Located in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire lies Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States. With a 6288 ft. summit/ (1,917 m), this impressive member of the Presidential Mountain Range offers spectacular long range views unparalleled in the rest of New England. In the fall, vibrant colors blanket the valley below making it a prime location for leaf peepers.* In the winter, adventurous skiers dare to make the vertical descent down Tuckerman’s Ravine. And year round, hikers from all over the world experience the beauty of this section of the Appalachian Trail.
Mount Washington is known for its dramatic and sudden weather shifts and there is an observatory at the top to study this phenomenon. The world’s highest wind gusts (231 miles per hour) were recorded here in 1934. It’s clear why hikers getting ready to climb Mount Everest favor training here. So, bring layers of clothing when you visit! Even with summer like temperatures at the base, there may be snow at the peak.
If a strenuous, vertical hike to the summit is not your thing, consider being shuttled up like we did-on the Cog Railway. The Cog Railway is a biodiesel locomotive that chugs its way to the top. The experience is exciting for kids since the views get more spectacular as the air thins. A 3 hour guided tour gives you a 45 minute ride to the summit (and back), time to check out the museum at the top, and insight into this historical marvel. In 1852, Sylvester Marsh was inspired to create an easier way for people to reach the summit after he got lost while trying to hike it. He commissioned the world’s first mountain climbing cog railway. Although it now runs on biodiesel instead of coal, the railway still retains its original functionality and charm.
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*Leaf peepers- people who drive frustratingly slow along the winding mountain roads with the sole purpose of basking in the beautiful colors of the New England autumn