I haven't stayed here, but I checked it out on Columbus Day weekend because it's one of the few campgrounds open year-round (plowed, unlike Lafayette Place, which is walk-in) in the White Mountains. Most of the reviews talk about the walk-in tent sites, but there's more to this campground that is located along the Kancamagus Highway just before the Lincoln Woods Visitors' Center.
If you're a tent camper and don't mind carrying your gear downhill to a site, drive straight ahead to a parking lot. A few of the sites (3 & 4) are accessible from the far end of the parking lot, but for most of them you'll head down the steps in the middle with sites in two levels branching out on each side. Sites are large, but close together and although you're in the woods, there's not much to separate you from your neighbors. Even sites 10-20 are directly on the water.
Sites 22-55 are suitable for RVs and tents. Those on the back side of the loop are close enough that you can hear the Pemi River running below. A few of the sites are pull-through. There are no hook-ups, but water available via spigots and flush toilets are available - except in winter. I'd recommend sites on the back side of the loop to provide some more distance from traffic noise. I chatted briefly with a host who remarked that sites on the western end of the loop have some cell phone coverage, unlike the rest of the campground.
If you stay here, you're only a few miles from Lincoln where you can pick up any necessary supplies. This end of the Kanc your nearest hiking options are Lincoln Woods and Greeley Pond for family friendly trails, or Lincoln Woods to head into the Pemi wilderness, including peaks in the Pemi loop and Owl's Head. The Hancocks are via a trail at the hairpin on the Kanc. Franconia Notch and its many hiking trails and the multi-use trail are a short drive away.
Bring cash or a check to pay your camping fee in the iron ranger. Fees cover the first vehicle; a second vehicle is an additional $5.
This would be one of few places I find acceptable to camp, that are near other people. I usually don't like camping with 20+ other people in one looped area. The sites here are pretty well spread out. Not ALL of them, but look around. We found what I would think is the best. The one we ended up at had stairs leading from the car down to our site. It was further away from the other sites and had the pretty much private stream running by it. The area we had for use was pretty huge, we had a giant tent 10-12 plus a pop up tent to put over the picnic table, and there was still a ton of room for the car, fire pit and general run around area for our dog. I never felt like we had to lock up everything we owned either. A short walk to the toilets from all sites. Bring a headlamp of course. TP is in the outhouses bring a spare hand sanitizer bottle to use after.
FYI there is a pretty awesome hike close by you can do. I mean you have to drive there but it wasn't far. It goes up to Mt Moosilauke. We ended up taking Beaver Brook Trail to the Cascades, checked out the shelter and headed to Moosilauke Summit. A crazy hike pretty much going up the side of a waterfall. The peak was 4,802ft. Worth it! I'd say an 8 mile trek from the car, up, and back. I included just a couple pictures to entice you since its not about the campsite! There are a TON of trails near this campsite, this would just be my favorite of the 6 or 7 we did.
Hancock Campground is one of 6 national forest campgrounds along the Kancamagus Highway. Campsites can't be reserved and the campground does fill up on the weekends. We were lucky to score a walk-in tent site on a Saturday in August, and while it did feel a bit like a tent city, we loved that there were no cars at the campsites. It made the tenting area feel more like a community. This is a busy campground, but lovely all the same.
We got site #19, which was one of the last sites available. It had a picnic table, fire pit, and bear box. There were awesome waterfront sites nearby, but they were taken, of course. Cost was reasonable - $22 per night. Pit toilets were near the parking area, but there was a real bathroom with a sink and a flush toilet in the car camping area. There is also a fabulous swimming hole. Clear, cold and deep just off the car camping area.
Hancock Campground is a five-minute drive from Lincoln, NH, and very close to awesome hiking trails in the White Mountain National Forest and Franconia Notch State Park.
It was my first time going to a first come, first served campground. I was a little nervous about not having a reservation since it was a nice weekend and it's so convenient to many great hiking spots.
We got there late morning, the check in directions were clear. We picked our spot, set up and paid. Done!
Loved that the plots weren't on top of each other and cheaper than other places. Facilities were clean. I can't wait to go back and try one of the riverfront sites.
Great for primitive camping. Beautiful area adjacent to the river. Set up a hammock on the shoreline and have a tasty beverage before bed. Sites can be close together.
