Best Time To Hike Mt Washington! (Beginners Guide)

Best Time To Hike Mt Washington

Mt Washington is a popular mountain, albeit dangerous for hikers. Hiking up Mt Washington is very strenuous. 

Because of the steep slopes, the high elevation, and the volatile, unpredictable weather, regardless of the dangers, hikers go up the various trails all year round. 

However, the best time to hike Mt Washington is during the summer, between July and August. The hiking trails aren’t likely to be covered with snow and ice during the summer, and the weather is a little more predictable. 

What Time Should I Hike Mt Washington?

Best Time To Hike Mt Washington

The best time to hike Mt Washington is during the summer when it’s dry, and the weather is more agreeable

The weather on Mt Washington is always very unpredictable and often changes without warning.

A dry, humid day can quickly turn into a rainy day with strong winds and tornadoes. 

But during the summer, the weather is more tolerable. So, if you want to hike Mt Washington, the best time to do it is between July and August

During the winter, the trails get steeper and even more dangerous because they are filled with ice and snow. 

The trails are already steep and difficult to navigate. With the ice and snow, hiking can be a real danger. 

So, unless you’re a skilled and experienced hiker, don’t go hiking on Mt Washington in winter. 

While summer is a better time to hike Mt Washington, there are also unexpected thunderstorms on Mt Washington during the summer. 

Snow and ice begin to build in and around the trails from late fall through winter. One wrong step in those conditions could be fatal. 

But, the overall hike is more enjoyable and safer if you do it during the summer.

How Difficult Is the Mt Washington Hike?

Mount Washington is one of the most difficult mountains to hike. 

Mt Washington, which rises to 6,288 ft above sea level, is the highest peak in New Hampshire and the highest point in New England

Hence, it is often referred to as the most dangerous small mountain in the world. 

The high mountain is notorious for its dangerous steps and difficult trails, and no fewer than 160 people have lost their lives trying to get to the summit of Mt Washington. 

There are several trails hikers use to get to the summit, but some hikers tend to lose their way as some of the trails don’t have markers. 

Mt Washington has been called the home of bad weather. The authorities encourage hikers to check the weather forecast before they take off on a hike. 

But often, the weather changes dramatically and without warning. The dangerous and unpredictable weather further compounds the already difficult hike atop Mt Washington.

And this unpredictable change in weather makes the hike additionally difficult. The weather can worsen with severe storms, harsh winds, and heavy windy rains. 

That is why the authorities encourage only experienced hikers to take the hike. 

One of the more popular trails, the Tuckerman Ravine trail, is also one of the most dangerous; the weather can turn quickly. 

And there are no markings on the trail, so a hiker can easily get lost. Summiting Mt Washington is not a walk in the park, so a hiker must prepare adequately. 

Also, for safety, choose the best time to hike the mountain, research the safest routes and check the weather forecast before you go. 

The weather forecast is not always completely accurate, but it can be very helpful.

How Long Will It Take To Summit Mt Washington?

The average summit time is 8 hours. It will take an average hiker eight hours to reach the top of Mt Washington

Going up by the popular Tuckerman trail, about 4.2 miles one-way, will take about eight hours. 

Also, hiking a mountain will take longer than walking the same distance on a paved street. 

On a mountain hike, you must navigate boulders, steep stones, and rough rocky trails, sometimes in unpredictable weather. 

Some experienced hikers reach the summit in six hours, but that is more common among experienced hikers, some of whom have climbed the mountain before. 

It takes regular hikers eight hours or even more to reach the summit. 

Several factors affect the speed of a hiker and the amount of time it takes them to summit Mt Washington. The weather is a very serious factor. 

Mt Washington is known as the home of bad weather. And even in the summer, there can be heavy rains, winds, and fog in the mountain. 

It is not unlikely to ascend Mt Washington and find out that the weather on the summit is 30° colder than the weather below. 

It’s not uncommon to feel a gentle breeze at the trailhead on Mt Washington, only to metamorphose into a hurricane-force wind on the mountain’s summit. 

And these hurricane-force winds happen every four days on Mt Washington.

So if you’re planning on hiking it, take the 48hr weather forecasts and weather information very seriously.

In addition to the weather, the trail you choose to climb can also affect your speed, and the time it will take. 

So will your fitness and stamina. For such a high mountain, climbing can cramp your knees and weaken your ankles. 

And if you’re not fit, you will move very slowly and take a lot of time. So, get your mind and body in shape before you hike Mt Washington.

What Is the Best Route To Hike Mt Washington?

There are many routes to get to the top of Mt Washington, each with unique selling points. 

Some trails are popular because the climb is easier, others because of the exciting sights along the way, and others because the elevation is lower. 

But, the most popular route to hike Mt Washington is the Tuckerman Ravine trail. It is one of the shortest trails with the best scenes and sights on the way up the mountain. 

The trail is 4.2 miles long and starts at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Also, it is the most hiked trail on Mt Washington. 

The Tuckerman Ravine trail is not only short, but the elevation is not very high, and the sights on the way are lovely. 

That’s why the trail is very popular among hikers; the trail is steeper and the least dangerous, especially in the winter when there is ice and snow on other terrains. 

The Tuckerman Ravine trail is usually snow-free and has no ice, especially during the winter when other trails are covered with snow and ice.

In addition to the Tuckerman Ravine trail, the Lion Head trail is the second most popular. The trail is less steep and has low elevation. 

But it is not very popular among hikers because it does not have the sights along the Tuckerman Ravine. 

It is also ice-free, and the elevation is also not high. The easiest trail, though, is the Jewell trail.

In addition to the Tuckerman Ravine trail and the Lion Head trail, there are several other trails that hikers use to climb the mountain. 

The Jewell trail, the Boott Spur trail, and the Ammonoosuc trail. These five trails are the most popular.

So, if you want to hike Mt Washington, do all the necessary research about the trail you want to hike.

Mt Washington TrailsDistance Going UpElevation
Jewell trail5.2 miles4,000 feet
Ammonoosuc trail4.5 miles4,100 feet
Boott Spur trail5.4 miles5,500 feet
Lion’s head trail4.2 miles 4,300 feet
Tuckerman Ravine trail4.2 miles4,200 feet


The best time to hike Mt Washington is during summer; the weather is better and more predictable. 

It’s also better to begin a hike early in the morning, between 6 am and 10 am, when your body is well rested and relaxed.

Josh Matthews

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