Mount Washington Trail

Loop • 11.5 mi • 4400 ft

Mount Washington is the centerpiece of the Presidential Range and the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Although the summit can be reached by auto road and cog railway, it should not be taken lightly as a hike. Snow could fall on any day of the year. The highest wind speed ever recorded in the world was atop Mount Washington 231 miles per hour on April 12,1934. And the record high temperature on the summit is a cool 72 degrees, which means that even when it is a steamy 85 degrees in the valley, the summit is likely a chilly 55 degrees.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Gorham
Length: 11.5 total miles
Elevation Gain: 4,400 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Very Difficult
Duration: 8.5 hours
Season: Best spring through fall
Top Elevation: 6,288 feet
Other Uses: Dogs allowed
Local Contacts: Appalachian Mountain Club; White Mountain National Forest - Androscoggin District
Local Maps: USGS Stairs Mountain, Mount Washington
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Recent Trail Reviews


This hike is a first class experience available for us hiker junkies on the East Coast. Starting from visitor center on Rt. 16 (be prepared for some road side parking on a nice sunny day, the hiker’s parking lot fills up fast) the trail is wide and steep, and full of fellow hikers. However, by taking the longer, more scenic route via Boots Spur Mt., we left most of the crowds behind. Which of course didn’t mean that the trail was any easier: high stepping, crawling on all four, and negotiating every step up and over boulders five hours later, we reached the intersection with the main ravine trail. The summit was within eyesight, yet still so far. The final half mile required some technical skills in boulder hopping and scrambling. Would not recommend this trail for dogs (even though we met several of them) - falling rocks with sharp edges, no running water, and very steep conditions makes this trail dangerous for any dog. Returning via the main ravine trail took us only about 2 hrs. but in a way it was more brutal than the hike up. Descending the ravine felt like going down a ladder, except there was nothing to hold on to. Overall, definite A++.

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