Cycling Kancamagus Pass West (Lincoln)
Ride 8.2 miles gaining 1,774’ at 4.1% average grade.
The first 6 miles of this climb are very mild at 3.4% average grade. The last 2.2 miles is the meat of the climb at 6.2% average grade. The steepest ¼ mile (8.3%) and ½ mile (8%) begin just below the pass.
“Another popular area ascent, the west side of scenic Kancamagus Pass is a bit longer and less steep overall compared to the east side but is also a scenic ascent that does carry a bit of traffic at times. From Hancock Campground head east over shallow grade which gradually steepens. Soon the road flows through multiple curves as you gain altitude. The last 1.5 miles are the steepest sustained climbing on the hill and the climb ends at the signed summit in pleasant surroundings.” (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in the Northeast, pg. 98.)
White Mountains Visitor Center, Lincoln, NH
Visit our White Mountains Fall Colors Climb Page
Kancamagus Pass is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire which are an extremely popular recreation area both during the summer and winter months. The White Mountains cover roughly a quarter of New Hampshire and have many great cycling climbs within its boundary.
We stayed in Lincoln for our White Mountains climb. Lincoln is a bustling yet charming all seasons hub for the White Mountains.
Kancamagus was the final chief of the Pennacook tribe which inhabited this area in the 17th century. Kancamagus means “Fearless One.”
Route 112 is popular for its fall foliage. The scenic byway has its own website - https://kancamagushighway.com/:
“The Kancamagus Highway is a 34.5 mile scenic drive along NH's Rt. 112 in Northern New Hampshire that is well known as one of the best Fall Foliage viewing areas in the country. The Kancamagus Highway is now designated an American Scenic Byway for its rich history, aesthetic beauty and culture.
The Kancamagus Scenic Byway takes you through a path cut through the White Mountain National Forest with breathtaking views of the White Mountains, the Swift River, Sabbaday Falls, Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge. The Kanc takes you to an elevation of just under 3,000 feet at its highest point at Kancamagus Pass on the flank of Mt. Kancamagus near Lincoln, NH.” more
Traffic and roadway conditions: Highway traffic is moderate along the climb. There is often no bike lane or shoulder so cyclists that are traffic averse should give this one a second thought. The roadway was in excellent condition as of September, 2020.