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Mount Washington Observatory Day Trips with the Cog Railway


September 13, 2013

NEW!Experience the ultimate Mount Washington autumn adventure—a scenic ride on the historic Cog Railway, and a full day exploration of the Northeast's tallest peak!

More than a quarter million people visit the rocky, windswept summit of Mount Washington every summer, but as the leaves begin to turn, the crowds thin and the mountain's true beauty emerges. Join Mount Washington Observatory, the mountain's permanent residents since 1932, for an in-depth, guided exploration of this famous peak.

Trip Format

Your adventure will begin at the historic Marshfield Station, where you'll meet your Mount Washington Observatory guide and board the train. As you ascend the steepest railroad tracks in North America, taking in the incredible scenery of Crawford Notch and the Presidential Range, you'll learn interesting facts about Mount Washington's storied past and infamous weather.

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. Your Observatory guide will offer informal educational sessions as you explore the summit by foot (weather permitting), interpreting the natural history, weather, and ecology of the mountain while pointing out seemingly endless photo ops.

A highlight of your day will be a behind-the-scenes tour of Mount Washington Observatory's famous mountaintop weather station (closed to the general public), which recorded the highest wind speed ever observed by man. You'll learn about the fascinating work conducted at this tiny outpost, climb to the top of the instrument tower for a birds-eye view of the summit, and then enjoy a hearty, homemade lunch in the station's private living quarters.

Trips meet at 8:30am and return to the base around 5:00pm. Please note that the exact schedule will be determined by the weather, so participants should be prepared for schedule changes, which may include an earlier or later departure, or even an overnight on the summit in the unlikely event of an extremely severe, unanticipated weather event.


The cost is $155 for Observatory members and $175 for non-members, and includes a round-trip ticket on the Cog Railway. Full payment is required to secure a reservation.


Reservations may be made through this website or by phone at (603) 356-2137, ext. 225. Trips are limited to a maximum of ten participants, and we maintain waiting lists for trips that are full.

Health & Safety Requirements

Observatory trips grant access to Mount Washington's incredible alpine zone, but not everyone is suited for this environment.

The average September day on Mount Washington has a high temperature of just 47F and a wind speed of 29mph. Thick, wet fog is common, and hurricane-force winds and freezing temperatures can occur during any month of the year.

Therefore, we require that all participants are in excellent physical condition and come prepared with all the required clothing and equipment. Each participant must submit a health form attesting to their physical condition, and sign a release form absolving the Observatory of responsibility in the instance of illness, injury, or death. Clothing and equipment are checked prior to departure, and those who are inadequately prepared are not allowed to participate. Safety is our first priority.

All physically fit adults are welcome, as are fit individuals between the ages of 16 and 18 who are accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or qualified adult leader.

For more information about our health and safety requirements, please refer to our Health Disclosure Form, General Release and Assumption of Risk (PDF) and equipment list.


Trips depart from and return to the Mt. Washington Cog Railway's Marshfield Station. For directions, please visit TheCog.com.


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 refunded at 50%. Cancellations made within 14 days of the trip date will result in forfeiture of the entire trip fee.

The safety of our guests and employees is of utmost importance, so trips may be canceled 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
(800) 706-0432, ext. 225

Home of the World's Worst Weather
Administration: 2779 White Mountain Highway, P. O. Box 2310, North Conway, NH 03860 • Tel: 603-356-2137 • Fax: 603-356-0307 • contact us
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