If you are ever visiting White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire (which you should), don’t miss this natural wonder!
The Flume Gorge (or simply “The Flume”) is a natural granite gorge that is known for its towering walls, numerous waterfalls (including the 45-foot tall Avalanche Fall) and abundance of greenery at the base of Mount Liberty.
The gorge was cut by Flume Brook which also creates those cool big and small waterfalls along its way. The gorge is very narrow and very tall, so it is definitely a cool experience.
The Flume has a cool 2-mile loop trail which follows along the gorge. We found it absolutely doable with kids. Our 5-year old walked it within two hours and we were constantly stopping to take pictures at each waterfall.
There are also a few little caves which you can only access by crawling, and our kids loved those!
How was the Flume formed?
Unlike most waterfalls in Upstate NY (which were carved by the retreating glacier), this gorge was formed underneath the surface of the earth and released by lava.
The granite rock which makes up the walls of the Flume was formed many millions years ago in ancient geological time.
At a later period dark-colored lava in a molten condition pushed up from below filling a great crack and smaller side cracks that had been formed in the granite. This lava solidified to form dikes.
As ages passed the main dike was worn away leaving the flume gorge. The original flume thus formed has been further widened by frost and water action.
In a few places marked by signs the remnants of the original dike are preserved in the bed of the gorge and small branches or off-shoots can be seen along the canyon walls. The lava is darker in color than granite walls.
What is the best time to visit Flume Gorge?
Plan for a visit between May 15 and October 15 from 9am to 4pm.
We were there in late September and spotted some early foliage!
I am sure summertime is a good time too but I would recommend spring or fall when all the waterfalls are raging!
In winter the park is partially maintained, so you may find parking lots not plowed and gates closed. You are still allowed to enter the park, but the Flume Gorge broadwalk is closed in winter but some parts of it are available for snowshoeing.
Where to buy Flume Gorge tickets?
You can buy them at the door but I recommend buying online because it is cheaper, and you will be sure that you will get in even if it is too crowded!
You don’t need to print the tickets, simply show them from your device.
Is Flume Gorge a hard hike?
No! We had a 5-year old kid with us, and she enjoyed it!
There are quite a few steps along the gorge trail, so it could be a challenge if you have any problems with knees.
Is Flume Gorge dog-friendly?
No, dogs are not permitted in the Flume Gorge.
There are designated areas where dogs are allowed around the park but not in Flume Gorge.
Is Flume Gorge accessible?
The park has lots of accessible features (including beach chairs) but the Flume Gorge trail has lots of steps, so is not accessible.
Can you swim at the Flume gorge?
We didn’t see any designated swimming areas, and we were not visiting the trail during the swimming areas so I cannot be sure. But I wouldn’t count on swimming in the Flume Brook anyway. It is going to be freezing all year around.
Do I need to print tickets for the Flume gorge?
No! Just bring your device!
Make sure to add this place to your bucket list!