Rising 6,288 feet (1,916 meters) toward the sky, Mount Washington is the highest mountain in New England. It is also one of the world’s most dangerous, even lethal, mountains. It is infamous for its extremely bad and quickly changing weather. It is, for example, the place where the second-highest wind speed ever was recorded. Additionally, in winter, the Mount Washington summit is one of the coldest places on the planet. These two extreme weather conditions are due to the fact that the jet stream drops down from its high and freezing altitudes right above the mountain.
Of course, these unique features make it a hugely popular attraction. People who don’t want to spend an entire day hiking or who can’t afford the Mount Washington Cog Railway (tickets are $68 for adults), can opt to tackle the mountain by rental car or motorbike on the Mount Washington Auto Road.
Driving the Mount Washington Auto Road
Opened from mid-May to mid-October, the Mount Washington Auto Road is one of the main tourist attractions in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It’s a pretty steep drive, though, with sheer drops on the roadside. This is not recommended for people who have a fear of heights.
The road begins at the toll house, where you are required to pay $28 per a car and driver and an additional $8 per extra adult. It’s a pretty magnificent drive. There are plenty of places to stop, enjoy the views and let your brakes cool down. Definitely make sure to stop on the way down to give your brakes a break—they’ll need it.
While the views on the way up and down are always spectacular, there is no guarantee whatsoever that you will see anything from the top. The summit of Mount Washington is covered in clouds on approximately 300 days per year. Therefore, you should consider yourself fortunate if you can see something at all.
That’s not to say that the drive isn’t worth it, though. It absolutely is. There are plenty of great viewpoints on the way and in the rare occasion that there is visibility at the summit, it should be seen as a lucky bonus.