As the tallest mountain in the northeast – and visually the most impressive east of the Mississippi – reaching the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire is a bucket list item for many avid outdoor adventurers and casual tourists alike. Mount Washington, New Hampshire stands at an impressive 6,288 feet above sea level, soaring above the rest of the Presidential Range.
However, the hike to the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire has also earned a reputation of being a long and arduous one – a trek saved only for the fittest and most well-prepared, experienced hikers among us. It’s definitely not a hike the casual day trip hiker should embark upon. Luckily, there are a couple of other great ways to reach the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, and to take in the breathtaking views of the White Mountains below.
Seasonally, we urge you to take a scenic drive up Mount Washington Auto Road, which takes you right to the top. Or, for a slightly more exciting trip, hop aboard the Cog Railway, one of the leading attractions in New Hampshire. Either way you go, a sense of accomplishment and gorgeous views await you at the top. When you’re done, the quiet comfort of our Bed and Breakfast in New Hampshire will be waiting for you!
Our New Hampshire Inn is a short drive from the Cog Mountain Railway and many other top attractions in the White Mountains, including Franconia Notch State Park and the Flume Gorge. Our Bed and Breakfast in New Hampshire offers guests the perfect home away from home with luxurious and spacious accommodations, seasoned hospitality, and an exquisite restaurant on-site. Book your room today.
Mount Washington, New Hampshire
It doesn’t matter how you get to the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. It’s an impressive feat, and there’s something special about standing at the tallest point in the northeastern United States. It’s especially fantastic on a clear day. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Presidential Range in the White Mountains and up to 130 miles away into Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Quebec, and the Atlantic Ocean.
When you reach the top, you’ll find yourself in Mount Washington State Park, a small 60-acre subsection of the surrounding 750,000 acres of the White Mountains National Forest. The Sherman Adams Visitor Center is at the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, and houses a cafeteria, restrooms, gift shops, the Mount Washington Observatory, and its museum. The Visitor’s Center will open for the season in May.
Also at the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire is the Tip Top House Historic Site, which is adjacent to the existing Summit House, which was the only hotel serving the peak at the time. The original structure was built in 1853 as the second stone house on the summit and served as a secondary hotel to serve the thriving tourism industry. The materials to build the house were hauled up the mountain via horseback over a 9-mile trek. It was renovated to its current form in 1986.
If you’re interested in heading to the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, there are three primary ways to get here: hiking, driving up the Mount Washington Auto Road, and riding the Cog Railway. We’ll discuss the first two below before going into more detail on the famous Mount Washington Cog Railway.
Hiking to Mount Washington
There are several hiking trails that lead to the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, including a part of the Appalachian Trail. Hiking is by far the most strenuous way to reach this famed mountain summit, but it’s also arguably perhaps the most beautiful, and it’s a coveted journey within the hiking community. It ranks as one of the most challenging hikes in the country, earning everyone who tries certain bragging rights.
The most commonly used trail to reach the Mount Washington Summit is the Tuckerman Ravine/Lion Head Trails – a total journey of around 7.4 miles round trip. Other great trails include the Jewell Trail and the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. The Jewell Trail is the easiest of the two, though both will take around 5 hours.
Driving the Mount Washington Auto Road
You can also drive to the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire on the Mount Washington Auto Road. The road is only open to the public during certain times of the year when it’s clear of snow, usually starting in May. If you’d rather sit back and admire the scenery, you can also take a guided tour to the top without worrying about focusing on the twists and turns of this winding mountain road.
The Mount Washington Auto Road is only 7.6 miles long, but even given the winding and steep nature of the road, you expect it to take you at least 30 minutes, if not more like 45 minutes in each direction. The average grade on this road is about 12%. If you want to enjoy this scenery in winter, we can also highly recommend a ride on the winter coach up this same route.
Summit Mount Washington on the Cog Railway
Though we love hearing about guests who take on the task of hiking to the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, and think the Auto Road is a gorgeous and worthwhile drive, there’s another way to get to the top of this famed peak, and it might just be the most interesting! We recommend riding the Mount Washington Cog Railway for a truly unique ride to the top. It’s one of the most popular things to do in the White Mountains, and it’s easy to see why.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway is the oldest and second steepest incline railway in the country and has been delighting passengers with its journey for over 150 years. The average grade for the ride up Mount Washington, New Hampshire is around 25%, but there are some extremely steep sections with inclines as high as 38%. It’s an awe-inspiring journey and one that, at least at times, seems as though it should be physically impossible.
Due to the steep nature of the climb, the journey is a little slower than the drive up Mount Washington Auto Road. At just over an hour, though, it’s still faster (and infinitely more enjoyable) than hiking! Once you’ve been delivered to the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, you have about an hour to take in the views, explore the observatory and museum, and enjoy the experience of being at the tallest point in the northeast. We recommend getting your tickets for the Mount Washington Cog Railway in advance, though, as trains can sometimes get sold out during the peak travel season.
Heading to the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire truly is just one of the many great things you’ll be able to enjoy while staying with us at our top-rated Bed and Breakfast in New Hampshire. We look forward to sharing this magnificent part of the world with you this year. Book your room today!