Climb to the Clouds Aboard the Mt Washington Cog Railway in NH

One of the highlights of our summer vacation in the Mount Washington Valley was the Mt Washington Cog Railway. The Cog Railway is truly a can’t miss activity when you’re visiting the area. Steeped in history with incredible mountain views, this train ride takes you to the highest peak in New England, the home of the world’s worst weather, aka, Mt. Washington. The Cog Railway is the world’s first mountain climbing train and the only Cog Railway East of the Rockies!cog railway collage

Fun fact, years ago my grandfather was a locomotive operator on the Cog Railway! Yet, I’d never made it on board one of the trains until this summer with my family while vacationing in the Mt Washington Valley of NH. I don’t know why I waited so long and I promise I’ll be doing it again once my granddaughter is old enough to appreciate the ride and all that boarding the Cog Railway has to offer! I took SO many photographs it is so hard to share them all with you here. You can watch my Facebook Live video recorded as we approached the summit here but I will warn you that no photos or videos can do this experience true justice. You’ve got to see it for yourself! 

Be sure to save plenty of time for visiting and exploring the gift shop at the base and enjoying a snack before or after your trip. There’s a fun museum area to explore both inside and out and a brand new trout pond where kids and adults alike will enjoy feeding the giant fish! On the summit you’ll have an hour built in to your itinerary to explore the Weather Observatory, take your iconic summit sign photo and visit the weather museum. There’s also a snack bar here but tends to be a bit crowded depending on weather, season and time of day since it’s also serving hikers and those driving up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. There’s a gift shop on the summit as well. But, the best part, if you’re lucky to visit on a clear day is 100% the view! You will feel like you are on top of the world, and, you almost are if the world was only as big as the Northeast. 

All About the Cog Railway

Find schedules, ticket information and more about the Cog Railway here. In the meantime, here’s the general overview from their website:

Passengers will experience a sense of adventure and history on the Mount Washington Cog Railway’s 3-hour guided train tour to the highest peak in the Northeast. With approximately one hour to spend at the 6,288 foot summit, visitors can take in the spectacular panoramic view, spanning the mountains and valleys of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, north into Canada, and east to the Atlantic Ocean.

Visitors will delight in exploring the mountain-top community which includes the Sherman Adams Visitors Center, Mount Washington Observatory’s Weather Museum and 1853 Tip Top House. Visitors can send a postmarked stamp from the top of Mount Washington and get their photo taken at the summit marker.

Whether examining the history and memorabilia of The Cog at the Marshfield Station, where the original “Old Peppersass” engine is on display, or exploring the fascinating weather and ecosystem of the mountain at the summit of Mount Washington, visitors will find plenty to thrill and entertain at the Mount Washington Cog Railway.

Passengers may choose to take the three-hour round trip in a vintage coach powered by a historic steam locomotive or the more modern and eco-friendly biodiesel engines. Check the schedule online for available trains and times. Due to the popularity of trips, advance booking is recommended.

mt washington summit

Mount Washington Cog Railway History

Want to learn more about the Cog Railway and just who thinks up putting a train track on the side of a super steep mountain? Check out this fantastic video from PBS all about the history of the Cog Railway! 


Thank you to the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce for arranging our visit and to the Cog Railway for hosting the ButeauFull Chaos clan! 

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