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Mt Washington

Chicago, Illinois
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12 posts
9 reviews
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Mt Washington

A few questions.. My husband does not want to take my car as he thinks it will ruin my brakes and we still have to drive back to Chicago ;) so I am trying to decide if we should take the Cog or if we should take the guided van tour. Anyone have any suggestions? Have not seen many reviews on the guided tour. Thanks in advance!!

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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225 reviews
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1. Re: Mt Washington

I would choose the Cog Railway. I would also make certain that it's a good day first.

I've been up and down both routes on numerous occasions and of course I've climbed the mountain many times too. The history of both the auto road and the Cog Railway are both fascinating. Take time to see the historic artifacts and displays at the museum, whichever you choose. And if you have time, and get to the other side of the mountain (highly recommended) go to the museum at the other venue too.

Mt Washington is spectacular, but it becomes even more remarkable when you gain an appreciation for who has gone before you, and what kind of conditions they have endured.

Chicago, Illinois
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12 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Mt Washington

Thanks for you input!!! My only concern about waiting to see what the day is like is that we are going during beginning of October. So I am scAred they will get sold out and I'll be heart broken ;(

Baltimore, Maryland
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for North Conway
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54 reviews
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3. Re: Mt Washington

It is a little while since we had this question but if you search "cog or auto" in the box above you will find a full discussion on this. I don't know that the cog gets sold out or the vans. Most significant difference is that takes much longer on the cog. that is either its charm or boring depending on point of view. Both give limited time at top but get some extra with first van up in the morning.

Self drive and you can spend as long as you want. If you have good brakes, self drive is not a problem if you don't mind the drive. they do sell a lot of this car climbed mt. wash stickers. also should be using gears and not brakes anyway

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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4. Re: Mt Washington

The truth is, that if it's a bad day, you don't want to be on the mountain via any mode of transportation.

Nova Scotia
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1,392 posts
219 reviews
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5. Re: Mt Washington

Can't vouch for the railway or the guided tours but would like to offer my input. As neslaw mentioned, the train is a much longer ride up the mountain, 1 1/2 hrs I think with no bathrooms on board. The guided tour vans seem to drive fairly quickly up the mountain, and I would think have less chance of getting photos on the way up or down. We have driven the auto road several times without any problems. You do the drive with the vehicle in low gear the entire trip. At several locations there are pull off areas, where you can stop and cool the car down, especially if you are concerned about the breaks. These are also great opportunities for photo ops.

As mentioned, if you drive yourself, you can spend as much time as you like at the summit.

It is a wonderful spot to visit, but only if the weather cooperates. No sense spending the money if all you see is unrelenting fog or rain. Remember to dress warmly. The temp will be significantly cooler at the summit than at the base.

Baltimore, Maryland
Destination Expert
for North Conway
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12,055 posts
54 reviews
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6. Re: Mt Washington

Caveat. Look at the mountain webcam. Sometimes there is an under cast so skies are clear at summit even when poor visibility in valley. That is worth the trip.

Chicago, Illinois
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216 posts
14 reviews
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7. Re: Mt Washington

For what it's worth, I took the Cog Railway on 10/13/10. We didn't buy tickets in advance b/c I knew there was a chance the weather would be bad. When we got there, we had no problem getting tickets for the next train going up. It was a beautiful day, sunny, temps at the top in the mid to upper 30's & not very windy.

2 days later, a Nor'Easter came through & they got their first big snowstorm of the year. Temps at the top were 27 w/ a wind chill of 9. Gusts were 35-40mph w/ peak wind speeds of 90mph (which would have made that wind chill even lower!!). If we had planned to go on October 15 instead of 13, there's NO way I would have stopped there & gone up. If I had bought tickets in advance, I would have been out my money. And we only had 1 day to do Mt. Washington - there was no backup day!

My mom & dad were also there a couple years earlier. The first day they planned to go it was rainy & overcast, so they decided not to go. So, they decided to drive the Kancamagus Scenic Byway instead & were able to go up Mt. Washington the next day.

So, I would not suggest buying tickets in advance & I don't think they will sell out. You might have to wait an hour or 2 for the next available train if you do the Cog Railway. I can't comment on the van since we didn't do that. We personally decided that the Cog Railway was more of an "experience" than taking the van (and we were worried we might get car sick in a van!;).

Lincoln, NH
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10 reviews
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8. Re: Mt Washington

I think it is also worth mentioning that the auto road does not ruin brakes, nor do car go careening off the road. I think last time I responded to this question, I learned that there has not been a fatality on the auto road in a century, a claim that very few highways can make.

If your driver is not uncommonly afraid of heights, there is no problem with driving, and your brakes will be fine. So, don't base your decision on very unlikely damage to your car.

Baltimore, Maryland
Destination Expert
for North Conway
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9. Re: Mt Washington

Just for kicks here is the webcam website.

www.mountwashington.org/weather/cam/ravines/

If you look now, the pictures are very different depending which way you are turned. by the time you look at this an hour later, it will be different.

Chicago, Illinois
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12 posts
9 reviews
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10. Re: Mt Washington

Thank you all very much for your responses! Very much appreciated!! After reading what you all wrote, I would like to convince him to take our car, but if that does not work, we will not buy tickets ahead of time. Sounds like that could be a risky move, I would rather wait an hour or two and hope for the best!! ;)