We slept in and had breakfast at the Woodstock Inn (which is free when you stay there and it’s more food than you could ever eat — such a deal!). Then we set out for the Flume Gorge which was just a quick drive north. It was really easy to get to off the highway, and there was plenty of parking.
October is the end of the season for the Flume Gorge as it closes for the winter. It was also really cold and snowing the morning we went so we avoided any crowds although I was pretty surprised at how many people were still there! Lots of people of all ages. It’s a great thing to do with kids as it’s just a 2-mile loop. The visitor’s center has bathrooms and food, so it’s a great stop on a trip.
There are lots of stairs and it’s a little steep but nothing most people couldn’t handle. You do have to be able to walk up stairs to do it. Since it was snowing and cold it was definitely slipper in some places so just hold on to the railing when you need to. We both had on our hiking boots so it wasn’t a big deal at all. There were little kids and families there.
You start at the visitor’s center where you do have to pay $16 for adults, $14 for kids, and free for kids under 5. You can combine this with a ticket for the Aerial Tramway but it had just closed a few days before we got there. I recommend going on this trip about a week earlier than we did! Early to mid-October would be prime. We were there mid-late October and had just missed peak foliage as some leaves had started to fall but it was still gorgeous with all the colors of the leaves.
Flowers, ferns, and moss grow in the flume so take a minute to stop, look around, and breathe in the clean air.
The Flume Gorge is located in the middle of Franconia Notch State Park in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old “Aunt” Jess Guernsey when she came upon it near her homestead.
At the base of Mount Liberty, the Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet. The walls are Conway granite and rise to a height of 70-90 feet and are anywhere from 12 to 20 feet apart.
This 2-mile walk is absolutely worth the $16 fee. There are also options to take a shuttle part of the way — don’t do it. The walk isn’t that long, and it’s lovely if you are physical able. The part through the gorge is much harder than the walk so if you can’t walk that you probably can’t do the gorge either.
On our drive up to New Hampshire, my husband and I realized we both had forgot/needed a few winter accessories. So we stopped at an REI where I got this hat and some gloves, and he got some new hiking boots. We were really glad we made that stop because we needed all of it!
In 1883 a heavy rainstorm dislodged a giant boulder, deepened the gorge, and formed Avalanche Falls — a 45-foot waterfall at the top of the Flume.
Photos do not do this justice. You really have to go see this for yourself. It’s much more spectacular in person!
On your way out along the ridge path, you will come across Liberty Gorge which is a mountain stream, the Sentinel Pine Bridge built in 1939, and on your walk you will also notice some glacial boulders from 25,000 years ago.
The Flume Gorge is absolutely worth a stop on your trip to New Hampshire!
Photos by Meg Biram