Everything you need to know about hiking Flume Gorge, New Hampshire, a gem of the White Mountains!
On my most recent trip home to the USA, I visited Flume Gorge in New Hampshire for the first time.
It was MAGICAL!
I was so blown away by this beautiful spot. And I couldn’t believe I had never been here even though I grew up in New England.
So I want to write an article about Flume Gorge, for anyone who needs any questions answered!
This easy, scenic, family-friendly hike should be at the top of everyone’s White Mountains bucket lists.
So let’s get into the guide to Flume Gorge, New Hampshire!
The Ultimate Hiking Guide To Flume Gorge, New Hampshire
I will try to be thorough, yet concise with this Flume Gorge hiking guide.
In addition to sharing some of my photos of this stunning area, I will also answer questions like:
- Where is Flume Gorge?
- How much does it cost to hike Flume Gorge?
- How long does it take to go through Flume Gorge?
- How hard of a hike is it?
- When is the best time to visit?
And more! So read on to learn all about this magical New England hike.
Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights in the USA! Boston is the closest major airport to the White Mountains, though you can also fly into Portsmouth or Manchester.
Where Is Flume Gorge?
The Flume Gorge is located in Franconia Notch State Park in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, USA.
The official address of the Flume Gorge is:
852 Daniel Webster Hwy
Lincoln, NH 03251
Flume Gorge is just one of the many natural attractions in this corner of New Hampshire.
The White Mountains
The White Mountain National Forest is a majestic area full of colossal granite peaks, dense forests, crystal clear lakes, and more.
New Englanders flock here in the summer and fall for hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, birdwatching, and any other adventurous activity you can think of.
In the winter, the White Mountains are an excellent place to ski, snowboard, or snowshoe.
The famous Appalachian Trail even passes through the White Mountains!
Find more info about campgrounds and hiking trails on the US Forest Service website.
Franconia Notch State Park
Franconia Notch State Park is often considered the heart of the White Mountains.
This gorgeous area is packed with incredible trails, lookouts, and scenic driving routes.
Flume Gorge is undoubtedly the highlight of Franconia Notch State Park. But here are some other cool attractions to check out as well:
- Swim, kayak, canoe, or fish at Echo Lake
- Ride the aerial tramway up Cannon Mountain (reserve tickets here)
- Rock climb on Cannon cliffs
- New England Ski Museum
- Hike the Old Bridle Path up to Greenleaf Hut
- Spend the night at Lafayette Campground
Plus many more! The adorable mountain town of Lincoln, NH has lots of lovely restaurants and cafes for refueling after a day of adventure.
Is The Flume Gorge Free?
Unfortunately for budget travelers, the Flume Gorge is not free. However the entry fee is relatively cheap and it’s worth contributing to the national parks system to maintain this gorgeous New Hampshire hike!
But as of February 2023, the entry fees for Flume Gorge are as follows:
- Adults (age 13+): $18 online and $21 at ticket window
- Kids (age 6-12): $16 online and $19 at ticket window
- Kids age 5 and under: Free
As you can see, tickets are $3 cheaper if you book them online in advance. Reserve tickets here!
The gorge is open daily from 9am – 4pm.
However, hours are weather dependent. The park is open for recreation year-round, but the boardwalks inside the gorge itself close in winter.
There are also usually no staff members at the park during off season!
For up-to-date hours and opening dates, call that park at (603) 745-8391 or visit the website.
Read next: 12 Fun Things To Do In Newport, Rhode Island
Why Is The Flume Gorge Famous? What Exactly Is it?
The Flume Gorge is not your average forest hiking spot! It’s a magnificent granite gorge at the base of Mount Liberty.
Extending 800 feet long and 90 feet tall, this mind-blowing natural creation is made of solid Conway granite that dates back around 200 million years!
Over time, the movement of rocks within Earth’s surface have created the deep valley within the lush forest that you can see today.
In the area of natural beauty surrounding the gorge, there are various scenic waterfalls, pools, rock formations, and glacial boulders that are also remnants of the area’s ancient past.
How long does it take to go through Flume Gorge?
It takes about 1.5 hours to walk through the entire Flume Gorge. The walk starts and ends at the visitor’s center and includes lots of gorgeous natural sights on the way.
You’ll start by descending down staircases through the dense forest.
The first landmark you’ll see is the Flume Covered Bridge. This rustic red bridge over the Pemigewasset River was built in 1886 and is one of New Hampshire’s oldest bridges.
