Sunburned and tired, I was on to day two of my Labor Day adventures. I have to admit, I’m not your typical adventurer. I don’t have one specific type of adventure or travel I enjoy. What I mean by that is one day you’ll see me relaxing on the beach and the next I’ll be adventuring through the woods or trekking down into a glacier. I love it all- I’ll try anything once and if I like it I’ll do it again.
Which brings me to Sunday. A bucket list item of mine is to see as many waterfalls as possible in my lifetime. There is just something so relaxing about them.
Let me introduce you to Flume Gorge nestled in Franconia Notch State Park.
The park is located in Franconia and Lincoln, New Hampshire in the White Mountain National Forest. Franconia Notch State Park is home to Cannon Mountain, Echo Lake, the Basin, Old Man of the Mountain and so much more.
The activities are endless; mountain biking, canoeing, hiking, camping, swimming in Echo Lake (contrary to popular belief this is the only place you can swim in the park), rock climbing or take the Aerial Tramway to the 4080’ summit of Cannon Mountain. There is a little something for everyone.
On my to do list was the Basin and Flume Gorge. The Basin had its beginnings 25,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. There’s some history for you. It is a giant hole that is 30 feet in diameter and some 15 feet deep. This has been a spot of inspiration for writers like Henry David Thoreau and Samuel Eastman. The Basin trails can be accessed from both the northbound and southbound directions and admission is free.
Flume Gorge, at the base of Mount Liberty, was my second stop of the day. Having never been to the 200 million year old wonder before and only seeing pictures I didn’t know what to expect. You may be asking yourself what is a gorge? It is a narrow valley carved between mountains with steep rocky walls and a stream flowing through it. Sounds magical I know. Crazy to think that this was once under the Earths surface then covered by glacial ice during the Ice Age only to be eroded and weathered into what it is today.
The gorge is only one part of the two mile looped trail. The trail is almost entirely uphill with a lot of stairs, dust and dirt (its worth it). While in the gorge, my favorite part, the trail is built into the side of the granite rock walls. Walking across wooden bridges and up wooden steps you’ll feel like you’ve take a step into the rain forest or Jurassic Park.
Some other attractions the Flume Gorge trails are Table Rock, Avalanche Falls, Liberty Gorge, Sentinel Pine Bridge and Pool, a wolf and bear den, and glacial boulders. Keep your eye out for secluded viewing spots, as there are many along the trail.
I hope to get back to the gorge during low season or on a rainy day- there were so many people bumping into you or walking slow which made the foot traffic that much worse. Not to mention the foliage is probably absolutely beautiful. Admission is the same throughout their operating season, May to the end of October. $16 for adults or opt for the Discovery Pass which includes admission to the gorge and Aerial Tramway for $29 per person.
Franconia Notch State Park operates on a Carry-In/Carry-Out program. This is how they keep their parks clean. There are no trashcans on any of the trails so make sure you bring a bag designated for garbage and do you part to keep our parks clean.
New England is home to so many natural wonders and I am so lucky to call this place home. What are your favorite parks or hiking trails in New England and beyond?