The majesty and allure of Mount Washington hovers in the distance like a carrot on a rope. Being the tallest peak in the northeast, I know that getting to the summit of the mountain would offer amazing views for any family or visitor that would leave them saying “wow!”.
Of course, being able to Explore Mount Washington is a way for the entire family to enjoy and appreciate a list of different experiences and opportunities to take in the beautiful views, enjoy the wildlife and really get an experience and memorable journey to heights that offer supreme viewing angles of up to 5 states and into Canada!
A HISTORIC VOYAGE TO THE MOON
Topping the list is the premiere way to visit and experience Mount Washington: the Mount Washington Cog Railway. A three- hour roundtrip to the top and back on a beautiful steam or biodiesel train all the while having a guided narration? Count us in! And of course it’s entirely stress free and you can really take the vistas and surroundings in and not have to worry about anything else!
The Mount Washington Cog Railway starts at Marshfield Station in Bretton Woods. Enclosed in Marshfield Station is a free interactive museum about the history of the Mount Washington Cog Railway and a great gift shop offering the perfect souvenirs to remember the visit by even if you don’t ride the train!
The Mount Washington Cog Railway offers two types of locomotives to bring you to the summit of Mount Washington. Take a ride in the historic steam locomotives and feel like you’ve been teleported right back to the late 1800s! The smell of the coal and the chugging of the train will make anyone feel like they’re taking the first steps in exploring Mount Washington and being a part of living history!
Also available are the modern, eco-friendly and high-tech biodiesel locomotives. Offering a faster and cleaner way to the summit, these John Deere powered locomotives show that the future and the past can combine to create an experience that will dazzle everyone of all ages!
Voyaging to the summit of Mount Washington by train is an amazing experience in itself, taking approximately one hour to reach the summit. You’ll experience views and sights all along the way to the top, while a brakeman offers an educational and exciting narration to make sure you won’t miss a single thing!
Once you’re at the summit of Mount Washington you can enjoy the various exhibits and gift shops along with the fascinating weather and ecosystem that Mount Washington itself presents to its guests! There’s even a post office so you can send a postcard with a unique postmark showing it’s point of departure!
A FOREST STROLL
Another option is to ascend Mount Washington, via one of the hiking options available. The Jewell Trail and the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail offer sights to behold to explorers willing to ascend Mount Washington. Averaging around 6 hours one way, the trails wind and curve throughout beautiful lush forests and waterfalls graze the trails reminding one of a hidden jewel in the forest.
The hikes are extremely difficult and require full preparedness to make it up to the summit, but day trippers or folks who want to just take a quick jaunt up the trails to see some of the sights can have an everlasting impression and a thirst for more sights offered off the beaten path in the White Mountain National Forest! The Jewell Trail, which is the easier of the two, is a great entry trail for hiking Mount Washington and picks up right at the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Coming in at 5.1 miles, the beginning of the trail offers rest spots with scenic views, rushing streams of water and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife! But make sure you’re prepared!
If you’re a seasoned hiker looking for your next challenge, then Mount Washington is the perfect mountain for your New Hampshire voyages. The highest peak in the northeast, the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail is 4.5 miles to the summit with a fairly easy grade for the first 2 miles before ramping up. But the reward for this daunting hike is worth it with many waterfalls and scenic overlooks of the Presidential Mountain Range. A one-way trip is also offered to seasoned hikers who wish to either hike up or down the mountain and take a train ride right back to the parking lots. The best of both worlds!
Parking and trailheads are located on the east side of Mount Washington right at Marshfield Station at the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Before you enjoy your hike either up the Jewell or the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trails you can enjoy a nice breakfast bite at Peppersass Restaurant, get trail maps and essentials supplies at the Gift Shop or even enjoy the busy train operations. From there you can get right onto the two main hiking trails and start your exploration.
No matter which method you choose to Explore Mount Washington, you are guaranteed an experience of a lifetime. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”