Explore 2016 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2016 Map
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Wow!! Highly recommended!! You should know a few things before tackling this one...

1.) the Loop is 4.4 miles. It took us 5 hours with stopping several times and eating lunch at one of the peaks.

2.) this was moderate and sometimes difficult; scaling rocks, climbing down steep ledges, very steep inclines

3.) gorgeous, breathtaking views almost the entire loop

4.) not for those who are afraid of heights or afraid or unable to climb up or down steep inclines. The way down Welch can be difficult on the knees.

5.) START AT DICKEY and end with Welch. Go to the right at the trailhead sign, not straight, and that will bring you to Dickey Mountain first which is essentially going counterclockwise. This recommendation was included in someone’s review on AllTrails and it was a great suggestion!! The other way could be dangerous.

perfectly moderate with a few rock scrambles - ~3 hours
go counter-clockwise to avoid steep descents on rock faces.

Really beautiful.

Great views for a good portion of the trail. Compared to most trails in New England, this trail offers a longer section out of the forest with good views. We hiked on Labour Day weekend, and the trail was packed.

hiking
4 days ago

Nice, pretty uneventful hike. Went up South first, which is a nice leg workout after having a very easy start. Plenty of places to step and hold onto on the way up. Not much to look at from top of South, so we kept going. Fast and easy connection over to North and we had a snack on the overlook ledge with some fantastic views. Heading down from north was very steep and loose, however it was not difficult as there were plenty of handholds and trees strangely in just the right spots. Slowly levels out then there’s a dip, a water crossing and back uphill to close up the loop. Took us 4.5 hours with a 15 minute lunch break.

Such a fun and manageable hike! Definitely recommend going up the blue an down the yellow, because the blue gets a little steep at the top! Such gorgeous views at the summit!!

Great trail. Got to the trailhead at 9am - it wasn't too busy, but I still had company on the trail the whole time. Made for great conversation. Views were amazing. Went counterclockwise, as others recommended.

You do have to pay $5 for parking at the trailhead. There may or may not be trail stewards present, but they don't have a cash box, so be sure to have money ready.

Fun run into the loop intersection. Fun run out. It’s the white mountains so expect roots and rocks. Up north mtn was steep but good footing. Down south mtn was a bit sketchy with loose scree. The view points were close to each summit and gave nice long views. Fun trail run.

Beautiful views from the top!!! Climb was OK, not too difficult and not too exciting. We did it VERY slowly - 4hrs (instead of what it should have taken 2hrs) total with 1.5hr of rest on the top and in between as one of us had injured ankle the day before on the other trail. Lots of people on the trail, but it didn't bother us, mostly young people, one group were likely professional dancers who once reached to the top played music and danced. That was kind of cool.

easy trail. my dog loved it

Very easy ascent with no scrambles and a few good lookouts along the way. Bring a jacket! Bald summit = cold and windy. I went early on a Thursday morning and there were a ridiculous amount of people heading up as i went down, so this isnt really a good place to go escape crowds, but the views were unreal, so it was worth it. It took me 4.5 hrs including 15 mins at the top and a few breaks at the other views.

Beautiful View

hiking
8 days ago

Plan on rewarding yourself after this trail, because the Hancock’s offer none. The long flat first section tests your ability to not trip over tree roots- the steep 1/2 mile(s) will challenge your leg strength and stability, and there are no views at the top. These have been ✔️’d off the list.

I can see why they call her the gentile giant. Very gradual elevation gain, with not a lot of scrambling, and a decent amount of above tree-line hiking. Pretty cool summit with 360 degree views on a clear day..

What a delightful hike that doesn’t try to kill you yet keeps it interesting. However, Challenging portion was the ascent / descent. Went south as suggested, and am glad about the choice though both were rough. Not sure there’s a clear best option? Steep, 1/2 mile up, and then on the way down just tons of loose rocks everywhere. Shout out to the trees lining the trail that literally saved my butt.

