Hiking/Walk DATE: 06/09/2018 - 06/09/2018
Trip/Event Location: Lincoln, NH
Trip Leader(s): shep5
Max # People: 10
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
Join me for a loop hike around Hancock (4420') and South Hancock (4319') Mountains. This hike will have a twist over the classic loop in that we'll be descending via the spectacul... Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:
Take Exit 32 off of Route 93 for Lincoln. Continue east on Route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) for 10.7 miles. Parking for this trip is at the Hancock Roadside Overlook. This is just beyond the hairpin curve in the road. The parking lot will be on the southwest side of the road. Look for a gray Hyundai Elantra.
For GPS Users: Hancock Overlook on the Kancamagus Highway (44.040728,-71.523467). To obtain custom directions, copy and paste the GPS coordinates directly into Google Maps.
On Saturday, June 9th, I arrived at the trailhead at just before 8AM. I had checked the website and there were no late sign-ups as I drove through Lincoln, so I was ready to start early. This was a good thing as the parking lot was already fun. It was a beautiful morning with a slight chill, but with blue skies. I got ready and headed out.
At 8AM I started out on the Hancock Notch Trail. This trail had a very slight grade and followed the North Fork of the Hancock Brook. This was easy going and I turned onto the Cedar Brook Trail by 8:35. Once on this trail the grade increased a bit, but was for the most part still a nice walk through the woods. Along this part of the hike there were a couple of areas of blowdowns, which had been cut. I reached the junction for the Hancock Loop Trail at just before 9AM. After a short distance, the trail became more aggressive in grade and this continued up to the base of the loop. I reached the junction for the north and south legs of the loop at 9:30. This was where the fun began. It had been years since, I climbed the south leg in a counterclock-wise direction and almost immediately, this was pretty steep...climbing most of the elevation in 0.5 mile. As I climbed higher up the trail, views into the Pemigewasset Wilderness opened up with good views of Owls Head, the Franconia Ridge and of Mt. Hancock. I made good time and reached the summit of South Hancock (4319') at 10AM. I immediately descended the short spur trail for the view. I was initially alone on the summit, but the views were great...Mts. Carrigain, Chocorua, Passaconaway, Whiteface and the Tripyramids were all in view. I chatted briefly with some other hikers who had arrived shortly after I had and then I continued around the loop after about 15 minutes.
I continued north along the loop and upon my descent there was a good view of Hancock and Lincoln/Lafayette from atop of a boulder along the trail. After reaching the col, it then began to climb Middle Hancock and another smaller sub-peak. By the time I reached the col just prior to Mt. Hancock, I began to reach large areas of blowdowns. These had been cut, but it was amazing to see how much damage was inflicted by last October's storm. I reached the summit of Mt. Hancock (4420') at 10:55AM and as the summit was mostly treed, I headed down the spur trail for the view. There were great views of the Osceolas and of South Hancock. There were a few other hikers here at the time, but it wasn't long before a larger Meet-up group arrived. One of the guys in that group was someone who Robert and I had hiked with back in March, when we did Galehead and the Twins...small world! We caught up a bit and after about a half-hour I continued on.
I headed back up to the summit and as there was an newly opened up area of blowdown, I headed north into the woods at that point. The woods were fairly easy to move through. It took approximately 50 minutes for me to reach the top of the Cedar Brook Slide. I started to descend the slide and was almost immediately treated to great views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and Mt. Hitchcock. After last year's storm, the slide was a little less stable as the rock and sediment moved with my steps. Still it wasn't difficult to descend. As I climbed halfway down, more prominent views of the Franconia Ridge and Owls Head also came into view before me. I reached the bottom of the slide at about 1PM (the slide actually continued to Cedar Brook, but it became narrower and with more debris here). I jumped out of the slide and into the woods. The woods were again easy to more through and by just before 1:30, I popped out onto the Cedar Brook Trail. I followed the trail south as it climbed up and through Hitchcock Notch. This was easy going. There were small areas of blowdown, but I was surprised that a trail that probably doesn't see alot of use was already cleared. I reached the edge of the Pemigewasset Wilderness at 2PM and in just another 15 minutes, I had made it back to the junction with the Hancock Loop Trail. I continued to follow the Cedar Brook Trail to the Hancock Notch Trail, which I reached at 2:30 and followed that trail back to the trailhead, where I returned by 3:15PM.
It was a beautiful day on the Hancocks. It was interesting to see the state of the trails and of course, the slide as well after last fall's storm. The bushwhack was not difficult and this route provided awesome views over the wilderness.
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HikerChris Jun 16, 2018 at 10:30 PM
Thank you for sharing! Great to see that you're doing well. I'm continuing my hikes, and going to Wales next week for their 15 mountains in Snowdonia National Park.
john1952 Jun 12, 2018 at 9:20 AM
Great pictures...makes me want to skip work and head North!!
Scorpione Jun 11, 2018 at 5:53 PM
Very nice pictures fully supporting your summary, Best, Luciano