on Wapack Trail, and 0.5 mile later look for a tall cairn and side path to the left. This spur leads to the Temple Mountain Ledges with great views.
  • Back on Wapack Trail heading north (turn left when returning from the spur trail), continue for another 1.4 miles which will bring you to the trailhead on Route 101. Near the end, you will be descending along the edge of an old ski slope of the now-defunct Temple Mountain Ski Area.

Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
Wapack Trailhead on Routes 123 and 124 (1450') 0.0 0.0
Jct. Wapack Trail/Kidder Mountain Trail (1510') 0.6 0.6
Kidder Mtn. summit (1805') 0.9 1.5
Jct. Wapack Trail/Kidder Mountain Trail (1510') 0.9 2.4
Jct. Wapack Trail/Nashua Road (1240') 1.7 4.1
Start of Sharon Ledges (1730') 0.8 4.9
Jct. Wapack Trail/Berry Pasture Trail (1970') 1.0 5.9
Burton Peak summit (2010') 0.2 6.1
Holt Peak summit (2055') 0.9 7.0
Temple Mountain Ledges (1770') 0.5 7.5
Wapack Trailhead on Route 101 (1480') 1.4 8.9

Dennis and Kristin at a pond (photo by Dennis Marchand)



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Little hiker and tall cairn (photo by Dennis Marchand)


Dennis relaxing in one of the several stone chairs (photo by Dennis Marchand)

 




  Trail Guide   

For this hike on the Wapack Trail, we planned on starting from the trailhead on Route 123/124 and walking along the western slopes of Kidder Mountain with an option to climb a side trail to the summit, which would give us views. The side trail adds 1.8 miles.

From Kidder we would then hike the four or so peaks of Temple Mountain coming back down towards Route 101 at which point there is a further option to climb South Pack Monadnock to get to the Raptor station a short distance north of the summit.

If we were to skip both options, the whole hike would cover 7.1 miles.

SDH (photo by Dennis Marchand)


Seven people started out together on the Wapack Trail. Upon reaching the cutoff for Kidder, we decided to summit it and were rewarded with great views of the Wapack Range to the south.

We soon split into a faster and slower group, and at the first Temple Mountain peak we were joined by another four hikers who had started at the Temple Mountain trailhead (the Wapack Trailhead on Temple Road).

The trail was very diverse, with lots of ups and downs and several peaks and viewpoints. The highest peak, Holt, is wooded with no views. We also had the greatest age range of any hike in recent memory, from 8 to 82!

No one opted to climb Pack Monadnock, as we had had no luck seeing any migrating raptors, probably because it was too late in the season, although the weather was perfect!

It was a nice day and a very interesting hike with lots of rock cairns and formations. Quite the variety of terrain and hiking companions. When we reached the end, we encountered a horse and rider in the parking lot; apparently there are also riding trails around Temple Mountain.
 
 

Rock chair and cairn (photo by Dennis Marchand) Rock chairs and cairns (photo by Dennis Marchand)

 


NH - Southwest

  Driving Directions   

This is a point-to-point hike starting on Route 123/124 and ending on Route 101. Be sure to shuttle cars to both trailheads, or arrange for other transportation, before starting the hike.

Wapack Trailhead on Routes 123 and 124:
  • The starting point for this hike is at the Wapack Trailhead on the combined Routes 123 and 124 in New Ipswich, New Hampshire.
  • From Rt. 101, just east of downtown Peterborough, turn south onto Rt. 123.
  • Travel on Rt. 123 South for approximately 6.3 miles where Rt. 124 will come in from the right and then join Rt. 123.
  • Continue on the now concurrent Rt. 123 and Rt. 124 for 0.7 mile.
  • You will see the private Wapack Road on the right.
  • At this point, park on the left-hand side of the road in a small signed parking area opposite Wapack Road. Do not park on or block Wapack Road. You may also park along Route 123/124 on the shoulder, completely off the pavement.
  • The trailhead for this hike is on the same side of the road as the parking area (i.e. on the north side of the road), opposite Wapack Road. Note that Wapack Trail leaves in both directions from this point so be careful to start on the northeasterly trail rather than the southwesterly one which begins by following Wapack Road.

