New Hampshire’s Flume Gorge Is Like Walking Through Another World

Imagine walking through a spectacular natural gallery, where walls of Conway granite tower up to 90 feet above you, and the space between narrows to a mere 12 feet across. 

This is Flume Gorge, located in Franconia Notch State Park, a place where nature’s artistry is on vivid display.

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 The gorge extends 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty, and the entire area is accessible via a two-mile loop trail that promises awe at every turn.

This geological feature was formed nearly 200 million years ago but was only discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old “Aunt” Jess Guernsey while she was fishing.

A Hiker’s Delight

The main attraction of Flume Gorge is the two-mile loop trail that includes wooden walkways built directly into the gorge, allowing you to feel enveloped by the stone walls and cascading waters. 

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The trail not only offers intimate views of the gorge itself but also leads to other scenic spots like Liberty Gorge, a smaller but equally stunning chasm, and beautiful waterfalls including Avalanche Falls, which plunges 45 feet into the gorge.

Start Your Adventure: Glacial Boulder

Your journey begins at a striking reminder of the last Ice Age—the Glacial Boulder. 

This colossal stone, carried by glacial ice, marks the start of your path and sets the tone for the natural marvels ahead.

Flume Covered Bridge

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A short stroll from the Glacial Boulder brings you to the Flume Covered Bridge. 

Dating back to 1886, this bright red bridge offers a picturesque crossing over the Pemigewasset River. 

It’s a popular spot for photos, especially with the rich tapestry of New England foliage in the backdrop.

Discovering Table Rock

Next up is Table Rock, a wide slab of granite that stretches across the river. 

This natural feature offers a splendid view of the water swirling around it, an ideal spot for a quick pause to soak in the serene sounds of flowing water.

The Heart of the Trail: Flume Gorge

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The real highlight begins as you step onto the boardwalks that lead into Flume Gorge itself. 

Here, the path weaves through lush vegetation, and staircases lead you up close to the towering granite walls, adorned with moss and echoing the rush of streams below. 

It’s a humbling experience, walking through this magnificent corridor, carved by time and the elements.

Avalanche Falls

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Just beyond the gorge, you’ll encounter Avalanche Falls, where water cascades down 45 feet into the gorge. 

The sound of the waterfall adds to the immersive natural experience, making it a perfect spot for reflection and perhaps a few more snapshots.

Reaching the Summit Overlook

As you continue upward, the trail leads to the Summit Overlook, offering expansive views of the surrounding White Mountains. 

The overlook provides a breathtaking panorama that’s particularly striking during the fall, with a mosaic of autumn colors stretching into the distance.

The Pool and Sentinel Covered Bridge

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Descending from the summit, make a stop at The Pool, a deep basin in the Pemigewasset River framed by steep cliffs. 

Nearby, the Sentinel Covered Bridge offers another picturesque vantage point, its 1939 wooden structure providing a rustic contrast to the natural stone and water features.

A Peek into the Wolf Den

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Towards the end of the trail, the adventurous can duck into the Wolf Den, a narrow cave that invites the bold to scramble through its rocky interior. 

It’s a fun detour for those willing to explore on hands and knees.

Concluding Your Journey

As your loop concludes, the Flume Building welcomes you back with exhibits detailing the history and geology of the gorge. 

It’s a chance to reflect on your adventure through this geological wonder before heading back to the modern world.

The Flume Gorge Trail is not just a hike; it’s an experience that connects you deeply with nature’s enduring power and beauty.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a family looking for an unforgettable day trip, this trail promises to enrich your love for the great outdoors. 

So lace up your boots, grab your camera, and prepare for a journey through time at the Flume Gorge.