Let's Hike Cedar Brook Trail and the Hancocks

Hancock Notch Trail and the Hancock's.

Hike the Hancock Notch Trail for a novice hike or tag North and South Hancock Mountains. Two more official winter 4000 ft summits for your list.

This hike starts out on a flat, easy walk on the Hancock Notch, Cedar Brook, & Hancock Loop Trails to the base of the range, then a moderate climb for .7 mile up to the ridge.

There are spectacular views from both North & South peaks and along the Ridge.

The Hancock Loop Trail is the only trail to Mount Hancock, a 4000-footer at the edge of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
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It starts with old woods roads to the loop junction, climbs steeply to the N or S peak depending on which fork you took, then follows a wandering path along the ridge to the other peak before descending back to the loop junction. The route up the N peak is rougher and steeper so we plan to go up that way and down the slightly-better route from the S peak.

Two moderate 4000 footers with astounding views to add to your accomplishments.

This round trip loop is 9.8 miles, 7.2 of which are relatively flat, only 2,650 feet of elevation gain, in 7.0 hours AMC booktime.  Slower hikers will add time for more breaks and a slower pace.

Winter conditions are still in effect. Dress in synthetic layers and pack a change of clothing should your clothes get wet. Pack water and food for 9 hours. microspikes will be helpful for icy conditions.
Where:Hancock Outlook, Lincoln , NH 03251

Directions take I-93 Exit 32 at Lincoln and go E on NH Route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) about 11 miles to Hancock Notch Trail. There is a notable hairpin turn on the highway and the parking lot is right after the turn.

Second hike option: A second light hike group can be formed for a intermediate level hike of the beautiful Hancock Notch Trail.Find more about Weather in Lincoln, NH
Click for weather forecast
This hike is suitable for dry or snowy conditions.


We can enjoy after hike festivities at the Common Man Restaurant pub in Lincoln NH. Super fireplace to warm up by!

Detailed itinerary:

From the Cedar Brook Trail, the Hancock Loop Trail ascends at a gradual grade, soon crossing the North Fork yet again. Beyond the crossing it climbs R away from the brook, then runs parallel well above. At 1.1 miles, the loop junction is reached.
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To climb the main (N) peak first, turn L and angle down toward the brook which is crossed at 1.2 miles, a short distance upstream from the base of the Arrow Slide. This brook may be dry in summer. The trail now begins a steep climb of about a thousand feet in half a mile, over rocks and roots with loose gravel, before swinging L toward the summit. At 1.8 miles, a junction is reached at a small ledge outcrop considered the official summit.

* A spur path L leads 50 yards to a ledge with a 180-degree outlook S from which almost no manmade structures can be seen, although this is the side of the peak away from the Pemigewasset Wilderness

The main trail continues ahead to the N nearly level for 50 yards, then swings E and SE, with little elevation loss. Finally it reaches the SE ridge and descends more steeply before reaching a flattish col. Next it climbs over a minor knoll, then passes near the summit of the middle peak at 2.8 miles. The trail now briefly follows near the Pemigewasset-Saco divide, descending quickly to a col and then climbing a narrow ridge to the summit of the S peak at 3.2 miles.

* A spur path L leads 20 yards to an E outlook
* A herd path straight ahead leads to some unofficial camping spots

The main trail turns sharply R and descends steeply to the loop junction at 3.7 miles. Turn L to return to the Cedar Brook Trail and NH Route 112.

ALL CANCELLATIONS OR CHANGES TO RSVP'S SHOULD BE MADE BY 6 PM THE NIGHT BEFORE THE HIKE. We rely of the RSVP's to get a true headcount and the hikers rely on the leaders to communicate.

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Hiker Responsibility Code

You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared:

1. With knowledge and gear. Become self reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.

2. To leave your plans. Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you will return and your emergency plans.

3. To stay together. When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group. Pace your hike to the slowest person.