As you continue, you’ll see lots of scenic lookouts along the river and a few gigantic granite rocks and glacial boulders from the Ice Age.
Soon you’ll reach the actual Flume Gorge, where you can follow the boardwalk through the giant crevice and emerge next to Avalanche Falls.
Continue on for more panoramic mountain views, hidden caves, and the quaint wooden Sentinel Pine Bridge that overlooks a glassy pool formed during the Ice Age.
You’ll end up at the Flume Building Visitors Center after about 1.5 or 2 hours, depending on how often you stop.
How Hard Is The Hike?
With a combination of sturdy wooden boardwalk, stone steps, paved trails, and wide forest dirt tracks, Flume Gorge is suitable for all ages.
The walk through the gorge is relatively easy, with a few inclines here and there.
Because it’s such a beautiful trail, you’ll be stopping often anyway to admire the scenery. So you don’t need to worry about the hike being strenuous!
The loop trail covers 2 miles in total.
Travel insurance is a good idea, especially if you’ll be hiking mountains where you could potentially get injured. And with the outrageous prices in the US healthcare system, I always buy travel insurance when I visit home, just to be safe! Squaremouth Insurance is my go-to company, but you can find more info in my Budget Traveler’s Guide to Travel Insurance!
When Is The Best Time To Visit?
The best time to visit Flume Gorge is undoubtedly autumn.
October is the best month, as the leaves are changing but the temperatures are still comfortable!
You’ll get that crisp, cool New England autumn air with the added bonus of the kaleidoscopic leaf colors.
September will have slightly less foliage, and November will be pretty cold.
The only downside to visiting in autumn is that the trail may be crowded! But there is plenty of parking and if you visit early in the day you shouldn’t have to worry about massive crowds.
The summer months of June, July, and August will also be pleasant. The forest will be a rich green and you may get some warm, sunny days.
Winter and early spring is off season. The trail is open for recreational use, but some sections may be closed for maintenance and there will be limited staff available.
What To Bring?
To hike Flume Gorge, you don’t need much! Just wear comfortable active wear and good walking shoes.
Hiking boots are recommended in wet weather to prevent slippage. But you could easily do this leisurely hike in a good pair of sneakers.
Also pack some water and snacks, but remember to take all your trash with you! Leave this beautiful area as pristine as you found it!
Bring some cash for the ticket booth and for souvenir purchases if you want, unless you’ve already booked your ticket online.
And definitely bring a camera!
The whole reason I decided to write this Flume Gorge hiking guide is because I had an incredible time there!
I went with my mom, my aunt Nancy, and my uncle Russell. We decided to spend a couple of days hiking in the White Mountains, and we stayed in an adorable cottage at Indian Head Resort.
We visited in early October, which was the perfect time for crisp fall temperatures and colorful foliage.
After hiking the rather strenuous Old Bridle Path the previous day, we were looking forward to a more relaxing walk.
The day was chilly and cloudy, which was actually perfect for hiking Flume Gorge! Most of the path is in the shade anyway, and we still got bits of blue sky at some of the lookouts.
Because we started the hike early, around 9am, there weren’t many crowds.
We had a lovely time strolling along the trail, admiring the lush forest landscapes, crawling into the “Bear Cave” and “Wolf Den” rock crevices, and spending quality time in nature as a family.
Lincoln, NH is a charming little town nearby where we had some nice meals and ice cream after the hike!
Flume Gorge Hiking Guide Summary
Thanks for reading my Flume Gorge, New Hampshire hiking guide!
Here is a quick summary of all the essential points covered in this article.
- Located in Lincoln, NH in Franconia Notch State Park
- Open daily from 9am – 4pm
- Cost for an adult is $18 online and $21 at ticket window
- The hike is a 2-mile loop which takes around 1.5 miles
- October is the best month to visit
- Wear comfy walking shoes and bring a camera
Check out some of my other hiking-related articles below!
Hiking Volcan Acatenango in Guatemala
How To Visit The Drakensberg Mountains On A Budget: South Africa
Hiking The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit, Blue Mountains, Australia
How To Visit The Atlas Mountains On A Budget: Morocco
5 Amazing Day Hikes In The Blue Mountains
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2 thoughts on “Flume Gorge, New Hampshire: The Ultimate Hiking Guide”
Looks fun, I should try it sometime! 🙂