FRANCONIA, NH – For the first time in many years, early spring visitors to the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park will be able to walk the entire length of one of New Hampshire’s most popular natural attractions.
The Flume Gorge and Gilman Visitor’s Center opens for the season on Friday. A mild winter and several warm days helped melt the ice that usually clings to the soaring granite walls, which allowed crews to put in the entire length of the boardwalk.
“Early spring is a great time to take a walk through the Flume,” said Bill O’Connor. “The snow melt from Franconia Ridge charges up the waterfalls dramatically and water rush is the strongest of the year.”
The Flume is a natural gorge with towering moss-covered granite walls, cascading waterfalls, historic covered bridges, glacial boulders and beautiful scenery. Discovered in 1808 by Aunt Jess Guernsey, a 93-year-old woman who was just looking for a good fishing hole, the Flume and its natural beauty has drawn visitors for over two centuries.
Since then, the Flume, located at the base of Mount Liberty, has become one of New Hampshire’s most beautiful natural attractions. The gorge itself is 800-feet long and its walls reach up 90 feet. From side to side, the distance is no more than 20 feet, separated by Avalanche Brook, which tumbles down the slopes of Mount Liberty.
The Flume Gorge and Gilman Visitor’s Center is 9 am to 5 pm daily. Admission is $14 for adults and $11 for children ages 6 to 12. Visitors will find walking trails, boardwalks and covered bridges, as well as the Visitor’s Center gift shop, cafeteria and free introductory movie about the history of Franconia Notch.
A shuttle runs from the Visitor’s Center to Boulder Cabin throughout the day on weekends until Father’s Day Weekend, when it will begin daily operations.
Franconia Notch State Park is home to not only the Flume Gorge, but other fun activities as well. Visitors can plan a day in the park by visiting Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, which opens on May 25 and Echo Lake Beach, which opens on June 15. The Basin and the new Old Man of the Mountain Profiler Plaza are open year-round for viewing. Lafayette Place Campground will open on May 18 and is a great hub for hikers wanting to hike the Kinsman and Franconia Ranges.
Flume Gorge boardwalk being put in for the season, taken April 13, 2012