Mount Washington Summit Loop Trail is a 1.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Gorham, NH that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
An excellent hike if you want to see lots of mount Washington without spending much time in the trees. The views are spectacular, the terrain is rugged and the people are interesting. There are two types of hikers at the top of mount Washington, those who hiked it and those who have no idea what they are getting into. Mt. Washington has some of the worst recorded weather on the planet. It can change very quickly so be prepared. Tuckerman's ravine is always impressive. See my Tuckerman's Ravine hike for details on that one. If you are scared of heights then do not attempt to drive up the auto road. It is narrow.
on July 12 2015 I hiked tuckerman ravine trail it was a sunny beautiful day with clear views for miles. with moderate temps . fantastic hike but not for the casual hiker.
I did the auto road in September so my father could enjoy the view. It was as expected cold and extremely windy but to be that high was great. Since it's a visitor's center don't expect to be all mountains and views. Also LOTS of people.
Love this hike. ..so many more trails to do
great hike with countless photo opportunities. it is a difficult hike, especially if you take the boott spur loop to the summit of mt Washington. the staff at pinkham notch / Joe dodge lodge are awesome!
Thought I'd write a review on the auto road, as many have mentioned it. At the end of July in 2002, we looked forward to our trip up the Mt. Washington Auto road (hours were 7:30AM to 6 PM; rates are $16 plus $6 for my wife and $4 each for my two children; total $30). Early in the morning the whole mountain seemed to be covered in fog, so we decided to try it later if there was time to come back in the afternoon. We did the Square Ledge trail at Pinkham Notch, saw the Old Man on the Mountain face [before he fell] at Franconia, and finally merged onto Kancagamus Highway to Conway and back to Hwy 302. Instead of going straight into Conway with all the traffic, we took the Bear Lake road north and cut back up 16 to the Mt. Washington Auto Road.
The sky for the most part had cleared except for the top and we decided to brave it, even if the top didn’t clear by the time we got there. About halfway up the wind started picking up, the visibility went to 25 yards and the temperature, a balmy 86 in the valley below, began dropping. Feeling as if we were going to drive or fall off the mountain in many spots, we gritted our teeth and said we could do it, making sure we had room for the cars coming down without us getting too close to the edge. We finally reached the top, the wind was blowing 40-50 mph in gusts and the temperature had fallen to 59. Visibility was about 25 feet now and I had to hold on tight to my son walking head into the wind from the parking lot to make sure he didn’t blow away (it was scary!). The top has a summit house where all the hikers and drivers congregate, a snack shop and a (of course) couple of gift stores (we got a moose and a pennant, and some refrigerator magnets and post cards). They posted the day’s weather along with previous weather records (e.g. 231 mph wind). We actually got to the summit sign for pictures and started back down. The top is way above tree line and really pretty flat with big rocks all around as if they had been stacked. The drive down is not as bad except we had to stop from time to time going down for pictures and cooling the brakes. Finally we made it to the bottom and can now proudly display “This car made it to the top of Mt. Washington” bumper sticker. Take heed of everything you hear about the mountain. It was almost August, the winds were at 43 mph, visibility was near zero and the temp 53 degrees at the top... and sunny and hot at the bottom! This is a breathtaking experience in spite of the weather.
It was an amazing experience and I saw a really cool chickadee
Don't let the relatively short distance fool you. This hike up to the summit of Mt. Washington and back felt more exhausting than the 15 mile hike up Mt. Marcy in NY. I took Tuckerman's Ravine and the Lion Head trail and came back down on Tuckerman. It took me about 3 hrs up and 2.5 hours back, but I was fortunate with good weather. This little mountain is not known as one of the most dangerous mountain in the world for no reason. Pack plenty of water and contingent clothing and supply. Note that about a little more than half way up on the trail (pass Hermit Lake Shelter if you use the Tuckerman trail), you are no longer under tree covers and will be completely exposed. At this point, you're at the mercy of wind, rain, sun or whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at you for almost 2 hours of your hike up and another 1.5 hours back down. Make sure you check the weather and the advisory board down at the Pinkham Notch visitor center before starting your venture.
Awesome views at the top! Can get really windy and really cold, so be prepared, but worth hiking up for sure!
My most recent visit to the summit was via the Lions Head Trail but we wasted very little time at the summit due to the crowds and decided to descend across the lawn and down over the Bootspur which seemed a bit more quiet.
Great to have climbed the tallest peak in the Northeast! The summit was a bit of a let down because of the hundreds of people who were at the top from the Auto Road, shuttle and railroad. The climb up was a wonderful challenge though! I wrote a huge recap with photos of my climb up and down Mount Washington here: http://www.countryfitfamily.com/2014/08/hiking-mount-washington-nh-highest-peak-northeast.html
Unpredictable weather, but like most hikes in N.E. wear layers. Only one of the three times I made it to the summit did I not have gloves and was fine. One of the times I brought the dog, he carried his water and had a blast.
This was a great hike and a must climb for the range but the neighboring mountains are much more satisfying. The only reason I don't give it five stars is because it's a little heart breaking when you reach the summit and see all the old ladies and children running around after "bagging the peak" in the passenger seat of the family station wagon. The other mountains don't have that. Maybe I'll go in the winter next time.
Completed this hike couple years ago. Tuckermans Ravine to Lions Head. As with comparable peaks be prepared I'd rather carry up what i may need than be without. Warm waterproof jacket, gloves to protect hands on rocks, knee/ ankle supports, sunscreen etc all helpful. I remember the lower section of this hike being easy/moderate but hiking and weather conditions on this mountain can quickly become more of a challenge as you ascend. Feet will hurt after this one! Of course it's all worth it.
Know to have the highest wind speeds ever recorded on the hemisphere. This is a very strenuous hike. I have climbed this mountain 6 times, once in winter. Be very prepared if summiting this mountain, because the weather and temperatures can drop and change in a short time. It has known to snow in August on this summit. Be prepared to climb over many rocks and boulders as you get closer to the summit. The Lion's Head and Tuckerman's Ravine Trails are well traveled from the start of Pinkam Notch.
On a clear day one can see into VT, ME, and to the Atlantic. The are beautiful 360 views from this summit.
If you are not in good physical condition, do not hike this summit, one can drive up the auto road.