View Full Version : First time to Mount Washington

06-28-2009, 08:02 AM
We will be at Mount Washington for the first time ever on the Fourth of July.

Any advice is appreciated on the Mount Washington area from insiders would be greatly appreciated.:)

06-28-2009, 02:14 PM
It might help if you were a bit more specific on how you are getting up to the summit. There are different bits of advice pending on if you are hiking, driving, taking the cog, staying with an edutrip or doing a fly by. And the more specific you are on what kind of tips you are looking for the better the response will be (ie, how much water do i need, is there camping, how much does it cost to stay at Lakes, etc).

06-28-2009, 02:41 PM
We are thinking of taking the cog to the summit. We are traveling as 2 adult couples with 2 children (3 and 9). We have accomodations. I was wondering if the Cog is a good way to go.

Also, what other things are there to do in the area? Are there easy trails that children would enjoy?

We are going into this with no knowledge of the area.

06-28-2009, 03:42 PM
Doing it on the Cog is a fun way of going up and down. the adults and 9 yr old will enjoy it. The 3 yr old may get a bit bored - especially if the cloud layer is low that day. The time I went on the Cog they said you should come down with the same group you went up with. But, if things are not too crowded you can risk it and wait till a later Cog.

If you do wait, then you would have time for an Observatory tour (I assume you are a member) and a chance to get downstairs to the museum. If the weather is good, then getting out to the Tip Top House and walking around the summit is nice.

At the Cog Base Station there is also another museum which is fun to see while you are waiting for your train.

We now have a resident expert on NH attractions - Spyboy. He just went to see 18 major attractions in the area and lots of them are very kid-friendly. Some would be good rainy day activities and others are definitely for good weather. Hopefully, Kirk will post links to the ones he went to.

06-28-2009, 06:12 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum!

We take our nieces and nephews to Lost River. The 9 year old will LOVE it. The 3 year old may like it or not, depending a bit on his/her sense of adventure. Lots of fun rocks to crawl on and caves (small ones) to climb through, but there's always a boardwalk around the cave in case someone in the crowd doesn't feel the need to crawl through caves.


(I am not in any way affliated with them)

As far as trails go, I would consider parking at The Basin in Franconia Notch State Park. There's an easy trail that follows the brook and many places where the kids can get into the brook and play/catch crayfish/etc... No swimming directly *at* the Basin, but just follow the trail away behind it and you should find the brook.

Have fun! We enjoyed our vacations here in NH so much that we finally moved here.


06-28-2009, 08:07 PM
I second Val's recommendations on both Lost River and the Basin. We did these both many times when my daughter was younger and we all loved them.

One of our other favorite things to do was hikes to waterfalls. There are many good ones that are short hikes and great for the kids. Many are listed in the White Mountains and NH guides that you can pick up at the visitor centers.

Another great thing to do is take one of the trams up the other mountains. Loon, Cannon and Wildcat are all good. Maybe not needed on this trip if you're going up Mt Washington on the Cog.

Of the other paid attractions our favorite was always the Flume. Nice hike for the kids with some spectacular scenery.

Hope you have a wonderful time!

06-29-2009, 08:09 AM
At the risk irritating of my fellow hikers:eek:...I'd recommend Storyland. I went as a kid and have taken my kids in the past few years. 3 year olds love it and most 9 year olds like it too (despite what they may say). It's not really nature, but more in line with what 3 YO's like. After a trip up the cog a 3 YO will be nearly out of their gourd and will need some kid fun...there is always McD's with the indoor playland in Conway.

06-30-2009, 05:58 AM
Thank you so much for the information.

I look forward to visiting your state. :)

KD Talbot
06-30-2009, 06:15 AM
If you ride the Cog keep in mind that it's open and you will be subject to much cooler temps at the summit than at Marshfield Station, Bring warm pull-overs. Check out the museum on the summit and visit the Observatory. They don't give you much time on the summit. Not sure if you can wait for the next train or if you have to return on the same one. I think most trips this time of year are sold out so I think you have to return on the same train.

An alternative is the Auto Road which has shuttles or you can drive yourself.

Agree with visits to Lost River and Franconia Notch where there is The Basin (free) and Flume Gorge (fee). Also in LIncoln there are other attractions such as Clark's Bears and Hobo Train as well as many restaurants. North Conway also has many attractions and fine restaurants. A trip from North Conway to Lincoln along the Kancamagus Highway is a must do in the area, there are many excellent places to swim and several short hikes.


07-07-2009, 09:39 PM
Thank you. We enjoyed our visit at the summit of Mount Washington.

07-16-2009, 07:27 PM
I'm going for my first trip on July 31. We have a group of guys from my church. We are taking a short hike on Friday, then a long round trip hike to the summit and back on Saturday. I think that we are taking Tuckerman's ravine. This is my first time ever hiking a mountain. I think that I am physically fit enough to make it and smart enough to turn around if I'm not. What sort of advice would you all give a first timer?

