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The Mt. Washington Valley
New Hampshire

Climate & Seasons

photo of fall foliage in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire
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Climate & Seasons


Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 2300
North Conway, NH 03860
(603) 356-5701
Fax: (603) 356-7069

The Mt. Washington Valley bursts full of life in the spring. The melting snow swells the rivers and streams, which thunder over rocks and falls with a sound that seems to say, "It's finally here!" Overhead, migrating birds return from their winter feeding grounds. The floor of the woodland smells musty and full of life. Bright green fiddleheads unfurl. Delicate ladyslippers, trillium, and other early bloomers flower in a forest yet to display its leaves. Springtime in the valley's alpine tundra reaches its peak in June when the gardens begin to show their blossoms.

Spring is an ideal, slower paced time of year to visit. Roads bustle with bicyclists, joggers, and walkers as residents and visitors alike welcome the return of warmer weather. Some people even consider spring to be the best season of all for skiing. While golfers may be teeing off on the valley floor, snowmaking allows many slopes and trails to remain open long after the daffodils have flowered to the south. Spring is prime time to ski Tuckerman Ravine on Mt. Washington.

It's also a time to leisurely explore the valley's nooks and crannies. Some of the shops that are closed in the winter now reopen with a flourish and often even a sale. From antiques and crafts to specialty shops, each offers a variety of items, many of which are unique to the valley. Additionally, there are the tax-free outlet shops, stocking everything from clothes to china to kitchenware on their shelves. You name it and you'll find it in one of the valley's outlet stores.

All in all, spring is a relaxing, easy-paced season which reaches its climax with the opening of most of the area attractions during weekends in May.

Summer: Long before skis, snowboards, and snowshoes came to the area, the Mt. Washington Valley was a favorite summer destination spot for weary urbanites who made their way up to the White Mountains via train from Boston and other cities along the northeast corridor. Then, as now, choices of outdoor recreation and entertainment were seemingly endless. Canoeing, hiking, camping, golf, tennis, biking, and swimming are some of the outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by novice, as well as advanced, outdoorsmen. Live theater productions, arts presentations, an international equestrian event, a jazz festival, and even a rodeo are highlights of this summer's busy calender of events. And with the lights of the city all but absent, the summer skies are crystal clear and dazzling with starlight. Just stand in an open park or field and take your children on a celestial cruise like nothing they've seen before. Such are the wonders of summer in the Mt. Washington Valley.

Autumn: During September and October, daytime temperatures in the valley range from 50 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually the farther north or higher in altitude you go, the cooler the temperature is. And as the nights cool off and you can start to see your breath wisping in front of your face in the brisk evening air, you enter perhaps one of the most beautiful and magical times of the year in New England.

This is the perfect time of year to watch the brilliant spectacle of the leaves changing color as the weather cools. This phenomenon signals that the trees are preparing for winter. In fall, partly because of shorter periods of daylight and cooler temperatures, the leaves stop making the food so vital for the tree's survival. The chlorophyll, which had driven the food-creating photosynthesis process during the warm months, now breaks down in the cooler temperatures, and the green color of the leaves disappears. Vibrant yellow and orange hues, previously masked by the green, suddenly appear.

The vibrant reds, purples, and bronzes come from other chemical processes. For instance, the brilliant red of maple trees is the result of sugar produced in the leaves during the warm days and then trapped by the nights' chill. The more sugar that accumulates, the brighter red the leaves turn. Also, the degree of color varies from tree to tree. Leaves directly exposed to the sun may turn red, while leaves on the shady side of the same tree may become yellow. Additionally, weather conditions play a role in the intensity of the fall foliage. A warm, rainy autumn generally results in leaves with less red coloration.

As colors vary from mountain tops to valleys and from day to day, there's no way to predict when the fall foliage will be at its peak. But one thing is for sure: only two places in the world have fall foliage this brilliant -- certain regions of Japan, and right here in New England. There's no better place to watch this colorful yearly spectacle than the White Mountains and Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire.

Winter: Mt. Washington is the picture of everything a New England winter resort should be with its charming villages, icy rivers and snow covered mountains that rise majestically against brilliant blue skies. With seven terrific downhill ski areas, numerous resorts, and cross-country ski trails, you can be sure that the snow is glorious, soft and plentiful. When many places buckle-down for the winter, Mt. Washington Valley comes alive for another season of vacation fun and winter festivals. Mountain sides are dotted with happy skiers, and decks are filled with those resting from a active day, and at the end of the day firesides offer a warm place to share a hot-toddy. Winter nights in New Hampshire are magical as sparkling lights illuminate snow covered trees. No wonder this area has the reputation of being New England's favorite winter vacation destination!

Mt. Washington Valley Weather Information
(603) 447-5252

Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 2300
North Conway, NH 03860
(603) 356-5701
Fax: (603) 356-7069
Email: info@mtwashingtonvalley.org

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