4. To turn back. Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike. The mountains will be there another day.

5. For emergencies. Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. Don’t assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself

# Be knowledgeable of what to prepare for.
# Contact the event organizer about any concerns and event challenges.
# Every participant needs to come fully prepared.
# Disclose any medical conditions before the event.
# pack to survive the event and for "what if".

  • Your response/signing up for a hike certifies that you have read, understand, and agree with our Disclaimer. Participation in an event is certifying that you are fit and able to accomplish an event. All hikers will hike at their own pace. By attending events, you and your guests agree to the terms above. Any unqualified participant can be denied participation in the group.

Hike soon and hike safe!



Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wonderful, wonderful photos!!! I wanted to do this but couldn't due to schedule conflicts!

    March 11, 2013

  • Karen Washington 4.

    So jealous. I would have gladly fought off fatigue for that view.

    March 11, 2013

  • Scott M

    Great day on the hill.........if there is a better time to hike than right now, I must have missed it. Slainte!

    March 11, 2013

  • Dennis P

    About a 9.5 on a 10 scale, hard to match the conditions!

    March 11, 2013

  • Leon

    Family business on Sunday. See you next time. Bring some good photos! Leon

    March 7, 2013

    • Diane M.

      you missed a good one, Leon.

      March 11, 2013

  • Diane M.

    Perfect winter day and lots of fun

    March 11, 2013

  • Barbara

    Thanks for a really great hike, Diane! Enjoyed meeting all of you!! Loved the challenge of the steep uphill and loved butt sledding down the steep downhill even more!

    March 10, 2013

  • Mike 5.

    Is anyone carpooling from concord. Kathy just backed out and i am now alone

    March 9, 2013

    • Barbara

      Hi Mike, I was planning on driving right to the trailhead, but I am happy to stop in Concord. However, I am not planning on attending the festivities after the hike... need to get back home. Does that work for you? If so, what time would you like to meet in Concord?

      March 9, 2013

  • Marie (.

    Diane, would like to carpool from exit 23 & I will drive if you like!

    March 8, 2013

    • Diane M.

      I'm carpooling with Dan and Scott 6:15 New London. that puts us at X23 at 7am yes- I'm going to call you

      March 9, 2013

  • Craig S.

    Recent events preclude my attending. Have fun!

    March 9, 2013

  • Craig S.

    Diane, does the carpool stop at the Blackwater or at a drive-through to pick up breakfast?

    March 6, 2013

    • Diane M.

      are you coming?? you didnt RSVP

      March 9, 2013

  • Dennis P

    With the recent snow, are we all bringing snowshoes?

    March 7, 2013

  • Diane M.

    carpool from New London Park and ride 6:15AM

    March 4, 2013

    • Barbara

      Don't we turn the clock ahead... I think it's Spring forward!

      March 6, 2013

    • Scott M

      Yikes--thanks for the reminder about the time change. Completely forgot about it!

      March 6, 2013

  • Karen Washington 4.

    Looks great, but I will be "hiking" in VT (read going with nonhiker friends). Besides with my bad winter hiking track record, I should wait until Spring :(

    March 4, 2013

  • Craig S.

    Us lower-level swamp Yankees may be interested in this little walk. I will look it up in my WMG. More later.

    March 4, 2013

    • Diane M.

      Craig you are welcome to lead the low level easy paced hike...just promise you don't give them too much scotch :)

      March 4, 2013

    • Karen Washington 4.

      Scotch? When are you hiking next?

      March 4, 2013

  • Barbara

    Hi Diane - What is the mileage and time expectation for this hike? Also, is it possible to put a link in to where we need to meet for the trailhead? Thanks!

    March 4, 2013

    • Diane M.

      Hi Barbara, the details have been updated and include the necessary information. the hairpin turn is very obvious. Go past the Lincoln woods information center (last bathroom on hwy) and past the hancock campground. Cell service is limited out here.

      March 4, 2013

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