Hiking the Flume Gorge Trail- Franconia Notch State Park {New Hampshire}

After spending a day seeing some of the lesser known historic sites of the area, we were ready for a day outdoors so we could soak up all of the New England in the fall that we could. We went up towards northern New Hampshire to Franconia Notch State Park where it seemed the fall leaves were on the tail end of the season before winter.

Our first stop was to Echo Lake Beach where we looked out over the water towards the notch of two mountains in the White Mountains that the park is named after.

We went down to the water’s edge and looked out across the lake. While a lot of the fall colors were gone due to a recent cold snap, the lake itself was still beautiful with the mountains reflecting in the water.

Next we went to do the Flume Gorge Trail. There is a cost to do this trail of $21/adult and $19/child. If you reserve your tickets online then there is a $3 discount. We got to the visitor center and then got online to reserve our tickets. We were really lucky because this was the last day that the trail would be open before closing for the winter.

We started down the trail and found that all the colors from the lake had been given to this trail. All the trees were vibrant in orange and yellow. There was a massive glacier boulder next to the trail that use to be suspended between the rocks of the gorge until it finally broke free and now acts as guardian of the trail.

The trail sloped downwards to the beautiful red covered bridge across the river below. We walked along the side of the bridge and then continued on up the trail.

We came to Table Rock where the water flowed over layers of rock. I imagine in the spring and summer this is near overflowing with water.

The dirt trail ended with the beginning of long boardwalks that zigzagged from one side of the gorge to the other. The boardwalk took us right into the gorge where it followed the water through the narrow rocks of the gorge.

We walked through the gorge and then continued up the stairs built into the rocks. I’ve done a number of hikes in my life, but I would say this one is definitely a favorite. I absolutely loved the stairs climbing through the slot canyon of black rock and moss covered stones. It was absolutely incredible!

Upon reaching the top we looked back down the gorge to see where we had been. We wanted to go back down and see the gorge from the other side. But this trail is set up as a loop so visitors have to follow the path in only one direction.

The hike down the trail on the other side of the gorge was lovely. We enjoyed the caves cut into the rocks and the beautiful colors that surrounded us. An overlook offered an stunning view of the rest of the park. The layers of land and fall were really beautiful.

Back down at the end of the trail we started seeing big boulders line the path. We remembered the massive boulder at the beginning and how it had sat between the rocks of the gorge. Now seeing how narrow that gorge is, it made it all the more surprising that there use to be a boulder bridging its way across it. It also made us really glad that we weren’t present for when it was dislodged from its perch. That would be a little too much like that scene in Indiana Jones for my comfort.

We absolutely loved this hike! In total the hike is about 2.5 miles and I would say it is moderately difficult. We just felt amazed at our luck at being able to hike the trail on the last day it was open for the year. We couldn’t have picked a more perfect day for such a hike through the rocks and trees of Franconia Notch.

Want to check out some other great state parks? Then you might be interested in these:

Chimney Rock State Park- North Carolina

Montana de Oro State Park- California

Babcock State Park- West Virginia

Lost Dutchman State Park- Arizona

Thanks for coming along for this hike in Franconia Notch State Park. May your stay steady through life’s tight spaces.

19 responses to “Hiking the Flume Gorge Trail- Franconia Notch State Park {New Hampshire}”

  1. What a wonderful trail Meg and how fortunate that you arrived on its final day of opening for the year. The autumnal shades are gorgeous and I love all those wooden stepped boardwalks. What a great outing!

  2. Brilliant cover shot of the rushing river and that somewhat precarious looking wooden bridge wrapped around the side of it. In fact, all these photos really pop… the lake… the forest trail … you must have been over the moon to have slipped in at the last possible moment before it closes. When does it reopen? Another absolutely gorgeous covered bridge too, glad Mr. Bear wasn’t home when you stopped by the cave 😉

    • Thank you Leighton 🙂 We definitely felt lucky to get in on the last possible day. I think it reopens in April. It makes sense that they wouldn’t want anyone on those walkways in the winter but I also couldn’t help thinking how stunning the gorge would be in the snow! Tessa got a little nervous about the bear cave so when further down the trail there was a wolf cave you could crawl into she just kept going past it with a strong No,No, No.

  3. Great post, Meg. We have done this hike, but it wasn’t during the fall. While the scenery we saw was beautiful, your scenery was spectacular. Oh, the fall colors, and your photos captured it all beautifully!

    • Yay for a shared location! 🙂 Such an incredible hike! I thought about you while we were there from your water pictures you posted a little while ago. I think it is somewhere I could go back to many times.

      • It would be fun to go there in every season. I would love to go back in the fall. The reason we didn’t go in the fall was because we didn’t want to fight the crowds. Was it crowded when you were there?

        • Not really, it was pretty mild crowds. But I think we were on the tail end of the fall season up there. I think the peak time is the last of September and the first part of October.

  4. We visited the Flume Gorge a few years ago in the winter, but most of the trail was closed off for the season because of the ice and hazardous conditions. We didn’t have to pay to get in though. It’s nice to see what we missed. How lucky to visit on the last day that the trail was open.

    • We were really lucky to be there on the last day. How amazing though to see it in the winter! I’ve been saying that the fall was lovely to see, but I also kept thinking that snow would just make it magical 🙂

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: