When we talk about Mt Washington, New Hampshire must ring a bell. New Hampshire is home to some of the tallest peaks in the whole of England. An excellent example of this is Mount Washington, which stands tall above the rest.
To hike Mount Washington, you will have to hike through the Ravine Trail, which spans a distance of more than 4,000 feet up to the slopes of Mount Washington. This journey isn’t for the faint-hearted that we must warn you. However, the scene above the mountain is phenomenal. You will have an exclusive view of some of the beautiful mountains, such as the snowcapped peaks of the White Mountains and the ever-flowing river Verdant.
Which is the best time to hike Mount Washington? We try to answer this question and lots more. This is article is all about hiking Mount Washington through the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. There is a lot of information concerning this trail and its journey, but we’ll only provide you with the basics and most relevant information. Read on!
Best Time to Hike Mount Washington?
Going straight to the question, the best time to hike Mount Washington is between May and October. Climatic conditions are essential when you are hiking. Very low temperatures and deep snows are a significant hindrance to hiking. So, it best that you avoid the winter periods.
You want to hike during summer when the temperatures are hot and humid. During these times, hiking high altitudes become easier as the temperatures aren’t that low. Also, look for periods that don’t experience too much rainfall. The water levels are another hindrance to hiking, not to mention mud.
Mount Washington is known to be very notorious when it comes to weather conditions. In fact, it has been nicknamed the ‘worst weather in the world.’ Winter is terrific at this place, and you don’t it to find you there. There are low temperatures and high winds there. Moreover, unexpected storms are a common sight.
Some sections of the trail are generally closed during this period because of thawing ice and the hazards that it comes along with. From the trailhead till the top of Mount Washington summit, this hike is 3.6 miles long one way and double the figure on a two-way hike.
Preparing Yourself for the Hike
Preparing yourself adequately for the hike is as crucial as undertaking the hike itself. Adequate preparation is one of the reasons for a successful hike. Consider the following when you’re preparing to hike Mount Washington.
- Research the Trail
Preparing for a hike is very difficult if you aren’t conversant with the trail that you’re going to use. Although there are many maps and guidebooks out there, they usually don’t contain enough information. The best way that we can recommend is to join a hiking club. Join other hikers who you will undertake the journey with. Some of them are experienced and have first-hand information about the place. Be aware of everything that you expect to meet.
- Prepare Yourself Physically
You will be fooling yourself if you think that hiking is similar to walking. Climbing through rocky and steep terrains drains you of a lot of energy. Moreover, you will have a backpack that will add more weight to your back. It is imperative for you to prepare yourself physically before the hiking date. A good way to do this is to join Yoga classes.
Yoga is outstanding as it develops your strength, flexibility, agility, and perseverance that you require for hiking. It is an exercise that stretches every part of your body; from arms to feet and back. One thing with hiking is that the longer you go, the stronger you become. It is a form of workout that has lots of benefits on your body.
- Look for a hiking buddy
Hiking solo is fun as it gives you more time to contemplate and focus on yourself. However, for safety purposes, hiking with a friend is even better. Injuries normally occur during hikes, and that is when friends prove to be useful. Moreover, hiking alone might turn out to be boring at some point. Have someone by you that you can hold a conversation with.
A Guide Through the Tuckerman Ravine Trail
Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
The first section that you will start with at the trailhead is the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. This section lasts 1,800 feet long. The walk here involves meandering uphill steadily through rocks and forests. You will cross the Ellis River using a wooden bridge and maintain right at the fork.
This trail will follow River Cutler and pass through rapids and waterfalls. This is before reaching Lake Hermit at 2.4 miles. Here, you will find some washrooms at the Hermit Lake Shelters. This is good news for you. You will be able to freshen up before going on with your journey. Grab a snack and interact with other hikers before going on with your journey.
Hermit Lake Shelters
Next in line is the Hermit Lake Shelters. The journey becomes steeper here with the trail narrowing. In the third mile, you will arrive on the floor of Tuckerman Ravine. This area is surrounded by Alpine ridges, which are 1,500 feet above it. Going around this floor will land you at the headwall, where a waterfall will await you.
The hike here is dangerous, and you need to be cautious. Be careful not to send rocks down on other hikers who are below you. The slopes here are very steep, and they are covered with snow almost half of the year. For this reason, this area is normally closed during the spring periods when the ice begins to thaw. This is entirely for safety purposes. Continue summiting the wall, till the junction at the Alpine Garden Trail. You will now be at 1,300 feet above the trailhead.
Alpine Garden Trail Junction
Once you’re here, you will see cairns ahead of you to the front. Ignore these and turn right. You are now nearing the summit. The walk will be around six miles before arriving at the top. This journey will be 1000 vertical feet to the top.
Once at the summit, the view is breath-taking and worth every risk that you undertook to arrive at the top. If the sky is clear, you can see up to 130 miles far towards the cities of Quebec and New York and also the Atlantic Ocean. You can clearly see the peaks of the White Mountains, which are 4,00 and 5,000 feet in height.
To the North, you will be able to see Mount Adams, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Madison. To the East, you will be able to see the Carter Dome. To the west, you will see Mount Carrigan. No word is enough to illustrate how scenic and beautiful these views are. At the summit, there are gift shops, restrooms, a museum, and a cafeteria.
As earlier stated, the journey to the top is 3.6 miles. Going back down will add you another 3.6 to make it 7.2 miles. You could decide to get a ride back down to the trailhead or opt for a lollipop loop. You could also opt to give yourself another challenge and hike down to the trailhead. The distance us roughly the same, but it is way steeper and much more complicated than it was hiking up. Caution should, therefore, be taken.
The Weather on Mount Washington
The extreme weather in Mount Washington is known to be very notorious. The winters are normally very frigid. In the year 2004, for example, the weather at the summit hit -102 Fahrenheit. The winds at the top are stronger and higher than any other place at the Western Hemisphere. The highest speed recorded was 231 miles per hour.
On your way to the top of the summit, you will come across a warning sign indicating that the place has the ‘worst weather in America.’ It goes on to tell you that many have lost their lives trying to hike to the summit, even in the summers. You are recommended to carry along with your insulation and shelter no matter how good the weather seems. Also, be prepared for any abrupt change in the weather.
This day hike is one of the most popular in America and the World at large. It is short but exciting. The view at the top is the climax of the adventure. The view confirms the saying, ‘Nature is beautiful.’ Hiking to the summit of Mount Washington should be in your To-do list. Give yourself that challenge and prove yourself wrong by finishing it successfully.
The journey downwards can be very exciting but dangerous equally. The ground is steeper than it was when going up. There are, however, some detours that you could take and make the journey even longer.
Before making the hike, ensure that you have everything that you will require during the hike. It is important to carry along any medication that you will need. Keep warm and walk-in groups. Look closely at where you are stepping to avoid slipping and falling. Above all, have fun! Take lots of pictures to remind you of this adventurous journey.
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