Hiking Mount Washington

Mt. Washington 6288 ft.

Mt. Washington standing at 6,288 ft. was first spotted by explorers at sea who thought the mountain deep in the wilderness was covered in jewels or white moss and so called it “Christall Hill” and “Sugarloaf”. The Natives called it “Agiocochook” (Home of the Great Spirit)

Mount Washington is surrounded by dozens of hiking trails. Trails on the East range from breathtaking ridges, rough and wild ravines and beautiful plateaus filled with rock and alpine flora.

The most popular trail to Mt. Washington is Tuckerman Ravine known for it’s unique ecology and deep glacial cirque, as well as for it’s skiing well into the spring.

Other trails include Boott Spur, Lions Head, Huntington Ravine, Old Jackson Rd., Alpine Garden and Nelson Crag. To the North and South are the North and South Presidential’s connected by open ridges and towering peaks including the next highest peak Mt. Adams. The less rugged, but also less sheltered West side contain two trails. The very popular hike up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail toLakes of the Clouds Hut and Jewell Trail which passes the Great Gulf on the way to Mt. Washington’s Summit.

No matter what route you choose, hike safe and turn back at the first sign of foul weather or fatigue. Always bring proper clothing, food and water. Let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return and never hike alone! Or, if hiking isn’t your thing, take a train ride on the Historic Cog Railway or a drive on the Auto Road which was originally built in the 1800’s.

The first known death on Mount Washington occurred in 1849 and this peak alone has claimed the lives of over a hundred people since. A highly recommended book describing all of these incidents is “Not Without Peril”, by Nicholas Howe.

Mount Washington, with it’s high elevation and location (sitting where two upper air jet streams intersect) factored in with other geological and atmospheric characteristics combine to create the “worst weather in the world” with a record land wind speed of 231mph and temperatures falling well below zero. Hikers on this peak (as well as it’s neighboring peaks) will face a mountain top that is in the clouds an average of 60 – 70% of the time with snow accumulation that stays in areas well into May and even June. This allows for popular skiing in Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine’s. See Avalanche updates to get current conditions.