Crotched Mountain

• 4-star hike
• 4.5 mile loop (alternatives from 3.4 miles)
• Medium difficulty | Elevation gain 1,260 feet
• Monadnock | Francestown NH
Google Map | KML | Directions

Crotched Mountain from Shannon's Trail.

Named for its distinctly V-shaped peak and pronounced in some olde-worlde manner (Crotch-ed), Crotched Mountain sits equidistant from the New Hampshire towns of Bennington, Greenfield and Francestown. Away from the ski resort on the Northern flanks, the Southern side of the mountain is a much quieter and unspoiled haven, with great hiking. We have several options for this mountain:

• Shannon’s Trail Out-And-Back (3.4 mi, 830 ft) - The easiest of the trails we’re featuring, without any rock scrambles. Google Map | KML | Directions

• West Summit & Shannon’s Loop (4.5 mi, 1260 ft) - Our favorite of the trails, adding distance to cover a little more variety of terrain. We recommend a counter clockwise loop of this hike.
Google Map | KML | Directions

• Greenfield Road Loop (6.8 mi, 1410 ft) - Longer route best tackled clockwise up West Summit trail, a 1 mile out-and-back spur to Crotched Mt summit, then a return on East Summit trail. This route benefits from the views available when tracing the mountain ridgeline in an Easterly direction, but suffers from 2½ miles of mostly featureless and flat town forest. Google Map | KML | Directions

Perfect place for a sunset picnic!

If you’re taking Shannon’s Trail you have the choice of the service road, or the right hand single-track trail which meanders through a meadow offering the best views of your mountain destination. The latter option adds only a small amount of shoe leather to your journey. Shannon’s Trail also features a couple of great interpretative signs identifying the mountain silhouettes on your horizon. Those taking the loop option should turn right down Lower Link Trail before heading up Summit West Trail to the ridgeline.

Tackling Summit West Trail early is probably best for hikers of either of the loop trail options, as it will be the steepest part of your trek. As you approach the top of the mountain there are also several minor rock scrambles, but nothing that should pose a problem to most people.

Before the summit you’ll reach the best overlook of the hike, providing excellent views to the South of Mount Monadnock and Pack Monadnock. There’s also a picnic bench here in the event that you want to lay out a spread and munch away while enjoying the views. Some may want to conclude their journey here, as the final leg to the summit is a minor scramble through bushes and rocks to reveal a communications tower at the very top. I think it’s worth it however, to bag the peak and to find some Northerly views between the trees.

Heading back down Shannon's Trail.

Nearby Sunset Lake.

Google Map | KML | Directions

• AllTrails Links: Shannon Out & Back | Shannon Loop | Greenfield Loop
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