Mount Washington Observatory Summit Day Trips
A True Alpine Adventure
Summit a snow-covered peak in a day? With Mount Washington Observatory Day Trips, you can!
You'll enjoy a thrilling snowcat ride to the top of the tallest peak in the Northeast and spend a day reveling in the mountain's legendary weather and scenery. A highlight of your visit will be a guided tour of the Mount Washington Observatory's famous mountaintop weather station and the opportunity to meet the scientists living and working in this remote outpost. Then, after a hearty, homemade lunch, you'll head back down the mountain before nightfall.
If you're looking a true alpine adventure in a succinct, affordable format, this is the trip for you.
- Round-trip transportation to and from the base in our deluxe snowcat
- A dedicated Observatory trip leader
- Beverages and snacks upon arrival and lunch before you leave
- An exclusive tour of our weather station
- The opportunity to experience Mount Washington's famous winter extremes
Want something longer? Check out our overnights.
Your adventure will begin at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road, where you'll meet your trip leaders and load the snowcat. As you ascend the 8-mile road, you'll take in the incredible scenery of Pinkham Notch and the Presidential Range while marveling at the power of a two-ton tracked vehicle plowing through massive snowdrifts.
When you reach the top you will have gained more than 3,500 feet of elevation, traveling from the temperate forest, through tree line, and into to the alpine zone–a rugged, otherworldly landscape of earth and sky. After unloading the snowcat you'll head inside the weather station and warm up with a hot beverage and snack.
The rest of your day will be planned around the mountain's incredible weather, but will include:
- Ample opportunity to experience subarctic-like conditions, which often include winds at, or above, hurricane force, remarkable icing, freezing temperatures, blowing snow, and more
- A behind-the-scenes tour of the Mount Washington Observatory's famous mountaintop weather station, where you'll learn about the institution's work and see the instruments used by Observatory scientists
- A trip to the top of the instrument tower for a birds-eye view of the summit from the highest point on the mountain
- A delicious, homemade lunch
Trips meet at 8:30am and generally arrive back at the base around 4:00pm. Please note that the exact timing of your ascent and return will be determined by the weather, so participants should be prepared for schedule changes. The changes could be as minor as an earlier departure to avoid an approaching storm, or as major as having to spend the night on the summit in the event of an extremely severe, unanticipated weather event. Safety trumps all other concerns, so please bring your sense of adventure and a willingness to go with the flow.
- January 4, 2016
- January 11, 2016
- January 18, 2016
- January 25, 2016
- February 8, 2016
- February 15, 2016
- February 22, 2016
- February 29, 2016
- March 14, 2016
- March 21, 2016
$199 for supporting members of the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory
$265 for non-members
Not a member? Join now to save money and enjoy a number of valuable, exclusive benefits.
Reservations may be made through this website or by phone at (603) 356-2137, ext. 225. Trips are limited to a maximum of nine participants, and we maintain waiting lists for trips that are full.
Health & Safety Requirements
Observatory trips grant access to Mount Washington's alpine zone, but not everyone is suited for this environment. Please read our full health and safety requirements to make sure you are eligible for a Mount Washington Observatory winter trip.
The minimum age for a winter trip is 16. Minors must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or qualified adult leader, and must meet all health and safety requirements
For your health and safety, and for the health and safety of your fellow trip mates, you will be required to come prepared with attire and gear to protect you from Mount Washington's extreme conditions. View the full list on our winter day trip gear list.
If you have any questions about any of this gear, don't hesitate to contact us. We will help you find what you need to enjoy the trip of a lifetime!
Trips depart from and return to the employee parking lot at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The employee parking lot is located immediately north of the main entrance to the Auto Road. If you accidentally enter the main entrance of the Auto Road you will know you're in the wrong spot when you find yourself sitting at a locked gate. Go back to the road, take a left, drive a few hundred feet and turn left into the employee parking lot. You'll see your trip leaders and a Mount Washington Observatory vehicle.
The Mt. Washington Auto Road is located on NH Route 16 in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire – 12 miles north of Jackson, NH, and 8 miles south of Gorham, NH. It is sometimes hard to find with GPS devices. Try "1 Mount Washington Auto Road, Gorham, NH" or simply enter "Mt Washington Auto Road" or "Glen House" in your GPS Attractions or Points of Interest page. However, remember that you are going to the employee parking lot, not the main entrance.
The GPS coordinates are: 44.28850 Lat., -71.22580 Long.
Extreme weather may occur at any time, and may delay a trip's descent. For this reason, we recommend that you remain flexible with your travel plans for the day or two after your trip. At least once per winter season, a trip must remain on the summit for one or even two additional days due to severe weather. Please be prepared for this possibility—it's part of the adventure!
Trip fees will be refunded for cancellations made at least 30 days before the trip date, less a $50 administrative fee. Cancellations less than 30 days but more than 14 days before the departure date will be credited at 50%. Cancellations made within 14 days of the trip date will result in forfeiture of the entire trip fee.
A minimum of six participants is required for a trip to run. If we do not reach that minimum by one week before the trip, the trip may be cancelled. All registrants will be offered the option of a refund or a re-booking on another trip.
The safety of our guests and employees is of utmost importance, so trips may be cancelled due to extremely inclement weather. We will do our best to notify all participants of the cancellation in advance, but mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable, so we cannot guarantee advance notice. The decision to cancel a trip could be made on the morning of the trip, or even during the ascent.
Michelle Cruz, Director of Education
(603) 356-2137, ext. 225