North and South Hancock - Trip Report

Trail Distance: 9.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1247'
Terrain Rating: Average
Hike In: 8:12AM
Hike Out: 3:06PM

TrailheadHancock Overlook Parking Area on the Kancamagus Highway (Rt 112) in the White Mountains. The parking area is easy to find, as it's located on a hairpin turn. Parking is a $3 fee.

From the Hancock Overlooking Parking Area, you have to cross the Kanc to begin the trail. Start on the Hancock Notch Trail and follow it for 1.8 miles. The terrain is relatively easy with gentle grade.

Turn left at the junction towards the Hancock Loop Trail and continue for 0.7 miles until you reach another junction with the Cedar Brook Trail. There are five stream crossings in this section of the hike. The stream crossings can be difficult if the water levels are high, but the day we went, they were quite enjoyable! 


From here, continue 1.1 miles. The trail gets much steeper and rockier (although still relatively average for the Whites) at this point. Expect some scrambling. You’ve now reached the mini loop of the Hancocks. Follow the trail sign for Hancock Mountain (4420’) and continue left for 0.7 miles. At the summit of Hancock, continue on the Hancock Loop Trail for 1.4 miles until you reach the South Hancock Mountain (4319’) summit.

South Hancock has the better view, so continue on there for lunch! It can be quite windy though so don’t forget your extra layers. The North and South Hancock Hike is a good option for beginner/intermediate hikers, or those looking for a more relaxed day.

Gear Specs:

  • 2L of water
  • 1 KIND granola bar, 1 ClifBar, 1 premade massive sandwich to feed a small army
  • LL Bean Hiking Shoes, Hiking Socks
  • Hiking pants, non-cotton t shirt, light fleece, windbreaker for the windy summit
  • Standard daypack
  • Extra clothes packed away: hiking socks, extra fleece, hat
  • Emergency Gear: Map & GPS, Headlamp, reduced First-Aid Kit, Swiss Army Knife