Mount Washington

New Hampshire

Mount Washington
The text below is copied from SummitPost. Any usefulness is courtesy of the SummitPost community. Any inaccuracies are the result of my edits.

Mount Washington is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, north of North Carolina, and south of Ellesmere Island in North America. It is also one of most popular hiking, backcountry skiing, alpine climbing and ice climbing destinations in New England. Affectionately known as "the Rock Pile," it is located in northern New Hampshire just west of NH SR-16 between North Conway (to the south) and Gorham. It is also known as the "Home of the World's Worst Weather" and the world record holder for the fastest measured wind speed observed by man--231 mph on April 12, 1934. Today Mount Washington is known as the tallest peak in the Presidential Range which includes the 5 highest peaks in New England, but early on the entire massif was known as Mount Washington, a 30 mile long mountain running east to west. It wasn't until the 19th century that the surrounding peaks of Adams, Jefferson, Madison, etc. were named. A cog railway and road are also in operation on this mountain which hosts an observatory, musuem, and snack shop on the summit (so don't forget to bring your wallet).

Getting There

PINKHAM NOTCH VISITOR CENTER is the most popular starting point for the climb of Washington. Use this for the Tuckerman Ravine, Huntington Ravine, Lion Head, and Boot Spur Trails. It is located roughly halfway between Gorham and North Conway on Route 16. The visitor center at the Notch is well-defined and marked. To reach the auto road, go to the Glen House a few miles north of the Notch. The cog railroad can be reached by driving in on Mt. Clinton Road from Bretton Woods to the Marshfield Station - signs can be found near the Mt. Washington Hotel.

Recommended Route

Walk to the rock pile from the summit parking lot.

Mount Washington has a plethora of hiking, ice, and ski routes. There are a few rock routes as well. The hiking routes ascend the mountain from all directions while ice climbing is generally concentrated in Huntington Ravine with some routes in Tuckerman Ravine and the Great Gulf.

Red Tape

Like many US National Forests, the White Mountain National Forest now requires a parking pass to park at many of its trailheads. A pass is required if you park in the National Forest including the overflow lots at Pinkham Notch. A pass is not required if you are parking in the Pinkham Notch parking lot proper. There are a variety of pass options ranging from a $20 annual pass to a $3 daily pass.


You can find established campsites at the Hermit Lake Shelters, the AMC Lakes of the Clouds Hut (5012'), and the Harvard Cabin. The Lakes of the Clouds Hut, located 1 mile southwest of Tuckerman Junction high on the mountain, is a full service hut that is open from June 1 to Sept. 15. During the winter months if you are caught in a jam you should be able to find emergency shelter here in a small "refuge room" that is kept open to provide protection against the wind and blowing snow. The Harvard Cabin, located about 2.1 miles from Pinkham Notch in Huntington Ravine, by contrast, is open only during the winter from December 1 to March 31. The fees are $15/night inside and $7.50/night outside. The cabin sleeps about 16 (but more can usually squeeze in if neccessary), has a gas stove for cooking, a wood stove for heat, as well as pots and other utensils. There's a caretaker at the cabin who collects fees and keeps the place going. Visitors that wish to stay at the Harvard Cabin must register by signing the logbook located in the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center basement. Sign-up is on a first come, first served basis. Pets are not permitted overnight.