Skatutakee and Thumb are two small mountains with very good views in Hancock NH. This is a very pretty loop hike over both of them that is 4.9 miles with 900 feet of elevation gain. The hike starts and ends at the Harris Center for Conservation Education, which offers ample parking and, if it is open, a map.
The trails that make up the loop are: the Harriskat trail, 1.6 mi from the Harris Center to the summit of Mt. Skatutakee; the Thumbs Up trail, 1.3 miles from the summit of Skatutakee to the summit of Thumb, and the Thumbs Down trail 1.1 mi from the Thumbs Up trail back down to the Harriskat trail, .6 mi from the parking lot.
The trail head to the Harriskat trail is across the King's Highway (a dirt road!) and a little to the left from the Harris Center main building. It is blazed in white. After crossing a wet area on boulders you climb a little and at .6 miles you reach the junction with the Thumbs Down trail. Making the loop in a clockwise direction stay left and continue on the Harriskat trail as it climbs up to the ridge and then to the ledges where the views begin. The summit is at 1.6 mi. There are excellent views of Crotched Mountain, the Wapack range, and Monadnock.
To continue look for the Thumbs Up trail. Starting at the cairn follow the blue arrow back the way you came, and first the Harriskat trail leaves on your right, and then the Thumbs Up trail also departs on your right. There is a sign (usually) and the trail is marked with white triangles. Do not miss it as if you continue on the blue trail (the Cadot trail) you will not return to your car! The Thumbs Up trail is a lovely small connector trail that reaches the junction with the Thumbs Down trail at 1 mi. Turn left up the hill for .3 mi to reach the summit of Thumb, which also has good views.
Return to the junction by the same path and continue down the Thumbs Down trail to return to the Harriskat trail and the Harris Center. The Thumbs Down trail is blazed in yellow. Near the bottom the trail skirts Jack's pond and joins an old dirt road that crosses a couple of small streams. Be sure not to miss the right turn when the trail departs from this road for the last stretch before the junction with the Harriskat trail, .6 mi from the parking lot.
From Concord - take Route 89 North to Route 9 West and 202 towards Hillsboro. In Hillsboro take 202 South towards Peterborough. Follow 202 through Antrim. About 3 miles from Antrim take a right onto Route 137 into Hancock. Route 137 intersects Main Street in Hancock. Bear right on Main St.. Go straight down Main St. (this is also Route 123). Stay straight on Route 123 past the church and post office on your right. Follow Route 123 for 2-3 miles and bear left onto Hunt's Pond Road. Follow the directions below from Route 123 East and West.
From Keene - take Route 9 East past Munsonville. Bear right on Route 123 towards Hancock. Follow Route 123 about 5 miles to Hunt's Pond Road. Turn right on Hunt's Pond Road and follow the directions below from Route 123 East and West.
From Peterborough - take Route 202 North past ConVal High School towards Hancock. 4 miles beyond ConVal bear left onto Route 123 to Hancock. At the stop sign in Hancock bear left down Main St. Continue straight on Main St. (this is still Route 123) past the church and post office on your right. Follow Route 123 for 2 miles and bear left onto Hunt's Pond Road. Follow directions below.
From Route 123 East and West - take Hunt's Pond Road for about .4 mile and turn left onto King's Highway. Follow King's Highway for .7 mile and the Harris Center is on your left. There are green and white signs for the Center from the center of Hancock.
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Posted By: xtremedoghiker
- Wed Apr 23 13:41:38 EDT 2008
UpsideNice Loop Trail. Good for hiking in summer and snowshoeing in winter.
DownsideNot a thing -
CommentI love this hike! It's one of my favorites. There are otters in Jack's pond that usually come out to play if you are quiet for awhile! They're actually very nasty (however cute) animals. They kill beavers and take over their lodges. I saw a beaver that was on the loosing end of such an encounter - it wasn't pretty. They also are bipeds and can run up to 18 miles per hour on land. So they travel between bodies of water. Which is why you don't always see them - they may be in another pond.