on the Auto Road
Mount Washington is home to the world's worst weather and as such winter conditions on the northeast’s highest peak often persist into late spring or even early summer. While the conditions at the base of the mountain may very well be pleasantly spring like, our Road Crew endeavors to remove winter’s grip on the still snow covered mountain side.
In order to make the roadway passable, the Road Crew employ snowcats, bucket loaders, plow trucks and shovels to clear the numerous feet of snow and ice that has collected over the winter months. In some place like Cragway Drift the snow can be 25-30 feet deep. Removing the snow from the surface of the Auto Road is a mountainous feat, underlying the tread are 109 culverts that are completely filled with ice. The Road Crew utilizes a custom developed steam drill to melt the ice out of each culvert; an arduous, but necessary process that prevents the roadway from being undermined by the torrent of spring run off water.
Often the Auto Road opens to treeline at 4200’ to drive yourself before opening all the way to the summit. The partial opening affords the chance to visit the area of the mountain where the trees disappear and the rock fields begin. This parking area allows visitors uninterrupted panoramic views of the Northern Presidential Range, the Carter Moriah Range and the flowing patchwork of lakes and mountains that is western Maine.
Please check the Road Status for the most up to date information about spring operations.