Elevation Gain
2,220.00 ft (676.66 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
9.80 mi (15.77 km)
Warming hut
No
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The Hancock Loop Trail takes you over two of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers, Mount Hancock (4,420 feet) and South Hancock (4,319 feet), in just under 10 miles. While both summits are wooded, there are short trails to outlooks at each peak. The first 3.6 miles of the trail are relatively flat and easy. When you reach the loop around the two summits you will gain the majority of the elevation.

The trailhead is located at the hairpin turn along the Kancamagus Highway. Go down a short hill toward the end of the parking lot and cross the highway to begin the trail. You will follow the Hancock Notch Trail for 1.8 miles. At the junction with the Cedar Brook Trail, take a left. Continue for 0.7 miles on the Cedar Brook Trail until you meet the junction for the Hancock Loop Trail. Bear right on the Hancock Loop Trail for 1.1 miles until you reach the junction of the loop. From here you can follow the loop right to summit South Hancock (0.5 miles) or left to summit Hancock (0.7 miles). Regardless of which route you take to complete the loop, this is where you will really start gaining elevation, about 1,500 feet in 0.5 miles.

Following the loop to the right up to the summit of South Hancock is a steep, 0.5-mile strenuous climb. Upon reaching the summit there is no view but there is a short walk to an overlook. After enjoying the view, continue 1.4 miles on the Hancock Loop Trail to reach Mount Hancock. The hike along the ridgeline is relatively flat with a few small sections of up and down. After 1.4 miles you will reach the summit of Mount Hancock where, again, there is no view. However, there is another overlook that is a few hundred yards away and that provides a view of the surrounding mountains.

After taking in the views, begin the steep descent to return to the Hancock Loop junction. From here, follow the trails back to the parking lot.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Pros

Peak bagging, overlooks

Cons

Wooded summits

Pets allowed

Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)

Highest point

4,420.00 ft (1,347.22 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Wildlife
Big vistas
Family friendly

Typically multi-day

No

Groomed trail

No

Snowmobiles allowed

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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