Scenic tram and chairlift rides are great ways to enjoy the outdoors and see some of the region’s spectacular alpine venues in a different light. Many lifts are opening this summer as pandemic restrictions ease. Some will operate on weekends only. Check resort websites or call ahead for precise operating schedules and restrictions.
Stowe’s Gondola SkyRide whisks you to the summit of Mount Mansfield, where you can inhale the beauty of majestic mountain vistas and access a variety of hiking trails. The ZipTour Adventure takes you soaring through and above the trees, sometimes as high as 180 feet, starting near the summit. For an ultimate outdoor experience, add the TreeTop Adventures with its suspended bridges, rope ladders, swinging logs, nets and more.
At Okemo, take a scenic ride on the Sunburst Six chairlift and get a different perspective of the Vermont landscape. Hike the trails, have a picnic, take photos, then you’ll be able to hike all the way down or ride the lift back when you are done. The K-1 Express Gondola to the top of 4,241-foot Killington Peak, Vermont’s second tallest and highest lift-serviced peak, is open for breathtaking views and access to 15 miles of designated hiking trails in addition to the Appalachian and Long trails. Stratton’s gondola is open for rides to southern Vermont’s highest peak. Sugarbush, Mount Snow and most other resorts in the Green Mountain State will open their chairlifts.
Cannon Mountain offers New Hampshire’s only aerial tramway and North America’s first. A cable car brings visitors to the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain in under 10 minutes. On a clear day, you can see the mountains of four states and Canada. At the summit, you’ll find spectacular scenic walking paths, a 360-degree observation deck, a cafe and restrooms. Online, advance reservations for the Tramway are required this summer.
At Gunstock, enjoy a leisurely 15-minute ride to the summit, where you will disembark to marvel at beautiful views of Lake Winnipesaukee, Mount Washington and the Belknap, Ossipee, Squam and Presidential mountain ranges. Explore hiking trails from the top of the mountain, or bring a picnic lunch.
At Loon Mountain Resort, you can take New Hampshire’s longest scenic Gondola Skyride to the summit of Loon Peak, where breathtaking views and high-altitude adventure await. Guests can enjoy a scenic 10-minute ride to the summit of Loon Peak in the four-person Gondola Skyride. At the end of the 1.3-mile ascent, you’ll enter a high alpine world of refreshing breezes and stunning mountain views.
There are a few options in New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley, highlighted by chairlift rides at Wildcat Mountain in Pinkham Notch, which give riders to the summit an unparalleled view of neighboring Mount Washington. Enjoy a scenic ride on the Bretton Woods Skyway Gondola for breathtaking views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range. The 12-minute ride up takes you to the new Rosebrook Lodge and on-mountain dining at the Switchback Grille along with grab and go snacks and beverages at Peaks Cafe.
Cranmore also is reopening summer activities, including the Meister Hut and chairlift rides.
In Maine, Sunday River boasts that its Chondola is dog-, kid- and grandparent-friendly, so you’ll want to pack up your whole family for this scenic adventure, offering sweeping views of the Sunday River Valley and Mahoosuc Mountains, including the third-highest peak in Maine, Old Speck. ′
Auto Road is your portal to new heights
The Mount Washington Auto Road, opened in 1861, is North America’s first manmade attraction and helped put North Conway and the Mount Washington Valley on the map as a tourist destination.
While it was originally a bridal path to the summit, visitors today embark on self-guided driving tours, stopping at viewpoints and listening to fun facts about the changing and fragile ecosystems along the way.
The privately-owned and operated Auto Road climbs 4,618 feet from the base and reaches more than a mile in the sky to the highest point in the Northeast at 6,288 feet.
The Auto Road drive yourself rate is $39 driver and car ($45 at peak times), $14 each additional adult, $9 children ages 5-12. The fee is $25 for motorcycles. A two-hour guided tour runs $45 for adults ($51 peak), $40 for seniors and military, $10-$25 for children.
The Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb will return this summer. The bike event is set for Aug. 21.