Trail Review: The Flume in Franconia Notch State Park
A few weeks ago for Megan’s Birthday we had a horrible night at the Mount Washington Resort.
After we slept off our disappointment, we awoke Sunday with a new plan for the day and vowing to do something non-hotel related.
We decided we would spend a day exploring waterfalls as we drove from the top of New Hampshire back to Rhode Island. We first stopped at the Upper and Lower Ammonoosuc Waterfalls before then heading to the famous Flume in Franconia Notch State Park.
Check out this video we made of our trip, the first half is dedicated to Upper and Lower Ammonoosuc Waterfalls, and the other half to the Flume.
Arriving and Purchasing Tickets
We arrived to the Flume and found a massive parking lot that was virtually empty. The weather was pretty rainy and gloomy so we we’re lucky to find it not crowded. When researching our trip we read that the Flume could get very touristy and be very crowded at times. It was a relief to see it empty.
Once we parked the car and walked into the visitor center we immediately noticed a massive plush moose welcoming everyone, I so wish we took a picture in front of it.
We walked up to the desk and paid $16 per ticket for each of us to enter into the park.
Some might think this is expensive for a state park, but when you think about everything thats provided in terms of trail maintenance, boardwalks, and services in my opinion its totally worth it to get new people exposed to the outdoors.
Gigantic Glacial Boulder
After walking down the paved road for a bit, it turned into gravel and we came across our first attraction. A massive Glacial Boulder which fell from the mountains above, it was gorgeous to look at and impossible to imagine where this originally was. We snapped some photos and kept on down the trail.
Immediately after the Glacial Boulder, the trail split into two — one heading all the way to the Pond and the other directly to the Flume itself. We opted to take the long way and end with the Flume so we turned left on our way to the Pond.
We walked down the trail, and passed a few more Glacial Boulders before ending up at the Pond. A massive drainage with sheer cliffs and a river flowing into it with a waterfall.
The trail map had some information about the Pond and let us know that this is the deepest drainage in the entire White Mountains, amounting to 40 feet deep when the river is flowing its average amount.
We read the trail signs, and snapping some pictures and then headed off along the trail, and crossed the gorgeous bridge overlooking the pond itself.
After walking up a bunch of stairs, we ended up at another gorgeous lookout facing into Liberty Gorge. It was a massive waterfall that was at least 40 feet tall. There wasn’t a massive volume of water falling, but none the less it still looked great.
We finished at Liberty Gorge and continued uphill until reaching a gorgeous view of the mountains across Interstate 93. Unfortunately they had cleared a bunch of trees for the view to be available, but considering its a park and it is very touristy — I can understand.
We looked out into the mountains, and decided it was time to move on from the look out, we came across the top of the Flume, and it’s first attraction Avalanche Falls.
The Flume appeared to be absolutely massive, and Avalanche Falls looked so much better from inside the Flume then from the top.
We walked down a steady boardwalk as we descended into the Flume and marveled at the fact that thousands of years of running water had cut this gorge into the rock.
Definitely check out the video to see the Flume in its true glory, these pictures just don’t do it justice.
We walked to the bottom of the Flume, read the information sign, and continued on our way back to the visitor center. We passed a massive flat expanse of rock called Table Rock which the river opened up on and although very shallow flowed over the entire rock.
The gravel path winded up and down and eventually spit us out back near the gigantic Glacial Boulder.
We continued back to the Visitor Center, but right before going inside noticed a massive view that we somehow missed on the way in. It turned out to be one of my favorite photos of the entire weekend. It’s actually my desktop of my laptop as I write this.
We had a blast, and feel it was absolutely worth the $16 per person. I don’t see us doing this trail over and over again, but it’s definitely worth it for a first timer or as something to check off the list.
My only recommendation would be once you’re at the Glacial Boulder to head to the Flume first. We found that doing the Pond first resulted in much more sustained uphill hiking and caused a bit of trouble when traveling down the Flume on the narrow boardwalks.
We saw no directionals that said going one way or the other was preferred, but we definitely feel the other way would have been easier and more enjoyable.
Trail Rating: Moderate
|Slope||3||We had seemingly went the opposite way of everyone else, which resulted in a decent amount of uphill hiking. Going the other way is much more gradual going up, but steeper going down.|
|Navigation||1||Very clearly marked trails|
|Fitness Level||2||Going the other way probably would have been a 1, but doing the Pond first definitely results in a 2.|
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