State Highpoints – New Hampshire - 6,288’ Mount Washington
New Hampshire’s highest peak and the 18th highest US state summit, 6,288-foot Mount Washington is located in north central New Hampshire in the White Mountains, approximately 25 miles south of Berlin, New Hampshire. With 6,153 feet of prominence, Mount Washington is the most prominent peak in both New Hampshire and the Eastern US. Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeast US, and it has a well deserved reputaion for bad weather. On April 12, 1934, the summit weather station recorded a record wind speed of 231 miles per hour. The summit winds exceed 75 mph on 104 days per year, and the average summit wind speed is 35 mph. Even if the weather is good at the bottom of the peak, go to the summit of this peak prepared for bad weather.
There are three ways to reach the summit of Mount Washington. One is to drive up the Mount Washington auto road. Another is to take the Cog Railway, and the third is to hike up. To reach the auto road from the north, drive to Gorham, New Hampshire, cross US 2, and go 7.8 miles south on New Hampshire 16 to the start of the auto road up Mount Washington. Turn right and pay the fee at the toll house. If you are approaching from the south, go to Glen New Hampshire near US 302, and then go 15.8 miles north on New Hampshire 16, turn left onto the start of the summit road, and pay the fee at the toll house. The auto road to the summit is 8 miles long and gains 4,725 feet. Weather permitting, the summit road is open from mid May to late October, and the hours are from 7:30 am to 6 pm. The hours are shorter in early and late season. To reach the start of the Cog Railway from the north, take exit 40 from I-93, and go 10.9 miles on US 302 to Twin Mountain, New Hampshire. If you are approaching from the south, take Exit 35 from I-93, and go 10.0 miles northeast on US 3 to reach Twin Mountain. From Twin Mountain, go 4.4 miles east on US 302 to Base Road, and follow that road for 6.0 miles to the railway depot. If you choose to hike up Mount Washington, the most popular trail is the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. To reach the trailhead for this trail, go 5 miles north on US 302/New Hampshire 16 from North Conway. When US 302 turns west, contunue 12 miles on Route 16 to Pinkham Notch Camp on your left, where there is ample parking. For the hike, walk 2.3 miles west on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, turn right onto the Lion Head Trail, and hike 1.6 miles uphill until you reach the Tuckerman Ravine Trail again, and follow this trail for 0.4 mile north to the summit. The vertical gain for this hike is 4,260 feet, so be prepared. The actual highpoint is marked with a sign that is about 15 yards south of the summit house. Some hikers accept the challenge of climbing Mount Washington in the winter, but this challenge must be done in the rare stretches of good weather.