The Flume Gorge is a natural gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. It is smack dab in the middle of Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire. The Flume Gorge was discovered in 1808 and this natural wonder will leave you completely awe-struck! Waterfalls, mountains, and caves along the trail make it a fun family hike in New Hampshire. There is even a restored covered bridge along the path! Take your time on the hike and truly take in the wonder of Mother Nature. If you are in New Hampshire, The Flume Gorge is a must-see attraction.
The Flume Gorge is a remarkable natural wonder in New England. A visit to the gorge will leave you utterly spellbound! Whether you are gazing up at the 90-foot high granite walls or marvel at the cascading waterfalls, The Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire is not to be missed. As you walk along the path from the Visitors Center to the Flume and back, you will end up walking 2 full miles. Some of the things you will see on your hike are historic covered bridges, glacial pools & boulders and wonderful mountain views. Trekking The Flume Gorge is genuinely a fun family hike in New Hampshire.
Trekking The flume Gorge is one of the most Fun Family Hikes in New Hampshire
“Aunt” Jess Guernsey, 93, discovered the Flume Gorge back in 1808. Since then countless visitors have gone to have their hand at trekking the Flume Gorge. Though you will pass waterfalls, glacial boulders and a covered bridge built in 1886, nothing quite compares to the walk through the gorge itself. The gorge is a true representation of the power of Mother Nature. Here is everything you need to know if you are planning a visit to The Flume Gorge.
Explore the Visitor Center
Before venturing outside to hike up to the Flume itself, guests must purchase tickets in the visitor center. In addition to a 20 minute film on the Franconia Notch State Park, there is a cafe, gift shop, information center and lots of displays! Additionally, there is even an 1874 Concord Coach on display so you can see how folks traveled in the olden days.
Many of the displays educate visitors about the geology and history of the area. The informative displays explain how the gorge was formed and how it has evolved over the years. The jaw-dropping image of a huge boulder lodged in the Flume until a massive rainstorm swept it away in 1883 in the visitor center is mind blowing. Apparently a heavy rainstorm in 1883 started a landslide that swept the boulder from its place. To this day it has never been found. Visitors exit through the visitor center, so you can always plan to spend time in there at the end of your visit.
Hike to the Gorge
The Flume Gorge is a chasm 800 feet long and up to 90 feet tall in some spots. It’s a two mile interactive round-trip hike, so it makes for a fun family-friendly outdoor adventure. The two miles are absolutely stunning and there are a lot of scenic areas for photo ops along the way. Table Rock, which is a large slab of granite rocks, can be found along the trail. It’s 500 feet long and 75 foot wide, so you can’t miss it.
The hike includes some uphill walking and lots of stairs. Once you’ve made your way about a mile up the dirt path however, it turns into boards. These boards are bolted into the rock to allow people to pass over the rushing water below. The boards, which are inspected every year, are safe to walk on. Because there are so many stairs, the path may be challenging for little ones or the elderly. It’s definitely not stroller friendly, either. The path near the falls can be slippery when wet, but the ridged wooden walkway helps prevent visitors from falling.
The gorge itself is spectacular and pictures just don’t do it justice. It’s something you really have to see for yourself to appreciate.
There is a bus available that brings visitors to the bottom of Flume Gorge. It will only save you about 1/2 mile of walking on flat terrain, though. There is no way around the harder part of the climb.
The Awesome Thundering Waterfalls
Located at the top of the gorge, Avalanche Falls is the crown jewel of The Flume Gorge. It’s a 45 foot waterfall with an observation deck above it. From the deck you can listen to the water crashing on the rocks below and it is absolutely magnificent. The massive rainstorm of 1883 washed away the hanging boulder, forming the falls.
The Liberty Gorge Cascade is on the path back to the visitor center. While it’s much smaller than the main attraction, Avalanche Falls, it is still breathtakingly beautiful. After passing over the falls, visitors will come to an observation deck built into the side of the cliff for a better view. Because of the location of the falls, it’s hard to see it anywhere but the observation deck.
Snap a Photo of the Flume Covered Bridge
The Flume Covered Bridge was built in 1866. One of the oldest covered bridges in the state of New Hampshire, the bridge has been renovated over the years. However, it is open to traffic. The covered bridge that stretches across the Pemigewasset River allows tour buses and maintenance vehicles to pass as needed. It’s also open to people on foot.
In the past, covered bridges were often called “kissing bridges” because of the privacy they provided. Whether you want to steal a kiss or simply just watch the raging water below, the Flume Covered Bridge is a wonderful part of the landscape.
More about The Flume Gorge
Unlike many of the other New Hampshire State Parks, there is an admission fee to see the Flume Gorge. It’s $16 for adults and a bit less for children. Because winters in New England can be brutal, the Flume Gorge is only open to the public from May-October. It is conveniently located right off of I-93 North.
The 2-mile self-guided nature walk through the Flume Gorge is a great way to spend a day with the family in New Hampshire. Other must-see New Hampshire attractions include the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Discovering covered bridges, amazing waterfalls, a scenic pool, and incredible mountain views makes trekking The Flume Gorge a fun family hike in New Hampshire.
What’s your favorite family hiking destination?