Drive Mt. Washington Auto Road

Driving Time from Stonehurst Manor: 1 hr round trip
Total Trip Time: 3.5 – 4 hrs

If you’re seeking a truly memorable experience that takes your breath away from beauty and a bit through fright, this is the adventure you’ve been looking for!  Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft and the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River.

During summer, millions of people swarm into the White Mountains when the weather is fine—solid New England fare with cool nights and warm days. Perhaps some rain. Occasionally, hail. The mountains resemble anthills then, with crowds streaming up their steep trails.

Others ride a small cog railway to the summit or take the winding eight-mile road to the sky known at the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The drive through Pinkham Notch from North Conway  is like traveling through another world.  After traveling past area villages, you will begin climbing in elevation through the Notch to reach the base of the Auto Road with an opportunity of some great views and perhaps a moose sighting along the way. At the summit you’ll find a parking lot,  a snack bar, a museum, a weather observatory, and a large observation deck.

When you purchase your tickets, you will receive a CD that reviews that fascinating history of the mountain from when horse and buggy’s use to trek the road, to highlighting the dangers that many have faced by being unprepared for the force of nature that is Mt. Washington.

Prepare to spend about 30 minutes driving up at a very slow pace on the 8-mile windy road through forest that gradually changes into rocky landscape with gorgeous views of the White Mountains!

Because of the unpredictable nature of the weather, it’s important that you pack appropriately even if you plan on just going for the afternoon. For example, in April 1934, the observatory recorded a 231-mile-per-hour (372 kmh) wind that remains a world record for a land-based weather station. Some of the observatory buildings are secured to the summit with chains to keep them from blowing away. Temperatures atop the mountain can drop as low as -47 degrees Fahrenheit (-44 C)

To ensure you have a great time, here is our suggested packing list:

  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Warm coat
  • Sneakers
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera

 

Plan to spend at least an hour and a half at the top of the mountain exploring the cabin at the top of the mountain that used to be a hotel, taking in the views, and reading about the history of the mountain at the visitor’s center.

Discount vouchers for a drive-yourself excursion or guided Auto Road tour are available to guests of the Stonehurst Manor.  Be sure to stop at the Front Desk for yours. At the end of your day, take some time to settle into an Adirondack chair on the Manor’s front lawn for a great view of Mt. Washington and time to relive your breathtaking drive.  Definitely a must-do activity when visiting North Conway in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

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