The Flume Gorge
The Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch State Park in Lincoln, NH is a naturally made gorge created by glaciers. The gorge extends 800 feet at the base of Mt. Liberty. The walls of granite rise to a height of 90 feet and range from 12 to 20 feet apart. The state park is almost 6,700 acres. Every year, hundreds of feet of the Flume pathway (as seen in the photo to the right) is removed due to large amounts of ice build up on the walls of the Flume Gorge. Ice can get 3 to 4 feet thick and rise up to 80 feet high on the walls of the Flume. The pathway is rebuilt every Spring to allow visitors to walk the Flume pathway. The pathway of the Flume is normally reopened by Memorial Day weekend.
Best times to go to The Flume Gorge is in late Spring when the winter snow melt contributes to the water in the streams, giving a spectacular view of the waterfalls. Another great time to go is during the Fall Foliage season in New Hampshire. The tree colors and the dry cool days make it a great experience! It can also make a great refuge from the hot summer heat.
Keep in mind that it can be quite cool and damp when you are in the flume itself. Also, if you are claustrophobic you may want to prepare yourself for walking up the narrow flume. There are a few places that have tall rock walls, but once through that small part it gets much easier.
The Flume attracts many visitors from all over the world and is usually fairly busy, but don’t let the crowded parking lot full of cars and buses scare you away, The Flume is a big place, the trail itself is over a mile long and the parking is also for other nearby trails as well.
While walking The trail at The Flume, you will go from paved areas, over The Flume Covered Bridge over the Pemigewasset River onto wooden pathways, to dirt trails. You will also see Avalanch Falls and Liberty Gorge Cascade. During your hike on The Flume trail, and after you go through The Flume itself, you will see 2 trails that are on your left. The trails offer a view of “The Pool.” Many people walk right past these 2 trails, but in fact offer some of the most breath taking views The Flume has to offer. So be sure you don’t just walk by these 2 trails (unless you are afraid of heights!). Shortly after this part of the trail, you will come across another covered bridge, this is the Sentinel Pine Covered Bridge. But don’t just walk over the bridge without reading the plaque! The bridge was built on top of a fallen tree in 1939. The tree fell during a storm. After you cross the bridge, be sure to walk up the hill and look back at the bridge, under it, you will see the tree trunk! Read more about the Sentinel Pine Covered Bridge or The Flume Covered Bridge at The Flume in Lincoln NH.
Immediately after the Sentinel Covered Bridge is a cave. The “Wolf’s Den.” Which is a rock cave just big enough to squeeze through (better for kids than adults).
From this point, the Flume trail soon completes a circle and brings you back to the Flume visitor center near the parking lot.
The Flume Gorge & Visitor Center is open early May to Late October
On I-93/Route 3, Franconia Notch Parkway, Lincoln/Franconia
The Flume Parking Area GPS Coordinates: N44° 05.814′ | W071° 40.945′
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