What to do in Mt Washington State Park

Mt. Washington State Park, a 59-acre parcel perched on the summit of White Mountain National Forest, is surrounded by 750,000 woodland acres. Clear days offer opportunities to see as far away as 130 miles to Vermont, New York, Quebec, Massachusetts, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean. A modern summit building houses a cafeteria, restrooms, gift shops, the Mt. Washington Observatory and its museum. Tip Top Historic Site is adjacent to the park.

Mt. Washington State Park is located off SR 16 at Pinkham Notch and SR 302 north of Crawford Notch. A summit gift shop, museum, observatory and cafeteria are enjoyed by visiting hikers and those enjoying an auto tour of the 52 area park. A museum and historic site fee of $2.00 per adult and $1.00 per child ages 6 - 12 is collected during the normal operating hours of 8 am - 8 p.m., early May to early October (weather permitting). Mount Washington State Park sits on the summit of the Northeast's highest peak offering views into Vermont, New York, Quebec, Massachusetts, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean on clear days.

Recreation
In addition to the hiking trails, a modern summit building houses a cafeteria, restrooms, gift shops, the Mt. Washington Observatory and its museum. The state historic site, TipTop House, is located adjacent to the summit building and is open to visitors when volunteer staff is available.

Location
Mt. Washington State Park may be accessed via two routes:
The eight-mile long Mt. Washington Auto Road was completed in 1861 as a carriage road to replace rugged hiking and bridle paths. Carriages drawn by teams of eight horses carried visitors and their huge trunks of clothing to the summit. Visitors today may drive their own cars to the summit or ride in one of the many vans that provide guided tours for visitors. The auto road, which is the site of annual foot, bicycle and automobile races, begins in Gorham on Route 16 on the east side of the mountain.

The Mt. Washington Cog Railway, the first rack-and-pinion mountain-climbing cog railway, made its initial run to the summit in 1869. The three-mile route remains one of the steepest railway tracks in the world. The cog railway base station is located off Route 302 near Bretton Woods on the west flank of the mountain. Both the cog railway and auto road are privately owned and operated.

Climate
Winter can be cold with average temperatures ranging around 19 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold temperatures humidity bring heavy, water-laden snow to all parts of the state. Spring begins in mid-March and lasts through May. This time of the year is referred to as mud season in the mountains. The sugar is flowing early in the season and wild flowers bloom toward the end of it. Summer is the busiest season of the year for the tourism industry. This is an excellent time to travel, mountain roads are open and most of the mud has dried. Average summer temperatures range around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall brings the leaf lookers to see the spectacular colors of the deciduous trees. Expect to see bus loads of people enjoying the crisp fall New England weather.

Address
c/o NH Division of Parks & Recreation
P.O. Box 1856, 172 Pembroke Rd
Concord, NH 03302

Phone: 603-466-3347

Fax: 603-271-2629

  • Mt Washington State Park Travel Q&A

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