Great place to set up camp to get some 4Ks in the whites. Some lovely spots by the water. Open year round!! I have stayed here many times, three times in the winter (it is so nice to have an open bathroom in the winter!) and a few times in the summer. Quiet, clean sites.
Campground Review: So I would like to start by saying that camping here was not the original plan. We had a backcountry trip that we sadly underprepared for (ran into about three feet of snow right at the beginning of the trail and finally decided to come back when either it's a little warmer or we're a little more prepared. Whatever comes first.)
So we trucked our old, three season boots back to the car and hit the dilemma of where to set up for the night. Luckily -- we were only about ten minutes from one of our favorite campgrounds in New Hampshire. Let me tell you why we like it so much.
First of all- it's first come first serve and only open to the tenting community. This weeds out most screaming children, humming generators, and loud TVs. It's also a pack in- you have to carry your stuff to whatever spot you choose. Generally it's not that much of a hike. We prefer to go as far away from the lot as possible for maximum seclusion, but that didn't happen for us this time around because of all the hardcore early spring campers.
The best part of this camping ground is its views. On a clear night, you can see a ton of stars encompassing around you- the only light pollution coming from you and your fellow campers fire. The river flows right through the campground and makes for some excellent ambiance. Five star for about 12 of the camp spots. The other ones have access to the river but are not directly on top of it.
There are only pit toilets, but there is potable water just at the top of the campground. The fee per night is 24- which it worth it in my opinion because of the spectacular surroundings.
If you want to be close to a ton of great hiking trails, right on the Kancamagus highway for pretty cheap- this is your spot. The friendly campers are just extra.
GRAND TRUNK REVIEW:
As an official Dyrt ranger, I get to test out some awesome gear. So now let's talk about this amazing hammock. The only problem I had with the thing was committing to a color. They've got color combos, patterns and even state flags, which is pretty cool. I went with the turquoise with the Bright orange Trunk straps- and I was extremely pleased with how brilliant the colors look together.
I was a little confused with picking out the tent because I've only ever had ones that come with pretty much everything- but the Grand Trunks are a little different. They come with two carabiners- and the Trunk Straps you can add on (and I would totally recommend this unless you can magaiver something yourself.) each strap can withstand 200 pounds. I got the open double hammock.
This hammock is more than likely intended for warm day use- the fabric is very breathable, which makes it a great choice for hanging out at the beach or at your camp after a nice day. But I wanted to test its limits a little further- so I decided I would spend the 30 degree New England night in the hammock to see how it held up.
Best night sleep of my life! I put a buffer blanket under my sleeping bag just for some extra protection from the cool air coming up, but me and my Dog Sadie slept soundly, warmly and comfortably in our big bright Grand Trunk hammock. Not to mention safely- those trunk straps are so secure! My friend has a four season sleeper hammock and had to go inside the car at 2:30 AM because she was too cold- and her hammock is MADE for that purpose! I was definitely proud of my gear- which is very important to me.
It's also pretty packable. The straps come in a different package- but There's enough room to consolidate into the hammocks main stuffer pouch (especially for backpacking like we were planning). If I had one criticism it would be that the hammock is kind of heavy compared to the ones I've had before. But they also don't have the hardware that Grand Trunk offers or the weight capacity- so I guess it's just a trade off. Totally fair.
All in all- I'm so happy to have been given the opportunity to test this company out and give it a 5 out of 5 ranger review. The hammock did great in below freezing weather, is easy to set up, jazzes my campsite right up and most importantly- My dog loves it. Will most certainly be recommending it to my Friends. Grab your own Hammock Here:
This campground is great! I recommend getting a site in the river side away from the street. Absolutely beautiful!
Nice first come first serve campground with a lot of separated sites. You'll probably want to be closer to the river (although people will get up early to fish, get on the river etc.) because the is traffic along the road (not awful, but still semi constant).
Mostly vault toilets and water pumps but they seem to be upgrading some of them to flush and running water.
We came at the end of October to try to hike Franconia Ridge (there ended up being a blizzard when we go to the top and we had to return in the warmer weather) and we stumbled upon this campground. We were the only ones in it and we picked the site right next to the rambling river. It was amazing. Only a pit toilet- but it's worth it for the beauty and seclusion. Would suggest coming off season- when we returned this summer-- it was packed out!