Reinhild (on the right) and her 82-year-old mother on the trail (photo by Dennis Marchand)


Wapack Trailhead on Route 101:
  • The ending point for this hike is at the Wapack Trailhead on Route 101 in Peterborough, New Hampshire, very close to the town line of Temple, New Hampshire.
  • Parking is at the base of the road that leads up to Miller State Park, so once on Route 101 and headed in the right direction, simply follow signs for Miller State Park; but rather than taking the auto road that goes through Miller State Park up to South Pack Monadnock's summit, simply park at the base of the state park's auto road.
  • Wapack Trail crosses Route 101 and goes in both directions. When you finish the hike, you will be on the side of the road opposite from the state park.

SDH (photo by Dennis Marchand)


Wapack Trailhead on Temple Road:
  • You don't need to drive to this trailhead for this hike, but directions are included here in case you want to shorten the hike. Hiking from here, over Temple Mountain, to Route 101 would be a total of 4.4 miles.
  • This trailhead is located on Temple Road in Sharon, New Hampshire.
  • From Rt. 101, just east of downtown Peterborough, turn south onto Rt. 123.
  • Travel on Rt. 123 South for 4.0 miles and then turn left onto Temple Road.
  • Drive for 0.7 mile on Temple Road then park on the right in a small dirt parking area.
  • Cross the street and follow the Wapack Trail into the woods (do not follow the trail in the opposite direction which starts out by going farther down Temple Road).

Kristin (on the right) admiring a horse at the trailhead parking area (photo by Dennis Marchand)


About The Wapack Trail   

The Wapack Trail is a 21.6-mile hiking trail, established in 1923, and located mostly in southern New Hampshire but dipping a little bit into Massachusetts. This hiking route follows the Wapack Range ridgeline which runs mainly south to north, hitting several summits and traversing open ledges which provide many views as well as good blueberry picking.

The trail starts at the base of Mount Watatic in Ashburnham, Massachusetts and extends to the northern base of Pack Monadnock in Greenfield, New Hampshire. The peaks traversed include Mount Watatic (1832'), Pratt Mountain (1821'), New Ipswich Mountain (1880'), Barrett Mountain (1850'), Temple Mountain (2055'), South Pack Monadnock (2290'), and North Pack Monadnock (2278').

The beginning of the Wapack Trail runs concurrently with the Midstate Trail, and like the Midstate Trail (which runs south-north through central Massachusetts), is marked by yellow triangles throughout its length. Connected to the main trail are about seven miles of side trails to further expand your exploration of the Wapack Range.

The Wapack Trail runs through a mixture of private land and preserved land including Watatic Mountain Wildlife Area, Binney Pond Natural Area, Mountain Pond Forest, Cabot Memorial Forest, Temple Mountain State Reservation, Miller State Park, Joanne Bass Bross Preserve, and Wapack National Wildlife Refuge.

The trail was built by Marion Buck Davis and Frank Robbins, two nature enthusiasts who fell in love with each other while creating the trail and eventually married. It was Marion that devised the name of the trail using the "Wa" of the route's starting point (Mount Watatic) and the "Pack" from the ending mountain (Pack Monadnock).

A non-profit group established in 1980, Friends of the Wapack protects and maintains the trail and has published a map and trail guide for the range. You can visit their website to get the most up-to-date information on camping and dog regulations, which are restricted throughout much of the route. Mountain bikes and other wheeled vehicles are not allowed at all on the trail. Friends of the Wapack offers several group hikes; again check their website for the current calendar.
 
 

Triumphant hiker (photo by Dennis Marchand) Triumphant hiker (photo by Dennis Marchand) Triumphant hiker (photo by Dennis Marchand) Triumphant hiker (photo by Dennis Marchand)

 

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