The Mt. Washington Auto Road will begin its 155th season on Saturday, April 30 for guests to drive their own vehicles to treeline at 4,200 feet. Operating hours for the weekend will be 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., weather permitting.
The 4.5 mile drive to treeline provides stunning vistas of the northern Presidentials and Great Gulf Wilderness offering a true taste of the Mount Washington experience. Passenger vehicles may not be left unattended.
Despite receiving lower than average snowfall this past winter, many areas along the Auto Road above treeline are still covered with snow and ice. Because of these ice levels, operations to the summit are not yet possible. Maintenance crews from the Auto Road are in their third week of “spring clearing”, which not only involves removing ice and snow from the Road but also melting the ice in the 110 culverts located under the Road.
Updates as well as photos and video showing the intricate process of clearing the Auto Road are available at http://www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com/spring-clearing.
“We are delighted to be opening for our 155th season here on Mount Washington.” noted Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Auto Road. “This is always an exciting time of the year for us as we clean up from winter and get ready to welcome our guests from around the world and show them the wonders of Mount Washington.”
As recently as fifty years ago, it was considered a success if the Mt. Washington Auto Road was open to the summit by Independence Day, but weather permitting, the Mt. Washington Auto Road hopes to open to the summit before Memorial Day weekend. Guided tours will also be offered at that time.
The opening of the Auto Road coincides with the launch of a new mobile-friendly website. The new site will feature book-online options for guided tours, an interactive map displaying points of interest along the Auto Road, plus up-to-the-minute live Road status information. The Road Status feature will provide guests and front-line staff across the region with the ability to learn what the current operational status of the Auto Road is at any given time.
“We’re excited to provide this new service to our guests for the first time.” explained Dan Houde, Marketing Director for the Auto Road. “With weather playing such a major factor on Mount Washington, the ability to check the current Road status and weather from any mobile device for those driving from miles away – or even front-line staff who provide information to travelers – is a major benefit.”
Early season pricing, in effect until Auto Road opens to the summit, is set at $29 for car and driver while passengers are free. Season passes are available for $150 per person and valid through the 2016 season during regular operating hours and allows access for the vehicle and all occupants.
First opened in 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is the first and oldest man-made attraction in America. At nearly 8 miles long, it stretches to the summit of Mt. Washington at 6,288 feet, the highest peak in the Northeast.
The Mt. Washington Auto Road will be open weekends during this early season from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., weather permitting. For the latest updates on Road conditions, status and the operating schedule, visit http://www.MtWashingtonAutoRoad.com or call (603) 446-3988.