Mount Washington State Park
April 19. 2011 9:39PM
Mount Washington State Park, a 59-acre parcel perched on the summit of the Northeast's highest peak, is surrounded by the extensive 750,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. On a clear day, views from the 6,288-foot summit extend beyond New Hampshire as far as 130 miles to Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Quebec, and the Atlantic Ocean. A modern summit building houses a cafeteria, restrooms, gift shops, the Mount Washington Observatory and its museum. The historic TipTop House is located adjacent to the summit building and is open to visitors when staff is available.
Location: Off Route 16 at Pinkham Notch & Rte 302 north Crawford Notch
Amenities: Cafeteria, gift shop, museum, observatory, historic site, restrooms
Operation Schedule: 8am - 8pm, Early May to Early October (weather permitting)
Acreage: 52 acres
Darby Field, a British colonist from Exeter, made the first recorded ascent of Mt. Washington in 1642. It has been related through the years that Field's two Native American companions did not accompany him to the summit because the Great Spirit was believed to dwell there. The mountain's history has been colorful since that first ascent.
In 1819, Ethan Allen Crawford and his father Abel - early settlers and innkeepers of the Crawford Notch area, built the first trail to the summit. By the mid-1800s, tourism on the mountain flourished. Train service was extended into the White Mountains, and a bridle path was opened to the summit that made it accessible to tourists who were flocking to the area. The first hotel was built at the summit in 1852 to accommodate the tourists arriving on foot and horseback. It was so successful its first year of operation that a competing hotel, the Tip Top House was built the following year.