A great way to keep kids interested in a hike is to go explore a cave. These caves are mostly piles of boulders with spaces underneath. You’ll want a headlamp for many of them. Some of them are quite tight and you’ll want a small adult to follow the kids.
See also other trip destinations.
List of hikes
Devil’s Den at Pawtuckaway
This is a significant fissure in the rocks. You will need confident rock scrambling skills to get back out. The cave is near the northern point of North Mountain Trail. See the state park map. It is easiest to find coming up from Round Pond. After a view of Dead Pond, the trail turns left up the hill. The path to the cave is part way up the hill between a cliff and a large upright slab that has pulled away from the cliff. The location is also described in the AMC Southern NH Trail Guide.
Carbonneau Cave in the Belknap Range
We found this cave listed as a dot on the AMC southern NH trail map. Like most caves in NH it is a void behind a granite block that has slid out from a cliff. On wet days, the pinch point requires some thought to get through, but isn’t actually hard. The cliff has a bunch of good scrambling too.
Read the directions to the cave in our trip report from March 2020.
Mount Percival Cave
This cave is on the Percival Trail — cave variant, near the top of Mt Percival. The trail goes in one side of the cave and out the other, so bring your pack. This is on the Terrifying Twenty Five list also.
Wolf Dens on Monadnock
Wolf Dens on the Cliff Walk trail on Mt Monadnock. Turn left at the signed junction 200 feet above Noble Trail. See the state park trail map.
Mine Ledge Caves, near Madame Sherri Castle
Several rock scrambles and one completely enclosed cave at the bottom of a talus field. Hiking from the castle, pass Mine Ledge and descend to the next drainage. Turn left and follow that drainage down to the base of the talus field. Scramble around and see what you can find. Most of these caves require a small adult.
Monadnock Summit Caves
The rocks at the top of Monadnock are slowly pulling away from each other. By exploring off trail, we have found several caves in the fissures. Most of these caves require a small adult.