This trail was really beautiful. We stopped many times to admire the surroundings. I see what people mean by starting counter clockwise. There was a lot of climbing smooth, steep rock that would have been very scary going down on. It did start raining while we were coming down. This made things slippery, so use caution if you’re ascending in these conditions. We didn’t have much of a view because it was so foggy but will definitely have to try this again on a clear day.

hiking
11 days ago

This trail is well trodden and, with one exception near the junction of cedar brook trail and the Hancock loop trail, easy to follow. I hiked it in 5 hours 20 minutes. The trails are blazed yellow but just before Cedar Brook meets the Hancock Loop, you have to hike up the stream bed and there are no blazes for a stretch. I hiked up the North peak first and down the South and was happy with this choice. I definitely recommend hiking it in the fall as water crossings would be tough in the spring snowmelt. Trail was dry for me but would be tough in a wet day. Overall the views were limited. It’s number 40 and 41 for me so I had to do them but overall just meh for 10 miles.

Excellent loop hike, but heed all the warnings regarding going counterclockwise, and do not go at all if it is wet. The views are excellent- I especially like looking back at Welsh to see what you accomplished.

Hiked this in early may. There was still snow, but it was warm (70s by afternoon). There had been a rainstorm the night before, causing the rocky ascent to be pure ice after the first mile. It was amazing at the top, though.

Serious bang for your buck on this one. It's difficult for a "moderate" hike - don't underestimate, and listen when they say to go counterclockwise (take a right at the first fork), and you'll be fine. Took a little under 4 hours and we stopped to admire the views quite a few times, and for a while. We got there a little after 08:00 and had the mountain pretty much to ourselves.

very fun trail with great views. Crowded, but then again, the best ones are.

we did the blue trail up, yellow down in about 2 hours including lunch at the top. It was a great hike with beautiful views and my dogs are now exhausted.

trail running
12 days ago

The Greely Pond in & out was steep and brutal but overall a rewarding trek. The first mile is flat but that quickly changes to a progressively more difficult quad grinder as the trail separates at the first fork. From the split, you will hike up approx. 1.5 miles of HARD, relentless elevation gain that yields to a more moderate traverse into Osceola and back. There are minimal views from E Osceola. Your hard work is rewarded once you summit Osceola, as you will be greeted with panoramic views into Waterville Valley. Take your time on the descent, as there are many loose rocks and gravel.

Dogs are allowed off leash here, but due to the substantial grade of the majority of this trail and rough scrambles, I would strongly recommend against bringing your 4 legged companion.

I lost a black diamond carbon fiber hiking pole on the trail (I think it had fallen out near Osceola's summit.) If anyone finds this please contact me at joe@highlinecapitalpartners.com

I will provide a finders fee. Thank you!

nature trips
12 days ago

Beautiful view! I can really recommend this one when trying to get an amazing look on the White mountains and New Hampshire. There is a 360° view point at the top. Definitely go counterclockwise otherwise not very fun. And don't recommend it when it's raining since it can get slippery very easy. Loved that trip!

Just an absolute joy of a hike on the first crisp day of the season. The ascent is broken up with wide, smooth, gently inclining sections, and the descent down the carriage road is easy, and lovely with some pretty views every now and then. The summit offers a wonderful 360 with lots of room to spread out and a couple of dry laid curved walls for shelter if the weather is bad. I took a runner friend who hasn’t hiked much, and round trip was about 4.5 hours including 15 minutes at the summit and another five minute break to let a group of Very Loud Talkers pass. Awesome trail for families!

Very hard hike w Donna

Beautiful mountain, heavily traveled, easy to follow trails. Took Gorge to summit carriage back.

I gave it a 4 because it was difficult to navigate the first few miles. I guess I'm out of shape, but I would call this trail more difficult than moderate. Very hard on the knees

Easy hike up with the dog. Very crowded on the holiday weekend. Excellent views.

Other than the already mentioned ‘rocky’ start and finish, I found this to be a very pleasant trail- the ascension rate to the summit was steady, had nothing tricky, and excellent views at the summit. Without going to East, I’d say the difficulty level is a low-level moderate.

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