Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet high, is the tallest mountain in the northeastern part of the United States. The mountain is part of what is known as the Presidential Range, which is a section of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, with various mountains that are named for different presidents such as Franklin Pierce, Dwight Eisenhower and James Madison. Mount Washington is within the White Mountain National Forest and the mountain's summit is accessible by automobile, by foot and by a railway that brings visitors to the top.
The weather on Mount Washington's summit is among some of the most studied in the world and also among the worst. The highest wind speed ever recorded on this planet's surface occurred on Mount Washington on April 12th, 1934. The wind that day was a fierce 231 miles per hour. The weather on Mount Washington can seemingly change in a few minutes and over the years many hikers have been caught in terrible conditions and have suffered the consequences, which often include death. The average wind speed on the top is 35 miles per hour and the average temperature for a typical year is just 26 degrees Fahrenheit. The highest recorded temperature was 72 degrees with the lowest being minus 47 degrees. It is capable of snowing anytime of the year on Mount Washington's summit, which was proven in August of 1965 when the peak received several inches.
Up the mountain
The mountain features the first railway known as a cog railway--which uses a rack and pinion system--to ever be designed to ascend a mountain. This railway has had over five million tourists employ its services to reach the summit, with unfortunate accidents occurring in 1929 and 1967, the latter killing seven individuals. The railway is three miles long and it takes the train 65 minutes on average to reach the top and 40 minutes to make it back down. The tracks are built entirely on a trestle. The Mount Washington Auto Road allows visitors to the region to drive their vehicles to the summit. The road is a toll road and is 7.5 miles long. It was completed in 1861 and is now home to an annual road race each June as well as a bicycle climb in August.
Hiking up and down Mount Washington is one of the most popular activities undertaken by individuals that come to this part of New Hampshire. There are numerous trails for hiking but people are warned beforehand that any of these trails requires a person to be in good shape as they are all strenuous. Mount Washington is frequently called "the home of the world's worst weather" so anyone deciding to use one of the hiking trails needs to be completely aware of the conditions and the forecast. The trail along Tuckerman's Ravine, which begins on the southeastern side of Mount Washington, is an 8.5 mile round trip that takes the average person almost six and a half hours to complete. Among the other trails are the Boott Spur Trail, the Jewell Trail and the Lion's Head Trail, each with different round trip mileages. There is a small snack shop, a museum and an observatory on the summit of the mountain for hikers to explore when they achieve the top.