Mt. Washington Auto Road

  • 01 of 08

    The Road to the Sky

    Mt Washington Auto Road - Road to the Sky
    ••• Mt. Washington Auto Road is a New England Tradition and a Thrilling Drive As you ascend the eight-mile Mt. Washington Auto Road to the summit of New England's highest peak, the views will quite simply snatch your breath away. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    Don't Miss This Nerve-Wracking Yet Awe-Inspiring Drive to the Sky

    The Mt. Washington Auto Road in Gorham, New Hampshire, is America's oldest man-made attraction. There were no cars--and no cameras--when the first tourists traveled this route to the summit of New England's loftiest mountain peak. The road--an engineering feat--debuted in 1861, and it's been a popular outing since horse-drawn carriages followed its course.

    So, it never crossed my mind that driving the Mt. Washington Auto Road might be: scary. My husband's knuckles were white even before we spotted a car in a ditch, its axles bent. It's an intimidating drive, and even New Hampshire State Police Dispatcher Bouton tells me: "Personally, I would never drive my own vehicle up." Yet, Troop F only responds to one or two "really minor" mishaps on the Auto Road each year, she assures: "It wouldn't be open if it was unsafe."

    Timid drivers have options: guided van tours (including...MORE SnowCoach tours in the winter months) or the Cog Railway. But the Mt. Washington Auto Road is an unforgettable experience worthy of your bucket list.

    2015 Mt. Washington Auto Road Special Events

    A popular attraction since 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is a bit intimidating, but this awe-inspiring drive is unforgettable and worthwhile.

    Mt. Washington Auto Road Quick Fact: When the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, as it was originally known, opened in 1861, Abraham Lincoln was president of a nation composed of 34 states.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    A Rare Mishap

    Mt Washington Auto Road - Accident Photo
    ••• Mt. Washington Auto Road is a New England Tradition and a Thrilling Drive Driving the Mt. Washington Auto Road is not for the faint-hearted. The road is steep, narrow, winding. Your knuckles will be white. Yet, Dispatcher Bouton of the New Hampshire State Police says accidents, like the one we observed, are "not common at all.". © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    A popular attraction since 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is a bit intimidating, but this awe-inspiring drive is unforgettable and worthwhile.

    Mt. Washington Auto Road Tip: I wish I had spoken with Dispatcher Bouton at New Hampshire State Police Troop F before our drive up Mt. Washington in 2006. She was very candid with me when I called troop headquarters in 2011, as the Auto Road opened for its 150th season.

    "If you're not prepared for the steep climb, it is kind of ominous," she cautioned of the drive up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Even though accidents are rare, and state police only have to respond to incidents "one or two times per year," I would echo her suggestion that a guided van tour with an experienced driver beats the drive-yourself option. You may not get to slap a famous "This Car Climbed Mt. Washington" bumper sticker on your car, but, as Bouton said, "You get to see more of the view than if you drove up yourself."

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    We Made It!

    Photo of Car on top of Mount Washington New Hampshire
    ••• Mt. Washington Auto Road is a New England Tradition and a Thrilling Drive After witnessing another traveler's mishap on the mountain, the remainder of our ascent was even more nerve-wracking. But, my trusty Saturn got us safely to the top. Before your visit, review the vehicle requirements and limits at the Auto Road Web site. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    A popular attraction since 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is a bit intimidating, but this awe-inspiring drive is unforgettable and worthwhile.

    Mt. Washington Auto Road Quick Fact: The Auto Road is open daily from early May through sometime in October, weather permitting. In the winter, SnowCoaches make the ascent.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    The Rewards Are Vast

    Mount Washington Summit View - Mt Washington Auto Road
    ••• Mt. Washington Auto Road is a New England Tradition and a Thrilling Drive Once you've reached the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington, you'll appreciate the reason why thousands make the heart-thumping drive up the Mt. Washington Auto Road each year. Brisk, fresh air and stunning, panoramic views are their reward. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    A popular attraction since 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is a bit intimidating, but this awe-inspiring drive is unforgettable and worthwhile.

    Mt. Washington Auto Road Tip: Mt. Washington has a reputation for being home to the world's worst weather, and for more than 70 years, it held the record for the fastest, fiercest wind that ever blew: 231 miles per hour. A summer day with clear blue skies is the very best time for a trip on the Auto Road, but even when it's sweltering on the ground, you should be prepared for substantially cooler temperatures at the summit.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Got Brakes?

    Mt Washington Auto Road Picture - Descending Mount Washington NH
    ••• Mt. Washington Auto Road is a New England Tradition and a Thrilling Drive Driving up Mt. Washington, your biggest fear will be sticking to the road and not plummeting over a sheer cliff. When it's time to make your descent, you'll be saying silent prayers on behalf of your brakes. Reconsider the trek if your car's not tip-top. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    A popular attraction since 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is a bit intimidating, but this awe-inspiring drive is unforgettable and worthwhile.

    Mt. Washington Auto Road Quick Fact: Admission to the privately owned and operated auto road includes an audio tour on CD (or cassette, if you're old school). You can listen to a preview of the tour online.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Why Are We Stopping?

    View from Mt Washington Auto Road of New Hampshire Presidential Range
    ••• Mt. Washington Auto Road is a New England Tradition and a Thrilling Drive As we made our way down the Mt. Washington Auto Road, we were surprised to see cars stopped and passengers walking about. Were they pausing to appreciate this majestic view of New Hampshire's Presidential Range?. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    A popular attraction since 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is a bit intimidating, but this awe-inspiring drive is unforgettable and worthwhile.

    Mt. Washington Auto Road Quick Fact: The grade along the Auto Road averages 12 percent, with a steep 22 percent grade in the road's final 50 yards.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    A Scenic Traffic Jam

    Traffic on Mt Washington Auto Road - Photo
    ••• Mt. Washington Auto Road is a New England Tradition and a Thrilling Drive As it turned out, a tow truck had finally made the climb to assist the disabled vehicle we'd seen on the drive up the Mt. Washington Auto Road, and we sat for quite some time waiting for the accident to be cleared. Tough to complain with a view like this!. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    A popular attraction since 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is a bit intimidating, but this awe-inspiring drive is unforgettable and worthwhile.

    Mt. Washington Auto Road Quick Fact: New Hampshire State Police Troop F handles trouble calls on the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Most calls are related to vehicle mechanical problems. If you need to reach Troop F, call 603-846-3333.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Once in a Lifetime

    Driving Mt Washington Auto Road - Once in a Lifetime New England Experience
    ••• Mt. Washington Auto Road is a New England Tradition and a Thrilling Drive Driving the Mt. Washington Auto Road is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences New England travelers should put on their bucket list. Although the drive was tense, I'm glad we made the trip. Of course, I was behind the camera, not behind the wheel. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    A popular attraction since 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is a bit intimidating, but this awe-inspiring drive is unforgettable and worthwhile.

    Mt. Washington Auto Road Rates: As of 2015, the fee to drive up Mt. Washington is $28 for the car and driver, $8 for each additional adult and $6 for children ages 5 to 12. Children under age 5 are free. The fee is $16 for a motorcycle and operator, $8 for a motorcycle passenger.