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Five Mountains to Drive


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The Mt. Washington Auto Road
Summit of Mount Washington

The Mt. Washington Auto Road leads to the summit of New England's highest peak. This mountain drive is not for the faint of heart.

© 2002 Kim Knox Beckius
The Mt. Washington Auto Road is the mother of all mountain drives in New England. That's because New Hampshire's Mt. Washington is the region's tallest peak. Don't be surprised to find the weather atop Mt. Washington radically different from what you left behind when you began the eight-mile journey. The photo above was taken in June. Mt. Washington didn't earn its reputation as the home of the world's worst weather for nothing. The 6,288-foot peak set a world record in 1934 for the strongest wind--231 miles per hour--and it was only determined in 2010 that a stronger, 253 mph gust had hit Australia's Barrow Island during a cyclone in 1996. You're likely to need a jacket at the summit, even on the hottest summer days.

The "Road to the Sky" opened to horse and carriage traffic in 1861--it is quite an engineering marvel. Reputed to be the nation's first man-made attraction, the Auto Road continues to provide travelers with an opportunity to reach the "top of New England" in just about a half hour. At the summit, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Presidential Range and beyond, plus visit the Mount Washington Observatory Museum.

Fees and some vehicle limitations apply. If you don't think your car is up for the climb, guided van tours are also available.

Directions: The Mount Washington Auto Road is accessible from Route 16 north of Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire.

For Information: Call 603-466-3988.

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