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“Get Up in the Clouds in NH ~ And Let Them Drive You Up!”

Mount Washington Auto Road
Ranked #1 of 15 things to do in Gorham
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Since 1861, a spectacular, steep eight-mile scenic road that leads to the top of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. Drive yourself or take a 2 hour guided tour in company vans. Mt. Washington State Park and the Mt Washington Observatory are at the summit.
Reviewed October 20, 2012

This summer, we decided to "swing through" VT and NH on our way to Maine, as we usually take the normal route up 495 over the Big Green Bridge. Well, this detour was amazing. Mount Washington is an awesome slice of nature, where they have vistas beyond compare, and weather conditions you don't want to mess with. We arrived in late July, 2012, and on a day that began with rain and cloud cover. As we made our way from MA to NH, the skies cleared considerably, and we purchased tickets for the guided ride up the mountain at 3 pm. Our driver was Steve, and he was a great liason for the mountain. It was just my two kids and I, so we had a truly personalized tour. It takes 30 min. to reach the summit, and you get 30 min. to walk around up there before heading back down. The tickets are a little costly, but worth it if you want to take pictures like I did. And the whole wear and tear on your vehicle is saved by letting them drive you up the narrow, twisting roads with no guardrails! You'd pay the vehicle fee and the per person fee anyway, so consider that when you go.
Anyway - the day we were there, it was strange, because there was almost no wind. It is usually VERY windy up there. We still needed light jackets, and were glad we'd worn them. Being from Virginia, we don't have use for jackets in summer much. :) You can visit the original lodgings up there - the Tip Top House. It is constructed of stone walls over 3-feet thick. There's also a museum at the observatory, and it is pretty interesting. There's a cafe and little market up there, as well as a gift shop/gear place. You'll see AT hikers, which is cool as well. I enjoyed seeing the plant/tree life change as we increased altitude. A fall or winter trip up there would be amazing. We could see for miles and miles, and enjoyed the Presidentials. Next time, perhaps the Cog Railway will be our mode of transportation? There are hummingbirds that come to the feeder at the base lodge in the summer. We saw 5-6 of them, and they were fun to watch.

1  Thank Maine2VaForest_VA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"auto road"
in 246 reviews
"guided tour"
in 84 reviews
"afraid of heights"
in 91 reviews
"low gear"
in 69 reviews
"tree line"
in 49 reviews
"narrow road"
in 37 reviews
"drop offs"
in 21 reviews
"great drive"
in 24 reviews
"cog railway"
in 87 reviews
"white knuckle"
in 30 reviews
"coming down"
in 33 reviews
"audio cd"
in 25 reviews
"gift shop"
in 62 reviews
"bring a jacket"
in 24 reviews
"weather conditions"
in 20 reviews
"cloud cover"
in 19 reviews
"sunny day"
in 26 reviews
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1,138 - 1,142 of 1,420 reviews

Reviewed October 18, 2012

My husband and I love Mount Washington. We've hiked it, we've taken the Cog, and so we finally decided to try out the Auto Road. We really did it initially because we wanted to get to Lowe's Bald Spot quickly (it's a beautiful hike but takes a bit, and we were feeling quite lazy) - the weather was gorgeous, and we wanted to soak in the views of the northern Presis. Lowe's Bald Spot is a quick climb from just around milepost 2 on the road, and we then continued to about milepost 4, where there is a parking lot and some rocks that offer an absolutely breathtaking view of Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and the Great Gulf Wilderness, along with some other fun landmarks. Oh, and views of the valley, too...can't forget that. After spending literally hours on the rocks there, we decided to continue on. We went a bit further - not even a mile - and the road changed from paved to dirt. It was fairly narrow, but the bigger problem was the thick mud. Our car was losing traction, and while the drop off the side wouldn't likely be fatal or anything, it would still really suck to crash the car. We white-knuckled it to a turnaround, and turn around we did - and white-knuckled it again until we hit the pavement. Neither my husband nor I scare easily, but we're also not stupid, and that whole thing just felt reckless.

I'd feel safer hiking, plus it's more fun that way. ;) We'll take the Road again when we want some peace by the northern Presis without the work, but we likely will not use it to summit Washington. Beautiful views though, and even halfway, it's worth the cost!

1  Thank SurfingDoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2012

I drove up the Auto Road last month with my friend from Munich, Germany. It is an exciting , scenic and safe way to get to the summit of New England's tallest peak and one of my favorites in the world.

1  Thank bradwhipple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2012

One of the reasons for visiting New Hampshire was to go to the top of Mount Washington and I am so glad I did it. My mom and I took one of the "stages" up the mountain (there is no way I would have been able to drive it with my fear of heights). Our driver was just amazing, very knowledgeable, friendly and of course a GREAT DRIVER! It was a rainy day but I still enjoyed it. Being at the top of the mountain was such a thrill! My only complaint was not having enough time at the top of the mountain to explore ( you are only given 30 minutes and then you must return to the stage) I am still glad I did this and would love to do it again.
And everyone at the base of the mountain was great also, especially Sindy!

1  Thank Stacey D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 16, 2012

We would have given the route 5 stars, but hopefully that will be for next time, as the weather has started to change and you can now only drive up to the tree line rather than the top,which was what we really wanted. Still it was lots of fun with lovely views and a little snow.

1  Thank BJN3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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