Mount Washington Auto Road is a truly legendary drive in New Hampshire

Opened in 1861, Mount Washington Auto Road is an unmatched driving experience you will always remember. It is a toll road that extends from New Hampshire Route 16 in Pinkham Notch to the summit of Mount Washington, in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. It’s one of the hardest and most epic climbs you can ride on two wheels.

Mount Washington Auto Road

Can you drive your car to the top of Mt Washington?

Starting at the paved NH-16 road, the road to the summit is 12.55 km (7.8 miles) long, ending at 1,916m (6,286ft) above sea level. With the ever-changing weather conditions on New England’s highest peak, no two trips are the same. Bluebird skies and stunning vistas may greet you one day. The next day you could have the adventure of a lifetime in the 6,286-foot peak’s strong winds, remarkable fog, and rapidly moving clouds. And remember, if you have a fear of heights, you may not appreciate this driving experience.

Is Mount Washington Auto Road paved?

Paving of the road began in the 1960s and in 2022, the Mt. Washington Auto Road (originally called Mount Washington Carriage Road) was fully paved.

Is the Mount Washington Auto Road steep?

Tucked away in Coös County, the road is very steep. Starting at NH-16 road, the elevation gain is 1,427 meters, and the average gradient is 11.37%.

Do you have to pay to drive up Mount Washington?

It’s a toll road. It’s a difficult road, with uncountable turns and twists. With an average grade of 12%, a single mile of hard-packed gravel road around mid-mountain, and above-tree line views beginning around 4,200 feet, this is truly one of the most spectacular drives in the Northeast. Certain vehicles with full passenger loads or heavily loaded with luggage cannot be permitted. Bicycles are not allowed, except on the day of a bike race.

How many cars have driven off Mt Washington?

Construction of the road began in the 1850s and opened to the public on August 8th, 1861. The experience is a must. The history of the road has been one of steady growth: 3,100 private cars in 1935, 6,600 in 1955, and 12,800 in the Road’s 100th anniversary year, 1961. In recent years, more than 45,000 vehicles have driven the auto road each year.

Is Mt Washington Auto Road open?

Set high in the White Mountains, Mount Washington's weather is notoriously extreme. This road is usually open in summers only. Opening day varies from year to year due to the amount of snow that falls on the mountain. Each spring, crews work tirelessly to remove the ice and snow. There are many times that the weather isn't very friendly on Mt. Washington, so be sure to bring warm, dry clothes; forget the umbrella unless you want the occasional strong blowing winds to tear it apart for you. If you are planning on driving the Mt. Washington Auto Road, you should prepare yourself for the weather and the drive. The weather on Mount Washington changes constantly and is very different from the base of the mountain. The temperature difference is amazing, and you will want to prepare for that. On the drive up the Auto Road, you will usually find some snow on the mountain until the end of June. If that wasn't enough, the 2nd highest windspeed on earth was recorded on top of Mount Washington at 231 Mph on April 12, 1934.

Is Mt Washington Auto Road dangerous?

At the beginning of the road, there’s a warning sign: ‘It’s a steep narrow mountain road with no guardrails. At mid-mountain, there is one mile of gravel road before returning to the pavement. If you have a fear of heights, you may not appreciate this driving experience. Guided tours are available.’ There are no guardrails on this road with the numerous steep drops at the side, especially going up. You need to be a confident driver as it is pretty narrow at times, but as long as you are sensible, you will be fine. It can make one feel a bit anxious as you peer over the edge of the road and see a thousand-foot drop. There are guides who will drive your vehicle down for you if you are too scared to do it yourself. Over more than 150 years, there have been three fatalities on the Auto Road.

Is driving up Mount Washington worth it?

This road offers jaw-dropping views, unparalleled freedom, and lots of fresh air. It’s said to be one of the most scenic drives in the Northeast. Along the way, you’ll see dramatic views of the Presidential Range of the White Mountain National Forest. The views will linger in our minds long after we've left those places, creating beautiful memories. As the driver, you probably shouldn't be looking over the edge and trying to drive at the same time. If there are no cars around you, stop and look; otherwise, there are several pull-offs where you can stop and take in the scenery.

How long does it take to drive the Mt Washington Auto Road?

Most vehicles take about 30 minutes to make the 7.6-mile ascent and from 30 to 45 minutes to come down depending on traffic, weather conditions, and whether or not you need to stop to cool your brakes. Afternoon closing times indicate the time that the last car will be allowed to go through the Toll House and drive to the summit. All vehicles must leave the summit 45 minutes after closing time.