Making his way across southern New Hampshire in September 1852, Henry David Thoreau described the hills as being "very wild and agreeably scenic." Some 70 years later, those same hills, the Wapack Range, became the site of the Northeast's first interstate footpath. Still going strong, the Wapack Trail runs the ridge between Mt. Watatic in Massachusetts and 2,276-foot North Pack Monadnock in New Hampshire.
The trail threads in and out of deep, cool woods to take in big views, blueberry barrens, wetlands, and ponds. Camping is permitted at only two primitive shelters at the Windblown Cross-Country Ski Area-about the halfway point. The nightly fee is $5 per person (call 603-878-2869 for reservations).
LENGTH: 21 miles, or a two-day hike.
RATING: Easy. Elevation ranges from 1,200 to nearly 2,300 feet. Water is scarce.
WHERE: The southern trailhead is 60 miles (90 minutes) northwest of Boston on the north side of MA 119 in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, 1.4 miles west of the intersection with MA 101.
MAPS: A detailed guidebook and map are available for $11 from Friends of the Wapack (address below).
CONTACT: Friends of the Wapack, Box 115, West Peterborough, NH 03468; www.cnh.mv.com/ipusers/blanchette/fow.