Hanak sits in the valley of the Hanak River with high mountains on all sides, Ilgar to the north being the highest at 2915m. The weather, like all districts of Ardahan, is very, very cold and dry especially on the mountainsides where the cold weather begins in September, the snow will not melt until May, avalanches are common and the road to Posof is frequently closed. In summers it rains.
Until the 18th century, these mountains were covered in forest, but now they are bare hillsides apart from one or two patches of pine forest. The local economy depends on grazing cattle.