Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft (1,917 m). It is famous for its dangerously erratic weather, and long held the record for the highest wind gust directly measured at the Earth's surface, 231 mph (372 km/h) (or 103 m/s), on the afternoon of April 12, 1934. It was known as Agiocochook, or "Home of the Great Spirit", before European settlers arrived.
The mountain is located in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, in Coos County, New Hampshire. It is the third highest state high point in the eastern U.S. and the most prominent peak in the Eastern United States.
While nearly the whole mountain is in the White Mountain National Forest, an area of 59 acres (0.24 km2) surrounding and including the summit is occupied by Mount Washington State Park.
The weather of Mount Washington is notoriously erratic. This is partly due to the convergence of several storm tracks, mainly from the South Atlantic, Gulf region and Pacific Northwest. The vertical rise of the Presidential Range, combined with its north-south orientation, makes it a significant barrier to westerly winds. Low-pressure systems are more favorable to develop along the coastline in the winter months due to the relative temperature differences between the Northeast and the Atlantic Ocean. With these factors combined, winds exceeding hurricane force occur an average of 110 days per year. From November to April, these strong winds are likely to occur during two-thirds of the days.
The mountain is part of a popular hiking area, with the Appalachian Trail crossing the summit and one of the Appalachian Mountain Club's eight mountain huts, the Lakes of the Clouds Hut, located on one of the mountain's shoulders. Winter recreation includes Tuckerman Ravine, famous for its Memorial Day skiing and its 45-degree slopes. The ravine is notorious for its avalanches, of which about 100 are recorded every year, and which have killed six people since 1849. Scores of hikers have died on the mountain in all seasons, due to harsh and rapidly changing conditions, as well as inadequate equipment, failing to plan for the wide variety of conditions which can occur above tree line, and poor decisions once the weather began to turn dangerous.
The weather at Mount Washington has made it a popular site for glider flying. In 2005, it was recognized as the 14th National Landmark of Soaring.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway is the world's first mountain-climbing cog railway (rack-and-pinion railway). It uses a Marsh rack system to climb Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA.
The railway ascends the mountain beginning at an elevation of approximately 2,700 feet (820 m) above sea level and ending at the summit of Mt. Washington at an elevation of 6,288 feet (1,917 m). It is the second steepest rack railway in the world with an average grade of over 25% and a maximum grade of 37.41%. The railway is still in operation, using seven steam locomotives and one biodiesel powered locomotive. The train ascends the mountain at 2.8 miles per hour (4.5 km/h) and descends at 4.6 mph (7.4 km/h), although the diesel can go up in as little as 37 minutes. It takes approximately 65 minutes to ascend and 40 minutes to descend. The railway is approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) long.
The Mount Washington Auto Road is a 7.6 mi (12.2 km) toll road that extends from New Hampshire Route 16 in Pinkham Notch to the summit of Mount Washington in the White Mountains of the U.S. state of New Hampshire. The road climbs 4,618 ft (1,408 m) from an altitude of 1,527 ft (465 m) at the bottom to 6,145 ft (1,873 m) at the top, an average gradient of 11.6%. The road was completed and opened to the public in 1861.