Mount Washington Auto Road – An Adventure on 4 Wheels

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.

Mount Washington Auto Road seen from Mount Washington Auto Road
Mount Washington Auto Road seen from 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.

Mount Washington Auto Road
Mount Washington Auto Road

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.

Ski Area seen from Mount Washington
Ski Area seen from Mount Washington

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.

Tip Top House, Mount Washington
Tip Top House, Mount Washington, surrounded by clouds

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.

About Bram


Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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