Pawtuckaway New Hampshire Climbing

Our climbing vacation in New Hampshire started in Pawtuckaway State Park, an area known for some of the best bouldering in the Northeast. Let me start with the fact that we loved the P-way campground. The sites were nice, the area was scenic, and the restrooms/showers were well-kept. We particularly appreciated the lake that was within walking distance of our campsite. We were able to climb in the mornings and hang out at the lake in the afternoons for the two days that we were at the park.
The New England Bouldering guidebook recommends that you avoid the Black Fly season as well as be aware of the summer mosquitoes.  As advertised, the mosquitoes were the primary negative of the P-way portion of our trip.

On the first day of bouldering at P-way, we went to Round Pond and the Round Pond Bouldering area.  (Family photo taken at an overlook of Round Pond immediately below the main Round Pond Bouldering area).  Note to those driving sedans and sports cars, the vehicular approach to the bouldering areas is quite the off road adventure.  We had our Diesel F250 and we quite enjoyed the large puddles and big bumps.  At one point, we had the kids “hold” their heads on their necks so that they didn’t get whiplash.  Ah, the fun!  You can walk a few miles in and/or mountain bike in, should you prefer to keep your car on the paved roads.

There were a number of great routes to climb in the Round Pond area and the kids did quite well with both the short approach and hanging out at the flat areas around the boulders.  There were even a number of kid-sized boulders that made for some fun climbing.   The bad part of Round Pond (for this part of the year) was that there had been a lot of rain in the weeks before our trip, and the mosquitoes were vicious!  We used Natrapel (20% Picaradin) which worked quite well, but bug spray can only do so much.  Side note: when we ran out of Natrapel and switched to OFF Family (5% Picaradin), we found the OFF much less effective.

After bouldering at Round Pond for a while, we hiked back to the truck and went back to the campsite.  R & C loved the lake and spent a good bit of time swimming and playing in the sand before heading back to the site to cook.  All in all, our first full day at P-way was a success and taught us some quick lessons for our next trip.

  • Lesson 1: Don’t try to get the kids to bed until they are actually tired.
  • Lesson 2: Food/snacks add hours to the time you can stay out. Pack many snacks.  They will ALL be eaten before you head home.
  • Lesson 3: Reward climbing time with something “just” for them.  It makes the climbing time fun and gives them something to look forward to after hours of hiking/climbing.

New River Gorge with Kids

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Hiking in a Creek

Have you ever started out on a day hike with children only to have it turn into something completely different that what you planned?  Ha. Of course you have. Many of our adventures start out as one thing ("I want to climb X route" or "sleep at X campground". . . "I want to relax in a tube on the water", or "I want to sleep in the sand") and end up as something completely different ("The route had a group staked out on it for the day" or "I couldn't … [Read More...]

Climbing Gym Etiquette With Kids

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Stand Up Paddleboarding

The best rock climbing areas tend to be located in or near wilderness, national parks, mountains, and forests.  There are exceptions, of course!  Still, when we took a family trip to the jersey shore this summer, there was no rock to be found.  As usual, my husband and I sought out something both "active" and "family friendly" to try with the kids. Surfing, Kite Surfing, Kayaking Ryan has wanted to try surfing for years, but that's a solo endeavor, as … [Read More...]

The Mount Rushmore Dilemma

Visiting Mount Rushmore with Kids Our summer trip to Wyoming and South Dakota was amazing.  We combined climbing with family time, history, geography, science and more.  When we planned the trip, climbing was the main focus, but hitting some of the National Parks and National Monuments were also a must.  Mount Rushmore is one of those locations that combines both.  There are amazing climbing opportunities in the shadow of the National Monument.  There are … [Read More...]

About Laura Boniello Miller

Laura Miller is a internet marketing professional and a mother of two. Her interests include sport climbing, bouldering, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She believes that playing outdoors is integral to health and well being, and that if your kids aren't dirty, they haven't had enough fun.