It's not for everyone and you must be properly prepared, but this exhilarating hike to Mt Washington's summit, New England's highest mountain, is one for the bucket list. Highlights on the 4.2-mile trail (one way) include climbing a glacial cirque, strolling across an alpine plateau and navigating a half-mile boulder field. On clear days, summit views sweep across five states.
The mountain is renowned for its frighteningly bad weather – the average temperature on the summit is 26.5°F (-3°C). The mercury has fallen as low as -47°F (-43°C), but only risen as high as 72°F (22°C). About 256in (more than 21ft) of snow falls each year. (One year, it was 47ft.) At times the climate can mimic Antarctica's, and hurricane-force winds blow every three days or so, on average. In fact, the second-highest wind speed ever recorded was here during a storm in 1934, when gusts reached 231mph.
If you attempt to hike to the summit, pack warm, windproof clothes and shoes, even in high summer, and always consult with Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) hut personnel. Don't be reluctant to turn back if the weather changes for the worse. Dozens of hikers who ignored such warnings and died are commemorated by trailside monuments and crosses.