Sunrise Drive Tips

2019-08-24 06:06:24.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist


Sunday, August 25th will be the third (of three) Mt Washington Auto Road Sunrise Drive of 2019. For information about when their road will open, their rates, vehicle restrictions, etc, head HERE. The Mount Washington Observatory operates independently from the Mt Washington Auto Road, so if you have questions about their event, please contact them directly via the information provided HERE or through their various social media offerings. If driving up tomorrow morning, here are five things to help in your planning:

1. Dress Warm! Pack a coat/sweater, pants, mittens, beanie, etc. It will be unseasonably cool tomorrow morning and when standing around waiting for sunrise, it can get downright chilly fast. So, packing and wearing layers so you are comfortable makes for a better viewing experience allowing you to focus on the sunrise rather than focusing on how miserable you feel. For more information about the weather you can expect, head to our Higher Summits Forecast page (updated daily by 5 am and 5 pm).

2. Arrive closer to their opening time to provide you with plenty of time prior to sunrise. It is not I-93 and as such, it takes time to drive up the road.

3. Will sunrise be visible from the summit? Maybe. As of this morning, satellite views and models are showing lingering low-level moisture and with a shift to an onshore flow overnight, more moisture will be moving in – all favorable for clouds/fog. However, high pressure is building and with it, drier air will be approaching from the west. As of now, it looks like intermittent clouds or possibly some undercast conditions will be possible. In other words, it could go either way at this point. While we do not provide personalized forecasts, you can check out our Higher Summits Forecast. With the possibility of fog obscuring your summit view…

4. Stop lower down. The Mt Washington Auto Road has several turnouts to allow people to view the sunrise from lower down and below any clouds that might be present. If you opt in on this option, please park in designated pullouts and when you get out and you’re heading out or over to your viewing position, remember to rock-hop to remain off the fragile alpine vegetation.

5. Make sure your batteries are charged. If using a dedicated camera, make sure to have an “heir and a spare” (one in your camera and an extra in pocket) fully charged as the cooler weather might drain your battery a bit faster than normal. If using a smartphone as your camera – make sure it is fully charged as the cooler weather will drain it a bit faster as well. And turn on airplane mode. While parts of the mountain have service, keeping it in airplane mode will ensure your battery isn’t draining as your phone tries to connect to neighboring cell towers in addition to remaining on as you snap pics or take video.

Bonus tip: At some point, stop capturing the moment and just enjoy it! Just for a minute or two, put the camera/smartphone down and take in the moment you are experiencing. It will make looking back on your pictures that much more enjoyable as you will have a fond memory to go along with what you captured.

August 24th's sunrise from the summitAugust 24th’s sunrise from the summit


Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist

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