Itinerary Twin Mountain, Cog Railway and Hiking

Written by: Carol Carlson Cunningham
Bio: Owner of Carlson’s Lodge and longtime Twin Mountain resident

The mountain tops beckon you to spend a day or two in southern Coos. As you enter the Twin Mountain-Bretton Woods area, the peak of Mount Washington is visible from every direction inviting you to take a trip to the top of the highest peak east of the Rockies where the views can be fabulous or the wind and weather tremendous. Either way it’s an experience not to be missed tomorrow morning.

First Evening: Check in to Carlson’s Lodge or other family lodging in the region, take a dip in the pool, and get ready for your adventure.

CogPanoramaMorning: Enjoy breakfast at the Cog while you watch the trains get ready for the day before taking a ride to the top in the Cog Railway, America’s oldest cog. Take your picture at the 6,288 top of Mount Washington sign, visit the Mount Washington Observatory Museum, and walk through the Tip Top House, the first hotel atop Mount Washington, built right into the mountain.

Lunch: After your breathtaking trip down the mountain, continue to the Bretton Woods Ski Area and Adventure Center and have lunch at Latitude 44 thanks to the free chair lift ride to the restaurant on the slopes of Bretton Woods. A trail to the top of West Mountain is a short trip up gladed ski trails to a great view of Zealand Valley. For the energetic and adventurous perhaps a day hike on Mount Washington instead may be in order or a one way hike and the Cog Railway for the other. Last minute gear can be gathered at Drummond’s Mountain Shop across from the entrance to the Base Road.

AMCHighland CenterAdditional hiking options: Great ways to get into the woods for the less experienced abound in southern Coos.  Lower Ammonoosuc Falls is easily accessed from the parking lot diagonally across from Zealand Road. Just a half mile in on the roadbed of the old Route 302 is the lovely Lower Falls of the Ammonoosuc River, great for viewing, fishing, or swimming. Further East at the top of Crawford Notch is the old train depot where you can park to access Mount Willard, a 1 ¼  mile hike to a spectacular view of Crawford Notch. Across Route 302 is the trail to Elephant’s Head, a ½ mile hike with a rewarding view as well. As you drive through the Notch, you can stop to view the Silver and Flume Cascades before reaching Willey House, a favorite stop for snacks and supplies. Just a couple of miles below is the trailhead to Arethusa Falls, the largest falls in NH. An hour hike in brings you to an amazing falls with rocks for climbing and places for splashing in the water.

Afternoon/Evening: After your day of travels and hiking, return to your lodging, freshen up and head for dinner at Northern Embers on Route 3 just north of the intersection. Enjoy their fish and chips, stew, or another of their many fares. Relax and rejuvenate for tomorrow’s adventures.

Santascoaster 13bDay 2: After a full night’s sleep head to Munroe’s on Route 3, for a country breakfast before stopping by the kiosk at the top of the hill behind the Cog cars at the corner. Peruse the kiosk for the history of our lovely town and Mount Washington Hotel and view brochures of the activities that surround you. For the young and young at heart, spend the day enjoying Santa’s Village, one of the nations’ best theme parks, located just 10 miles northeast in Jefferson, or visit one of the trails you missed yesterday before heading north to investigate the ATV thrills of “Ride the Wilds.”