|Mt. Washington Auto Road, Pinkham Notch, N.H.|
(photo by Joe Gill, Boston Sports Then and Now)
Wildly popular with families looking for commanding scenic views -- and often ignored by acrophobics, poor drivers and people that want to stay at or near sea level -- the eight-mile long Mt. Washington Auto Road features a winding road that brings you and your car to the peak of Mt. Washington at 6,288 ft. That's the highest point in New Hampshire, as well as the New England six-state region. Along the way, you'll see spectacular mountains view everywhere you look, but it's getting to the top that's the real crowning glory for this road trip. The views are simply amazing everywhere and on a clear day, you can see hundreds of miles. There's an observation deck for added viewing benefit, service desk, gift shops, food courts, a museum, restrooms, and a post office.
It's a bit frightening in some spots up the road with no guard rails and huge drops, but if you can get past any fears, this road trip is certainly worth the rather steep price of admission. You can start your Mt. Washington Auto Road ride by stopping by the reception "toll" center at the base of Mt. Washington where they'll give you a "This Car Climbed Mt. Washington" bumper sticker and a guided tour CD. Please note that if you are not comfortable taking your own car, there is a van tour or you can take the Cog Railway (Base Rd., six miles off Route 302 in Bretton Woods) to the top. Additionally, please be aware that there are some days you will not be able to drive up Mt Washington as, after all, this is known as the place with the "World's Worst Weather." I remember hiking Mt. Washington several years ago and it was 80 degrees at the base and 36 at the peak. That was in August!
The Mt. Washington Auto Road is located on Rte 16 in Pinkham Notch. For weather conditions, rates, hours of operation and driving options, I'd recommend logging onto the Mt. Washington Auto Road web site.
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Thanks to Joe Gill, of Boston Sports Then and Now, for submitting this great photo!