Trip report

North and South Hancock Winter Hike

Snowshoeing DATE: 03/14/2020 - 03/14/2020

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

A climb up two 4,000 footers off the Kanc with one of the best butt-slide descents in the Whites!

The majority of the hike will be in and on the same trail [3.5 miles] before we get to the Hancock

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

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 Tacoma truck. .

Trip Report/Photos
Featured Photo

Mt. Hancock [4420] and South Hancock [4319] via the Hancock Notch Trail, Cedar Brook Trail and Hancock Loop Trail.

We hiked about 9.8 miles and climbed about 2,300 feet. [Let me say, cold weather hiking…it’s not like the easy planning we enjoy in summer, right?]

33d at the trailhead, very windy and cooler at the summits. Started out cloudy but during the ascent it got sunny with abundant clouds. There was lots of blue sky overhead, with just enough clouds to make the sky look interesting. The air was cold and fresh. What’s not to like about that?

Jon and I hit the trail after making a few wardrobe adjustments and waiting for a member who was a NO SHOW. Jon realized he forgot his MicroSpikes so the very steep ascent up North Hancock was going to be even more challenging for him! 

And so…the Hancocks aren’t hard, per se, although they do get very steep. There are a few water crossing, but nothing major, and they were mostly snow bridged.

We hiked in about two miles over terrain that is quite tame. These initial miles followed an old railbed. It was very straight, very wide, and an easy grade.

But when the ground pitches up, we have little to no recourse, hiking up or down trails that among the steepest in the Whites! We hiked up to the right of the Arrow Slide that we pictured. The trail shoots up very steeply with the grade relentless for most of the climb up North Peak.

The previous butt sliders made it difficult to find foot holds up North Hancock, so I cut them along the side of the trail for Jon. When we looked out at the views on the steep climb up, we also looked down the trail, and realized we were really, really looking straight down the trail!. It wasn’t just that right in front of us were the treetops of nearby trees, it was that a lot of those treetops were outright below us!

Although the summits are treed-in, there are outlooks on both ends that offer fine views! We had lunch at the North Hancock summit. The ridge over to South Hancock was mostly easier hiking over some really nice trail but one had to be careful not to have their eyes poked since the depth of snow had us walking up high and tightly through trees.

Going down South Hancock was mixture of hiking, falling and butt sliding! The trail had an icy hard pack coating so sliding down was super fast. 

MicroSpikes were the name of the game but Jon managed to do this without them. We got fine views of the Sandwich area peaks, Osceola, Carrigain, Franconias and Washington here and there. Let me say, however, that this is a great trip. We got altitude, some exertion, some fine views, and an awesome butt slide!

  There are 44 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

  • It was a cold day in the mountains - were is spring? I forgot my spikes but still managed to make it up - I saw a guy with full crampons and ice axe - he must've thought me mad -- I would have to agree - lol - 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: Strenuous

Boston, MA

United States

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