In summer, more than a quarter million people visit Mount Washington by car, train, or foot, but during winter, it’s the home of world’s worst weather, housing one of America’s biggest observation centers at it’s summit to track the erratic meteorology.
Averaging just 6 degrees Fahrenheit with 44 mph gusts of winds and getting over 40 inches of snow a month, winter on Mount Washington is not for the faint of heart. If that doesn’t scare you off, for 76 years, it also held the world record for the highest wind gust directly measured on the Earth's surface, a whopping 231 miles per hour.
Basically, it’s the American Everest. Or the North Pole…in New Hampshire.
What You Can Do There
You may be surprised to learn that Mount Washington was actually one of the very first tourist destinations in the nation and home to the oldest mountain-hiking trail in the United States, the Crawford Trail. Today, crossing the summit is part of the Appalachian Trail and is a recognized national landmark for Soaring, or Glider flying, thanks to the incredible high winds. Another major draw is the opportunity for late spring skiing and crazy 45-degree slopes that are severely prone to avalanches, a major draw for thrill seekers.
If you want to experience the adventure yourself, a number of hosted winter overnight trips and climbing expeditions (both day trips and longer) are available with designated guides. Only the most advanced mountaineers are encouraged to try reach the summit on their own. A less extreme way to reach the peak is via Snowcat. Or, you can wait until summer. Their most famous event, Seek the Peak, is a charity hike up the mountain in support of the Observation Station. You can take any of the routes up and enjoy an after party to celebrate.
If you’re wondering if it’s worth it, the stunning views that reach all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adirondack Mountains should be your answer.