Trip report

North and South Hancock Hike

Hiking/Walk DATE: 01/05/2013 - 01/05/2013

Trip/Event Location: Lincoln, NH

Trip Leader(s): Gandalf , JDNnh

Max # People: 15

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous

We will climb two 4,000 footers off the Kancamagus Highway! The majority of the hike will be in and on the same trail [3.5 miles] before we get to the Hancock Loop Trail. Hopefully the North Folk

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

According to Google Maps the trailhead is about 140 miles from Boston and it should take about 2 hours 30 minutes to drive there.

The Hancock Overlook parking area is on New Hampshire Route 112 [Kancamagus Highway] about 10.5 miles east of Interstate 93, exit 32. It's on the south side of the road, immediately east of the hairpin right turn where traffic is supposed to slow down to 20 miles per hour, and a sign warns of parking 600 feet. We will be driving a blue Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Carpooling is encouraged so you are responsible for coordinating your own rides. Use the comments section below to communicate with other members who may also be looking to share a ride. If you do share a ride be sure to share the expenses ~ suggested donations per person are $20 from Boston, MA; $15 from Salem/Nashua, NH; and $10 from Concord, NH.


Trip Report/Photos
Featured Photo

GO members Gary, Jon and Mike climbed North and South Hancock on Saturday, two 4,000 footers on the southern border of the Pemigewasset Wilderness that are often hiked together. The two peaks are linked by adjoining ridge, so it's possible to bag both with only one major climb and one very steep descent. Still, it's a pretty long approach hike to get to the base of the peaks with 7 water crossings [bridged in winter].

We hiked at first under overcast skies, snow flurries and a temperature of 31 degrees. We were dressed accordingly; and had extra layers since it would get colder higher up. We also got a very reasonable start, meeting at 9:30am. This 10 mile loop hike took us about 7 hours to complete.

Trail conditions were very good on Saturday and we we able to bareboot it up to the base of North Hancock before starting the steep ascent. All of the stream crossings on the approach hike were either bridged or rock hoppable [there are like 7]; there was still running water visible on most crossings. We put on our microspikes for the steep ascent up North Hancock. Jon and I took our ice axe for stability. The loop intersection was very windy.

Once we started our ascent, the wind died down and we found ourselves in the sunshine. The snow on the ascent was fluffy and made easier by using the steps that were kicked in the snow.

The top of North Hancock had very little wind. We had lunch at the overlook and headed across the ridge toward South Hancock. It is a very beautiful section of trail; and very well protected from a westerly wind.

We arrived at a very windy South Hancock at 2:15pm to take in the views, have a snack, and planned our descent down the very steep face of South Hancock, going for bare boots, but keeping our microspikes on.

After about 50 yards we sat down on the trail and started sliding on our butts, effectively glissading down, braking with our feet. We slid over 1,000 feet down on our butts! It was a blast.

After that, we high-tailed it back to our cars at the trailhead.

Great hike and great effort. And butt-sliding...few things in life are more joyful! Winter hiking 4,000 footers in New England borders on mountaineering. Living in the Northeast makes for some excitingly different styles of hiking thanks to winter.

  There are 58 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)

What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event

  • This hike sums up why I love winter. Trails become soft & level. Diamond sharp the distant views become. Deep woods exude a stillness which allows for reflection. It's a mesmorizing experience. Laughter sings thru the trees - Tune into the wonder. - JDNnh

Members That Participated


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate

Cheyenne, WY

United States

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