Mount Washington Trail

Gorham, New Hampshire 03593

Mount Washington Trail

Mount Washington Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"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."

More Mount Washington Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best of the Appalachian Trail Day Hikes (Menasha Ridge Press)
Leonard M. Adkins & Victoria and Frank Logue
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"There are only 2.5 miles of the A.T. on this outing, but it is the shortest loop hike you can take to Mount Washington and is possibly the least steep way to reach the mountain’s summit. At 6,288 feet, Mount Washington is New England’s highest peak. The views from its summit are in proportion to the grandeur of the mountain. The 360° vista takes in the Green Mountains of Vermont to the west, the ridgelines along the United States– Canada border to the north, the Mahoosuc Mountains of Maine to the east, and, on clear days, the Atlantic Ocean more than 70 miles to the south. This hike should not be undertaken lightly. It is an arduous journey with a steep climb and a traverse of more than 4 miles above tree line across fields of felsenmeer— huge rocks and boulders that have been broken into jagged pieces by the freezing and thawing of water in their joints. Mount Washington is purported to have the worst weather in the world (trail signs warn about this as you climb). Days that appear sunny and warm when you start the hike can quickly turn cold, wet, and windy. Always carry enough clothing to protect you in these conditions."
Best Loop Hikes: New Hampshire's White Mountains to the Maine Coast (The Mountaineers Books)
Jeffrey Romano
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"The highest mountain in New England and the location where some of the world’s most severe weather has been recorded, Mount Washington can punish the ill-prepared as well as dazzle those who come in respect and awe. With large, steep-walled basins carved by glaciers now receded, windswept ridges barren of all but the heartiest of plants, and breathtaking views that can stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Province of Québec, the 6288-foot mountain is a massive pile of rocks with an abundant supply of trails to entertain those lured to its slopes. While the hike will pound your knees and sap your energy, choose this adventure when the weather is right and you are guaranteed a day to remember for the rest of your life."
100 Classic Hikes in New England (The Mountaineers Books)
Jeffrey Romano
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"Named in honor of a man who was “first in peace, first in war, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” Mount Washington’s 6288-foot summit is appropriately first on the list of the highest peaks in New England. Ascended by Darby Field in 1642, 147 years before George was inaugurated as the nation’s president, today the mountain is a popular destination for hikers, auto road drivers, and cog railway riders. Covered by buildings and weather-tracking devices, the oft-swarmed summit can be chaotic; however, the challenging journey to the top of New Hampshire is also awash in raw natural scenery and limitless beauty. While some hikers before you have died from ill-preparedness and nasty storms, choose this hike with care for a glorious day in the White Mountains."

Mount Washington Trail Trip Reports

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We reached the Mount Washington summit via the Jewell and Gulfside trails. The trail isn't well marked at some points and there are some water crossing so be prepared. Also rocky in some spots. The views at the summit are incredible and this is a good challenging hike that any experienced hiker should enjoy. The only thing odd about this hike is all the work to get to the top which is crowded with people who drove up to see the view LOL. If you go, definitely wear hiking boots or sturdy shoes, dress in layers and prepare for getting wet. You might enjoy bringing a walking stick too. And don't forget your camera!
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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++.

Mount Washington Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
4,400 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
8.5 hours
Best spring through fall
Appalachian Mountain Club; White Mountain National Forest - Androscoggin District
Local Contacts
USGS Stairs Mountain, Mount Washington
Local Maps

Trail Log