Mt. Washington Auto Road/Mt. Washington—The highest peak in the Northeast (6,288 feet). Since it is also accessible by the Auto Road and a cog railroad, more touristy services are here than one might expect.
Note: In 2007, 8 hikers were arrested for mooning said cog railroad; take heed.
The summit building is operated by the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation and houses Mt. Washington Observatory, <www.mountwashington.org>; Mt. Washington Museum ($2 admission); a snack bar; a post office. The state park is open daily 8–8 early May–early Oct, weather permitting. A hiker room is downstairs, with a table, restroom, and a space to rest. (Absolutely no overnight stays are allowed.)
Over the years, many buildings have come and gone on the summit, including a 94-bedroom hotel completed in 1873 and destroyed by fire in 1908. The summit is under cloud cover about 55 percent of the time. Average summertime high is 52 degrees, and the average wintertime high is 15 degrees.
On April 12, 1934, an on-land wind speed of 231 mph was recorded, which still stands as the world’s record. If you see a staff meteorologist, ask about the “Century Club.” The upper plateau is home to large grassy areas, strewn with rocks but known as “lawns.” These lawns hold many species of plants and animals otherwise found only on high mountain peaks and in tundra areas hundreds of miles to the north.