Hiking has always been one of my favorite pastimes and growing up in New Hampshire I had countless mountains for my playground. A few years ago I discovered a hiking trail known as the Wapack Trail while hiking Pack Monadnock in Peterborough. The Wapack is 21 miles in length with seven miles of side trails and is marked by yellow triangles on trees and rocks. The trail provides open ledges, rocky peaks and breathtaking views of Mount Monadnock, the Berkshires, the Green Mountains, the White Mountains, and more. The trail passes by old homesteads, through state forests, private land, miller-state-park, the Wapack National Wildlife Refuge. A spruce forest that lines parts of the trail gives hikers the feeling that they are deep in the North Woods.
The Wapack Trail is one of the oldest interstate trails in the Northeast and was founded by Frank Robbins and Marion Davis in 1923. The name “Wapack” was created using the first syllables of the peaks at either end of the trail, North Pack and Mt. Wattatic. Upon completion the Wapack Trail was an immediate success and many famous people came to hike and stay at the trails lodge. One famous visitor was Benton MacKaye, who was the planner and originator of the Appalachian Trail. MacKaye was also a teacher in Shirley, MA and would bring up students from his school to work on the trail.
This interstate trail extends from Mount Watatic to North Pack in Greenfield, NH, passing through New Ipswich, Temple, Sharon, Peterborough, Greenfield, NH, etc. The trail mainly follows a skyline route along the summits of Watatic, Pratt, New Ipswich, Barrett and Temple mountains, and then ascends the Pack Monadnocks.
Hiking the Wapack offers an amazing experience all year round with abundant wildlife and breath taking views. In spring and summer wildflowers and blueberries can be found everywhere. In autumn the countryside becomes ablaze with color, while in winter, snowshoeing and cross country skiing provide a rewarding experience. The Wapack can be thru hiked or in sections and is perfect for beginner and seasoned hikers alike. Over the past few years I have hiked various sections of the trail in different seasons and find each one to be as equally beautiful.
If you are up for a challenge or slightly crazy there is an ultramarathon on the Wapack every spring. The Wapack and Back Trail Races consist of a 50 mile ultramarathon and an end-to-end trail race run on the 21.5 mile Wapack Trail. Runners are challenged with approximately 4,600 ft elevation gain in each direction and about a 10,800′ climb.
The Wapack Trail is maintained and protected by the Friends of the Wapack an independent, all volunteer, non-profit organization founded in 1980. This organization is dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of the Wapack Trail, its side trails, public access points and education about them. The permanent protection of the Wapack is a major goal of the organization based on the philosophy of the Wapack Trail founders, Frank Robbins and Marion Davis.