A trip to the White Mountains is not complete without seeing the views from the highest peak in the northeast at the top of Mount Washington. There are 3 ways to get to the top of Mount Washington, hike it, drive it, or take The Mount Washington Cog Railway.
I can’t hike up a hill never mind a 6,288-foot mountain, plus I have three kids in tow so that option went out the window quickly.
Many people drive up the mountain, however, I get an anxiety attack driving in town, so windy roads on the side of a mountain didn’t sound like a peaceful afternoon. Plus I had nightmares of my brakes failing and my car overheating when I considered it, so driving was a “no-way”.
The Cog Railway was exactly what we needed. We pulled up, and parked, got our tickets, then sat back and enjoyed the views throughout the 3-hour guided train tour.
After getting our tickets at the ticket booth, we watched the trains come down the mountain as we waited for our train to start boarding.
I definitely recommend arriving at the base early. There is no assigned seating, so if you are riding with kids or really want to sit with your party, make sure to get in line early.
The Cog Railway is a fun and unique train ride that takes us straight to the top of Mount Washington while explaining the history of the mountain and Cog while letting passengers sit back and relax enjoying the ride and the view!
The trains are beautiful and it is amazing when you realize this machine can climb straight to the summit of Mount Washington.
The black train is an authentic coal-fired steam engine train that departs at 8:00 am or 9:00 am during the summer season.
The kids loved watching this train come down the mountain with the steam coming out and the horn honking.
As we took the hour-long tour up the mountain, the views were breathtaking.
The kids loved learning all about how the trains worked and where the brakes were, so the Cog Railway tour was awesome for them.
I loved that I could sit back and really enjoy the incredible views, especially once we go above tree level.
Soon we started to see hikers and the Mount Washington Observatory, and we learned that it had snowed just a week prior to our visit. That’s right, it was snowing at the top of Mount Washington in late June!
Once we arrived at the top of the mountain, we were let off of the train to explore for an hour.
At the top of Mount Washington, there is much more than just breathtaking views. While the views are incredibly stunning and span as far north as Canada and as far east as the Atlantic ocean, my kids would quickly become bored of looking at mountains and valleys.
First, we got a traditional picture at the summit, because if you reach the highest peak in the northeast, even if it was by way of train and not hiking, you get a picture!
After taking our picture at the summit, we headed over to the Tip Top House. This hotel was created in 1853 way before access to the top of the mountain was improved. The stone building was renovated in 1986 with period furnishings and has become a tourist attraction on the summit.
Next, we headed over to the Visitors Center, which offered restrooms, a cafeteria, gift shop, and a museum. The museum was a huge hit with the kids. They learned about the animals that call Mount Washington home, the radical weather that makes Mount Washington a Tundra, and even got to drive a simulated snowcat.
After taking a few more pictures of the area and letting the kids quickly check out the cool tracks, we got in line for our trip down the mountain.
For some reason, going up the 6,288 feet didn’t bother my nerves, however going down had me a little nervous.
At one point it actually felt like if we stood up we would be vertical! The kids loved it, even though we were only going miles an hour, they thought going down the steep mountain ladders was amazing. I, on the other hand, was watching the tour guide control the brakes on the front.
After a little while, I was able to calm myself down and get comfortable for the hour-long trip down. I figured I was safe considering the Cog Railway has been around since 1869. So I went back to enjoying the views while the kids were entertained by the steep downward ride.
The Cog Railway was an amazing experience for both the kids and myself. If you visiting the Mount Washington Area, this is a must do family attraction!
The tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable about the history of The Cog and Mount Washington.