Mount Washington Auto Road
|Mount Washington Auto Road|
|Length:||7.6 mi (12.2 km)|
|Existed:||1861 – present|
|East end:||NH 16 at Pinkham Notch|
|West end:||Mount Washington summit|
The Mount Washington Auto Road (originally Mount Washington Carriage 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 US 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.
The Auto Road may be traversed by private vehicles, and there are also guided tours in vans, called stages. The toll on private cars includes a bumper sticker with the text, "THIS CAR CLIMBED MT. WASHINGTON".
The road has a series of sensors located at various altitudes along it. The sensors transmit weather data via a solar-powered radio link.
In July, the mountain road hosts Newton's Revenge, and in August the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, both of which are bicycle races that run the same route as the road race. The hillclimb's most notable victor to date has been former Tour de France contender Tyler Hamilton. The climb is regarded as one of the world's toughest for cyclists - it features a greater altitude gain, and is steeper, than the Mortirolo Pass, the Monte Zoncolan, and the Alto de El Angliru, and is far steeper than any of the famous climbs featured in the Tour de France.
Another event, although not a race, is the annual MINIs On Top event. Now in its 12th year, the drive to the summit began with 73 BMW MINI Cooper and Cooper S vehicles and now exceeds 200 cars. The only reason more MINIs don't drive to the summit is the fact there's not enough space to hold all the cars, despite their diminutive size. MINIs On Top (or MOT) is held the Saturday of Father's Day weekend every June.