Mount Washington Auto Road - traverse to above the clouds img
 Mount Washington Auto Road - traverse to above the clouds

What is the Number One Attraction in New Hampshire

January 11,2022 - By: D. Chandler - Number One Attraction

If you’re looking for the most epic and unique attraction in New Hampshire, we have all the information that you need.  We have analyzed all attractions available in New Hampshire. 

After reviewing NH attractions by historical popularity and relevance as well as the most popular modern-day attractions, we have found the number one attraction.  The number one attraction in New Hampshire is traveling the Mount Washington Auto Road to the summit of Mt. Washington.

This adventure cannot be matched by any other attraction located in New Hampshire.  This epic experience is an adventure that creates a unique reminiscence and stimulates the soul with breath-taking views at the heart of the White Mountains.

Mount Washington Auto Road - Travel to the Top of New England img
 Mount Washington Auto Road - Travel to the Top of New England

How long is the Mount Washington Auto Road?

This 7.6-mile trek up to the top of Mount Washington is one of the most stimulating experiences not only in New Hampshire but refutably New England.  Since 1861 the Mount Washington Auto Road has been thrilling visitors with its epic climb to 6288 feet above sea level.   

This trip provides panoramic views of the White Mountain National Forest, points throughout Northern New Hampshire and adjacent states.  On a clear day, you can see up to 120 miles and gaze as far away as Maine, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Canada and the Atlantic Coast.

Mount Washington Auto Road - The Most Adventurous Road Trip img
 Mount Washington Auto Road - The Most Adventurous Road Trip

Do you have to pay to drive up Mount Washington?

Yes, the Mount Washington Auto Road is a toll road.  It is maintained by the Mount Washington Auto Road organization year-round and open to the public seasonally.  There is a toll both at the foot of the auto road where you can pay the fee and get informational brochures about the road and its history.

Rates *Peak Rate Regular Rate
Car & Driver $45 $39
Motorcycle & Operator $25 $25
Adult Passenger $20 $14
Child Passenger (Ages 5-12) $9 $9
Child (Under 5) Free Free
*Peak rate is during 4th of July, Labor Day Weekend, Fall Foliage during Sept & Oct
**Vehicle Restrictions See Vehicle Restrictions
*** Access allowed weather permitting

 

Mount Washington Auto Road - Map Representation img
 Mount Washington Auto Road - Map Representation

Is the Mt Washington Auto Road open?

The Mount Washington Auto Road is generally open for drive-yourself tours from Memorial Day Weekend to the end of October weather permitting.  There are also special events during the season where drive-yourself tours are not available. 

Check Special Events

The auto road is maintained year-round but public access is limited to specific times.  Opening in 1861, the public has enjoyed this adventurous and unique experience.

If you do not want to drive yourself, they do offer a 3-hour guided discovery tour.  You will be assigned a dedicated tour guide which will drive you to the summit and offer an informational history and interesting facts about the auto road as well as Mount Washington itself.

How many cars have driven off Mt. Washington?

For over 160 years, thousands have travelled the Mount Washington Auto Road.  Annually, several thousands make the trip and the numbers continuously grow. 

In 1935 more than 3100 private cars used the auto road and over 12,800 during the 100th year anniversary in 1961.  Today, approximately 45,000 vehicles visit the summit and drive the legendary Mount Washington Auto Road every year.

Most drivers are very careful and attentive while driving the auto road and surprisingly there have been very few accidents or vehicles driving off the road uncontrollably.  There have been instances during the Mt. Washington Hillclimb event where race cars have gone off the Mt. Washington Auto Road but these were minor events without serious injury.

How fast have cars ever driven to the top of Mt. Washington?

During the 2021 Mt. Washington Hillclimb event Travis Pastrana conquered the record for driving the auto road by making it in 5 minutes and 28.67 seconds breaking his prior record of 5 minutes and 44.72 seconds.

The Mt. Washington Hillclimb event is one of the oldest motorsports events beginning back in 1904.  There have been steam-engine vehicles which raced to the top of the mountain and various other cars throughout the decades.  The first record set in 1904, at the event known as “Climb to the Clouds”, was set by Harry Harkness with a record time of 24 minutes and 37.6 seconds.  His trophy is on exhibit today at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.

How long does it take to drive the Mt Washington Auto Road?

Driving the 7.6-mile ascent to the Summit of Mt. Washington via the Mt. Washington Auto Road takes about 30 minutes without stopping.  The average speed is typically 15 miles per hour because the road is steep and narrow and without guard rails in places.  The average return time is 30-45 minutes.

 

Who owns the Mount Washington Auto Road?

The Mount Washington Auto Road is solely owned by the Mount Washington Summit Road Company (MWSRC).  They have owned and operated the auto road since 1906 although, the Mount Washington summit is owned by the State of New Hampshire.

Easement owners of the Mount Washington Summit include the Mount Washington Auto Road, the Cog Railway, Appalachian Mountain Club and US Forest Service.

In addition to the Mt. Washington Auto Road, MWSRC also owns the Glen House Hotel and Great Glen Trails located at the base area of the auto road on Route 16.

Is the Mount Washington Auto Road scary?

The Mount Washington Auto Road is not for novices.  It can be scary at times with its narrow portions and 12% grade.  There are also areas where there are no guardrails so this can be a bit daunting.  Though, a reasonably skilled drive can easily make the passage without any trouble.

If driving yourself seems overwhelming, they do offer guided tours.  So, you can still experience the wonderous views and epic trek to the top of Mount Washington with your dedicated tour guide.

Is the Mount Washington Auto Road Safe?

Yes, the Mount Washington Auto Road has an excellent safety record and they are very diligent with their road maintenance and facilities.  Drivers will have to stay alert and practice safety while on the auto road as distractions could be monumentally problematic.

Here is a link to the auto road’s safety guidelines: Safety Guidelines

Is Mt Washington Auto Road paved?

Most of the Mount Washington Auto Road is paved.  There is a portion of the auto road between the base area and summit that is not paved.  This area is hard-packed gravel and maintains a smooth surface.  The beginning of the auto road and the summit areas are paved as well.

Is Mt Washington Auto Road worth it?

I would say the Mt. Washington Auto Road is worth the money.  It is such a unique experience set in the heart of the White Mountains.  This attraction provokes a myriad of emotions such as anticipation, fearfulness, awe, serenity, amusement, inspiration and triumph. 

It is so much more than just a place to see….it’s more like an adventurous expedition that will give you stories to tell for years to come.

What is the best time to go for Mt Washington?

The best time to go to Mt. Washington would be during Fall Foliage in late Sept. or Oct.  During peak foliage you really get a special treat.  Not only to you get the epic views, but also a mosaic of colors for as far as the eye can see.  Or, June is a good time if you want to skip the crowds.

The Mount Washington Auto Road is a best attraction if you only had one to see and experience.  Join the thousands of explorers that have come before you and make the traverse to the top of New England with the Mount Washington Auto Road.



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