Tucked within the White Mountains of New Hampshire lies Flume Gorge, an 800-foot ravine with massive granite walls that extend up to 90 feet high. It cuts a deep fissure through the serene wooded landscape and was first discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old “Aunt” Jess Guernsey on a fishing trip. Not only is Flume Gorge one of the most beautiful gorges in New Hampshire, it’s also considered one of America’s most beautiful State Parks.
WHAT IS FLUME GORGE?
A gorge is a deep channel or canyon created by rivers that slowly erode through hills or mountains. This process takes many thousands of years, and Flume Gorge is one of North America's most impressive examples.
Rising from the base of Mount Liberty, Flume Gorge started to form during the Jurassic era—around 200 million years ago.
Today, visitors can venture into the heart of the massive gorge on the Flume Gorge trail. This two-mile roundtrip trail has wide gravel paths, wooden walkways, and covered bridges that snake through verdant forests and past gushing waterfalls.
TOP 7 MUST-SEE SIGHTS
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Franconia Notch State Park, we’ve compiled a list of the can’t-miss spots on the Flume Gorge trail. Our list starts at the Visitors Center and travels northeast to complete a clockwise loop. All along the way you’ll enjoy scenic pools, glacial boulders, and spectacular mountain views.
1. The Flume Covered Bridge
Originally built in 1886, your first stop is one of the oldest covered wooden bridges in New Hampshire. This famous “kissing bridge” is 50 feet long, spanning the Pemigewasset River and Flume Gorge below. As you walk along the pedestrian footbridge, take in the picturesque views that make this one of the state’s most charming historic landmarks.
2. Table Rock
Over the course of thousands of years, racing waters of Flume Brook slowly exposed this large table of rock that today measures 500 feet long and 75 feet wide. From the safety of the walking path, witness this true testament to the power of water and time.
Note: Although picturesque, the rocks can be extremely slippery and are not safe. Stay on the trail.
3. Avalanche Falls
Both the Flume and Rim Paths eventually lead here, and we recommend pausing to observe the 45-foot waterfall created during a massive storm in 1883. It is said that the storm washed away a huge egg-shaped boulder that was suspended between the gorge walls. The absence of the boulder caused a rush of water that hence formed these scenic falls.
4. Liberty Gorge Cascade
Located between the Avalanche Falls and The Pool, this eye-catching mountain stream is a must-see site. A bend in the Ridge Path portion of the trail will take you to a picturesque lookout of the beautiful cascading creek that flows through the narrow valley.
5. Sentinel Pine Bridge and Pool
After winding your way through a few curves in the trail, arrive at the impressive Sentinel Pine Bridge. This covered bridge is built on top of a giant pine tree that was uprooted during a 1938 hurricane. If you look closely as you approach the bridge, you’ll notice the original tree still rests underneath the pedestrian path.
Standing on the Sentinel Pine Bridge, look down over The Pool. Surrounded by soaring cliffs that reach up to 130 feet high, this deep river basin was formed by rushing glacial water over 14,000 years ago.
6. Wolf Den
Interact with the region’s ancient granite rockface in this narrow, one-way path. Experience firsthand what it feels like to be in a gorge as you walk, climb, and crawl through the rocks. It’s something you won’t soon forget!
7. Glacial Boulders
On the final stretch of this scenic two-mile trail called the Wildwood Path, pass through the incredible boulder field. This fascinating area was created over 25,000 years ago by a mile-thick ice sheet so powerful that it moved boulders as heavy as 300 tons!
The Best Time to Visit Flume Gorge
The natural beauty of Flume Gorge is undeniable. To experience it at its best, we recommend visiting in the fall. The crisp weather, smaller crowds, and beautiful fall foliage make this place an outstanding destination for an autumn getaway. You won’t regretting visiting in the autumn months and capturing the vibrant fall colors.
See Flume Gorge with YMT Vacations
Traverse the historic northeast during the peak of the fall foliage season on YMT Vacations’ Autumn Leaves Tour. On this 14-day tour, travel from New York City to Canada, with visits to the White Mountains and Flume Gorge. Throughout the journey, the vibrant oranges, yellows, and deep reds of the changing leaves are the stars of the show. To learn more or make your reservation, contact your travel agent or call us at 888-756-9072.