Flume Gorge & Visitor Center
852 Daniel Webster Highway (Rt 3)
Lincoln, NH 03251
About Flume Gorge
The Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. The walls of Conway granite rise to a height of 70 to 90 feet and are 12 to 20 feet apart. A trip into the Flume begins and ends at the Flume Visitor's Center. Guests can choose to walk through just the Gorge or do a two mile loop. The walk includes uphill walking and lots of stairs. The boardwalk allows you to look closely at the growth of flowers, ferns and mosses found here.
Framed by a spectacular vista of Mount Liberty and Mount Flume, the Visitor Center houses the Flume ticket office, information center, cafeteria, gift shop, and the state park system's historic Concord Coach. A 20-minute movie showcasing beautiful Franconia Notch State Park is available for viewing.
The Flume was discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old “Aunt” Jess Guernsey when she accidently came upon it while fishing. She had trouble convincing her family of the marvelous discovery, but eventually persuaded others to come and see for themselves. At that time, a huge egg-shaped boulder hung suspended between the walls. The rock was 10 feet (3m) high and 12 feet (3.6m) long. A heavy rainstorm in June of 1883 started a landslide that swept the boulder from its place. It has never been found. The same storm deepened the gorge and formed Avalanche Falls.
The Flume Gorge opens for the season on May 9th, 2014 (tentative). Operating hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. *Dates and times are weather permitting. For up to date hours, please call the park directly.
Children (6-12): $12
Ages 5 and under: Free
|5/9 - 10/26
Flume Gorge Ticket Rates
Admission is $15 for adults (ages 13+); $12 for children (ages 6-12); children ages 5 and under are admitted free with paid adult. Discovery Pass (Includes Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway & Flume Gorge): Adults: $28.00, children (ages 6-12): $22.00. *All rates and dates are subject to change.
Are pets allowed at Flume Gorge and Visitor Center?
Pets are not permitted in the Flume Gorge and Visitor Center. Pets are only permitted in Franconia Notch State Park in the designated dog walks in the Flume & Tramway parking lots. Pets are prohibited from Echo Lake Beach, Lafayette Campground, on the Tram and in the Flume Gorge. See the NH State Parks Pets Policy
for more information.
Keep Your Parks Clean
Through the Carry-In/Carry-Out Program, you can help us keep your parks clean and beautiful by carrying out whatever you carry in. Thank you for your cooperation and remember to recycle.
Access for Persons with Disabilities
Please contact the park office directly for information regarding disability access needs.
Flume Gorge Scavenger Hunt
How the Flume Was Formed
Nearly 200 million years ago in Jurassic times, the Conway granite that forms the walls of the Flume was deeply buried molten rock. As it cooled, the granite was broken by closely spaced vertical fractures which lay nearly parallel in a northeasterly direction.Sometime after the fractures were formed, small dikes of basalt were forced up along the fractures. The basalt came from deep within the earth as a fluid material, and because of pressure, was able to force the Conway granite aside. The basalt crystallized quickly against the relatively cold granite. Because of this quick cooling, the basalt is a fine- grained rock. Had this material ever reached the surface, it would have become lava flows.
Erosion gradually lowered the earth’s surface and exposed the dikes. As the overlying rock was worn away, pressure was relieved and horizontal cracks developed, allowing water to get into the rock layers. The basalt dikes eroded faster than the surrounding Conway granite, creating a deepening valley where the gorge is now.
The gorge was covered by glaciers during the Ice Age, but the ice sheet did not greatly change the surface. It partially filled the valley with glacial debris and removed soil and weathered rock from the vicinity. After the Ice Age, Flume Brook began to flow through the valley again.
The highly fractured granite and basalt have been eroded by frost action as well as by the brook’s water. As you walk through the Flume, look at the floor of the Gorge and you many notice remnants of the main basalt dike, and on the walls of the gorge, small trees are growing. Erosion is still occurring.
The Flume Covered Bridge
This picturesque covered bridge is one of the oldest in the state. It was built in the 1886 and has been restored several times. Such bridges were often called “kissing bridges” because of the darkness and privacy they provided. This bridge was built across the scenic Pemigewasset River. Pemigewasset means “swift or rapid current” in the Abenaki Indian language.
Over time, the rushing waters of the Flume Brook exposed this large outcropping of rock. Table Rock is a section of Conway granite that is 500 feet (150m) long and 75 feet (20m) wide. Caution: The rocks are slippery - please stay on the trail.
At the top of the Flume is a close view of Avalanche Falls. The 45-foot (13.6m) waterfall creates a roaring sound as the Flume Brook enters the gorge. The falls were formed during the great storm of 1883, which washed away the hanging boulder.
On the Ridge Path, look for a turnoff that leads you to Liberty Gorge, a beautiful cascading mountain stream that flows through the narrow valley.
Sentinel Pine Bridge and Pool
The Pool is a deep basin in the Pemigewasset River. It was formed at the end of the Ice Age, 14,000 years ago, by a silt-laden stream flowing from the glacier. The Pool is 40 feet (12m) deep and 150 feet (45m) in diameter, and is surrounded by cliffs 130 feet (39m) high. A cascade rushes into it over fragments of granite that have fallen from the cliffs above.
On the high cliff above the Pool, the Sentinel Pine stood for centuries. It was one of the largest in the state, nearly 175 feet (53m) high, with a circumference of 16 feet (4.8m). The hurricane of September, 1938 uprooted the giant pine whose trunk bridges the river above the Pool and forms the base for the covered bridge. The bridge offers a fine view of the Pool.
This is a narrow, one-way path that involves crawling on your hands and knees and squeezing through rocks.
As you walk through this area, you will notice many boulders. Some are quite large, weighing over 300 tons. During the glacial period over 25,000 years ago, a great ice sheet more than a mile thick moved over this area. The mass of ice was so powerful, it moved both large and small boulders. As the ice sheet retreated, these boulders were left behind. They are called glacial erratics.
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