Hiking the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park

I spent a splendid Sunday hiking the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire. This unique chasm courted my camera with ruggedly cut granite walls thinly slicing through the hillside and a swift stream pouring down the center.  Each snap of my shutter oozed excitement.  I look forward to my next rendezvous, to better familiarize myself with this marvelously carved canyon.

Hiking the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park

Hiking the Flume Gorge. The gorge extends 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty.
Hiking the Flume Gorge. The gorge extends 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty.

Allan and I arrived in Franconia, New Hampshire on a sluggish Sunday after having attended a wedding in nearby Fryeburg, Maine.  I was determined to not only exercise, but to also capture on camera this stunning wonder.  Even though I’ve hiked many ravines, the Flume Gorge really offers something special.

To start with, the Flume Gorge presents a fantastic hiking experience.  A wooden walkway allowed me to intimately explore this narrow canyon that otherwise would have been difficult to penetrate.  Sharply cut Concord granite walls unevenly jut from the walls, as a stream flows freely through the chasm’s center.

Hiking the Flume Gorge. Built in 1858, this covered bridge stretches over the Pemigewasset River.
Hiking the Flume Gorge. Built in 1858, this covered bridge stretches over the Pemigewasset River.

Furthermore a series of waterfalls added additional excitement and charm to the equation.

Most spectacularly, Avalanche Falls spills over one of the rock walls, flowing freely under the wooden walkway.  I was able to not only navigate directly in front of the cascade, but to also summit and explore it from above.  Not many canyons offer such a user-friendly experience.

Plus the 2 mile circuitous hike offered a reprieve from my previous three days of gluttony.  Between hours in the car and fistfuls of food, my body craved exercise.  And in Mexico I rarely get the chance to hike since the surface is too flat in Playa del Carmen.  Whereas in New Hampshire, I could burn many needed calories while simultaneously admiring the unusual landscape.

I actually jogged more than half the two mile loop that encompasses the canyon.  With my Sony camera around my neck and tripod in hand, I passed many groups, only to have them lap me later while I was engrossed in photography.  Imagine seeing me in pastel green slacks, a blue and white checkered Brooks Brothers shirt and sombrero running around while others donned athletic wear.

Hiking the Flume Gorge. Avalanche Falls were supposedly formed during the great storm of 1883.
Hiking the Flume Gorge. Avalanche Falls were supposedly formed during the great storm of 1883.

Regardless of my fashion statement, I truly adored my ninety minute hike.

Between wooden bridges, cascades and a canyon of carved granite, I highly recommend the Flume Gorge.  This chasm checks all the boxes for anyone looking to exercise or take pretty pictures.  Plus the wooden walkways facilitate the endeavor.

Helpful information for your visit

The Flume Gorge opens for visitors on May 12th and closes on October 21st.  Certainly I would suggest coming in mid to late October while the fall foliage makes its annual debut.  Also try to come when they open at 8:30am to avoid the crowds.  Tickets cost $16 USD for adults and $14 USD for children.  More information may be found here.

Hiking the Flume Gorge. This wooden bridge spans the Pemigewasset River. The pool below is 40 feet deep and 150 feet in diameter.
Hiking the Flume Gorge. This wooden bridge spans the Pemigewasset River. The pool below is 40 feet deep and 150 feet in diameter.

Do you have any questions or remarks?

Please let me know in the comments!

Happy travels,

Matt Weatherbee

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Matt Weatherbee
Matt Weatherbee

Hi, I’m Matt.  In 2008 I quit my job, sold everything and drove from Boston to Mexico to start a business.  Now I live and work in the Carribean, and spend my free time traveling the globe.  Learn more.

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