Visiting New Hampshire's Biodiversity


Alpine Garden: Alpine Zone



Description: The Alpine Garden is a broad plateau, high above treeline on the eastern shoulder of Mt. Washington. This is a spectacular place to visit the rare plants and exemplary natural communities of the alpine zone. The site contains a wide diversity of low-growing alpine plants, and when the weather is good the views are truly extraordinary. The best time for viewing plants in bloom is early June. As with all areas above treeline, the vegetation here is fragile and extremely susceptible to trampling. Please stay on the marked trails and keep impact to a minimum. 

The Alpine Garden contains a diverse mosaic of alpine natural community types, and is a good place to see all of the component communities of the
alpine tundra system.

Directions:
Accessible by a number of hiking trails up Mt. Washington, or take the Mt. Washington Auto Road to the 7-mile post, park, and take the Huntington Ravine Trail down to the Alpine Garden (about a quarter mile, but steep!). Visitors must pay very careful attention to and be prepared for the weather on Mt. Washington, where conditions change rapidly and some of the world's highest windspeeds have been recorded!

Landowner: White Mountain National Forest

Images (hold mouse over image for caption)

Alpine Garden from the auto road (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) a mix of flowering species in the Alpine Garden (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Carex bigelowii (Bigelow's sedge) is common in the Alpine Garden (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) Diapensia lapponica (diapensia) is a very common cushion plant in the alpine tundra system (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) Rhododendron lapponicum (Lappland rosebay) blooms in late spring and early summer in the Alpine Garden (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Loiseleuria procumbens (alpine azalea) in bloom along the Alpine Garden Trail (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) Viburnum edule (squashberry) leaves (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Looking east from the Alpine Garden (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) Hiking south along the Alpine Garden Trail in June (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Geum peckii (mountain avens) in flower in the Alpine Garden (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) gnarled stem of Salix uva-ursi (bearberry willow) in the Alpine Garden (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Lappland rosebay and Diapensia flowering together (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) felsenmeer boulders adjacent to the Alpine Garden (the word felsenmeer means "sea of rocks") (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

The Alpine Garden plateau (middle of image) as seen from the summit of Mt. Washington (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
The Alpine Garden plateau (middle of image) as seen from
the summit of Mt. Washington (photo by Ben Kimball)

Alpine Garden site map (1:24,000 scale USGS topo quad)

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