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One Full Day to Explore the White Mountains

Old May 27th, 2012, 03:08 PM
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One Full Day to Explore the White Mountains

I'd like to get some feedback on how to spend a full day in the White Mountains in mid-September. We will be staying in the area for two nights, but will only have partial days on either end. We'd like to go to the top of Mount Washington (probably by car to maintain control of our time) and see the Mt. Washington Hotel. What should we not miss?
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Old May 27th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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The Cog Railway leaves from near the Mt Washington Hotel. The Auto Road is all the way on the other side of the Presidential Range. You will "maintain control of your time" much more easily taking a scheduled train (the oldest cog railway in the world) to the top rather than by driving.

Still, if you are determined to go to the Auto Road, stop at the AMC facility in Pinkham Notch and stroll up to Crystal Cascade (if you are not walkers) or go all the way to Tuckerman Ravine, if you are strong ones. An intermediate walk is to Lowe's Bald Spot, north of Pinkham, where you climb a bit through woods to stand on a rocky knoll completely surrounded by mountains with no evidence of civilization.

In Crawford Notch, near the Mt Washington Hotel, you can park at the AMC facility and take the easy walk up to Mt Willard, where a clearing gives you splendid views down the length of Crawford Notch. On the other side of the highway, it is a brief scramble to the top of Elephant Rock, a nice place for a picnic, also with good views.

If you venture to Franconia Notch, home of the Old Man of the Mountains until it collapsed (!), you can take the lift to the top of Cannon Mountain for extensive views with no exercise at all!

Now, if what you want is real adventure, schedule a guided climb on Cathedral Ledge or Frankenstein Cliff with International Mountain Equipment in North Conway.

You should be aware that while September has wonderful weather to be in the mountains, with great long distance views, it will be chilly at night and on the summits, and there may be light snow on the summits.
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Old Jul 7th, 2012, 03:03 PM
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Thanks Ack,
I'm getting back to the details of this trip and see what you mean about the Cog Railway vs. the Auto Road. So one of my other concerns about the Railway is that I didn't want to buy tickets in advance in case there was a change of plans or bad weather,etc. Do you know if buying tickets onsite is risky...do they sell out?

I'm also looking at a plan for some sightseeing in the area and need to know if the drive I'm looking at is reasonable. After the visit to the top of Mt. Washington I thought we could do the following drive.

Cog Railway to Lincoln via Hwy.3 and I-93. We would like to make brief stops at Franconia Notch and The Flume.

Then take the Kancamagus to Conway and then back to our lodge near Crawford Notch with a stop at Cathedral Ledge.

Is that too much for one day?
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Old Jul 8th, 2012, 06:54 AM
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No, it is not too much. It means a certain amount of "driving past", but it's trees, right?

Along the Kankamagus, there are various areas to pull over and have a stroll. One in particular, soon after you leave Lincoln is next to a bridge and a rushing river. My son and I used to cross country ski up the trail beside the river, an easy trip because it is a gentle former railroad grade.

After the highway ends and you enter Conway on 16, look sharp and take a left at the cute public library onto West Side Road. If you stay on West Side Road, you will miss North Conway and its madness and wind up on 302 (Crawford Notch Road) in Bartlett. It also takes you right past the foot of Cathedral Ledge.

You are missing out on Pinkham Notch, and if you could steal the time your first day or your departure day, it is a quick ride to the AMC center at the Notch and take a quick walk to Crystal Cascade or a longer walk to Lowe's Bald Spot or a real hike up to Tuckerman Ravine.
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Old Jul 8th, 2012, 07:11 AM
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I love driving the Kankamagus. Lots of photo ops along this route.
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 09:18 PM
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It won't take you very long to drive from the auto road to the Mt. Washington Hotel, so you could do the drive rather than the RR if that's your preference. Where will you be staying? You may find some useful info. in the trip report I just posted.
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 09:19 PM
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Here's the link to my trip report: http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...uly-6-2012.cfm
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