07-21-2009, 12:12 PM
Ideally one would go on several hikes of increasing difficulty before attempting a climb like Washington, but.....

Many, many folks successfully climb to the summit and return safely every year with no previous hiking experience. Some with questionable gear, footwear, water supplies, and overall judgment.

The weather will be your biggest factor and conditions at the summit can be vastly different than those at the base or even 1/2 way up, and it can change in literally minutes. What could be a comfortable hike in the low 60s can become a shivering slog in the high 30s with 60mph winds and rain. This happens with regularity, so plan for it. At a minimum bring along the following (I assume you'll start in shorts and a t-shirt:
Windbreaker and wind pants (rain gear is a better choice if you have it)
Fleece pullover or hooded sweatshirt
Pants, sweatpants, or lightweight fleece pants
Winter hat
Extra shirt (or 3 if you're wearing cotton)
Extra socks (or 3 if you're wearing cotton)

3 quarts of water minimum
snacks (granola bars, gorp, power bars, etc)
electrolyte drink (powdered mix for your water or a quart of gatorade)
a sandwich or 2 for lunch

Wear comfortable and sturdy footwear. Wearing your brand new hiking boots on this trip is not recommended. Blisters will ruin your day for sure, so wear something tried and true. Wearing clothing made of a wicking fabric is wise, but if you must wear cotton I suggest bringing multiple shirts.

This is no walk in the park. Be sure to leave enough energy and daylight (start early and don't dawdle too much) to get down safely. The biggest concern will be staying warm and dry if rain and/or fog moves in, especially when you consider your rate of travel will be much slower when things get wet and you can't see more than 50ft. Temps will fall rapidly, and hypothermia is a very real concern in the summer when most people get caught off guard by changing weather conditions. Don't let this be you.

Good luck and post some pics when you get back.

07-23-2009, 07:08 PM
Thanks for the tips. I have a pair of self wicking underwear and a self-wicking tank top. I have a rain poncho, one better than the cheap emergency ones. I'm bringing 2 pairs of wool hicking socks. I have a new pair of hiking boots and I have put about 15 miles on them so far. I'm hoping to put another 10-15 on them before the hike. We are planning on leaving the lodge around 7:00 AM on Saturday morning, so time should not be an issue.

Would you recommend a cotton-blended hooded sweathshirt or a fleece pullover? I have both, it's just a matter of which one I pack.

08-02-2009, 01:45 PM
The hike went great.

We stayed at Joe Dodge Lodge and the food was great and the folks there were very friendly. We went up to square ledge for a little warm up hike. We couldn't see Mt Washington because of the weather.

The weather was perfect on Saturday. We went up Tuckermans ravine, and the views were very nice. My legs were burning pretty bad when I got to the top of the ravine, and the final mile took a long time. After about an hour at the top, we headed back down. The top was a bit crowded and that took away from the experience. I struggled a bit with the stairs and the folks who drove up were running right by me.

We took Lion's Head down, and that was another great trail. The views from the top of the ledge just before we started out descent were unbelievable. The hike down went much easier than up, but my knees were hurting pretty bad when we got back. It seemed to take forever to get from the end of Lions head (where it meets the Tuckerman's Ravine trail) to the lodge.

This was one of the most amazing things that I have ever did. I can't wait to go again.

I've attached some pictures. One is the bowl from below. One is a shot of the Lake of the Clouds from above. The other 2 are a couple of shots that I just thought came out nice.

08-02-2009, 01:56 PM
Glad you had a good day Gary. The pics are great and you certain got a day with good views. The views from the ledges on Lion Head are definitely amazing. You're right about the last 2 miles down to Pinkham being really long. Seems more like 4 or 5 when you're hiking it. You're not alone - everyone we were around last Saturday was saying the same thing. As for the sore knees - they're the Mt Washington badge of honor. Nothing that a little ice won't fix before the next hike... ;)

08-02-2009, 02:26 PM
Gary, thanks for the update and pictures. The views up there are wonderful and you got some good ones. Beware - hiking up Mt Washington is addictive.

Snow Miser
08-02-2009, 02:32 PM
Very nice TR and photos Gary. Glad you had a great hike. You should be quite proud of yourself having Mt Washington as your first mountain ever climbed. As you attest to, burning muscles on the way up, and sore knees on the way down is a badge of honor as Mark mentioned above. It's all worth it though. Now that you've done Mt Washington, you might just get the bug to climb more and more of the White Mountains. They are quite addictive.

08-04-2009, 02:15 PM
Sorry for not getting back to the thread before your trip Gary....

To answer your question: Fleece pullover preferred, but the cotton-blend hoodie would be fine if you don't sweat in it too much or it's not raining hard. Keeping it dry would be the goal.

You certainly picked a good day to do this one. They don't get much better than that. And yes, the last length of trail to Pinkham is a drag, it's not just you.

Now that you've done this one, go out and tackle a few more. Unless you do Cannon or Wildcat, you'll have a more peaceful and relaxing summit stop on any other peak.