06-19-2013, 10:05 AM
I haven't even embarked on this year's vacation/hiking trip yet but I'm already deciding that Mt Washington will be our destination next year. I've started researching some information on some hikes can do and one of my questions is, if we do a hike that takes us all day to reach the peak, are there any services in the area that will provide you with a lift back to your vehicle or are there hotels that are known for offering a ride to the trailhead and then a ride back to the hotel from the top? It's an 8 hour drive to get to the area from where I live in Pennsylvania so bringing two vehicles is just not a good idea for us. I've looked at some loop hikes but I really want to pass through some specific scenic areas like Lakes of the Clouds so I'd like to do a straight through hike going up and just skipping a major descent. Thoughts? Ideas?
06-21-2013, 12:19 PM
"are there any services in the area that will provide you with a lift back to your vehicle or are there hotels that are known for offering a ride to the trailhead and then a ride back to the hotel from the top?"
The quick answer is "No". Although there is a train, "the Cog (http://www.thecog.com/)" and an Auto Road (http://mtwashingtonautoroad.com/) the general rule is "if you hike up, be prepared to hike down." There is no guarantee that there will be room for you to catch a ride down on either of these services, and hikers should not hike up with the plan to descend by either of these methods. That said, I do believe you can buy one way tickets beforehand, but you need to check that. The Cog is on the western flank of the mountain and the Auto Road is on the east. There is an approximately 50 mile road trip between the two. So, hiking up the east and taking the Cog down is not an option as it will leave you 50 miles from your car. So, if you go up the east side, you need to come down the east side, same for the west side.
All that said, Mount Washington can generally be hiked in a day by prepared, experienced and physically fit hikers. That said, there are thousands who hike it every year, from all walks of life and all levels of experience and physical fitness. Many realize they have bitten off more than they can chew, and many persevere and make the entire hike. I would not suggest this hike for families who are new to hiking as the difficulty level may end their hiking careers. Families with children who like to hike should be fine as long as they are prepared to face possible bad weather and are prepared to turn around. The mountain will always be there for another try in better conditions. Hiking Mount Washington is a pretty serious undertaking and should not be approached like a walk in the park. Over a hundred and forty people have lost their lives on the range in all seasons from hypothermia in July to heart attacks to drowning, falling and being lost in dense fog.
The usual route for first time hikers is the Tuckerman Ravine Trail 4.2 miles and 4250" elevation gain of some extremely rough terrain. The trailhead is in Pinkham Notch on the east side. The AMC Joe Dodge Lodge (http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/whitemountains/pinkham/) is at the beginning and offers rooms and food and plenty of information.
but I really want to pass through some specific scenic areas like Lakes of the Clouds This is on the southwestern flank of the mountain. The AMC Lakes of the Clouds Hut (http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/whitemountains/huts/huts-lakes.cfm) is there. Many hike to the hut, spend a night or two and hike to the summit from there.
Whatever you plan, I hope it goes well for you! Feel free to keep asking questions here.
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