Flume Gorge Is Found In Franconia Notch N.H. One Of The Finest Of The New Hampshire State Parks
Flume gorge is one of the attractions of the Franconia Notch State Park in northern New Hampshire, a state in the north east of the U.S.A.
Franconia Notch N.H. is famous for being the home of "The Old Man Of The Mountain" historical site.
A Wonderful New Hampshire Covered Bridge
The gorge is found just off Interstate 93 at the southern end of the Franconia Notch State Park. Visiting this beautiful little gorge should be top of any list of "New Hampshire things to do ."
The Walkway Up Through The Gorge
Formation of the Flume Gorge began in the Jurassic Era nearly 200 million years ago.
Molten Basalt rock forced its way into vertical fractures in the main rock of the region which was Conway Granite.
These basalt rocks in the granite cracks have subsequently been eroded a lot faster than the surrounding rock, both by water and frost action.
Over the millenia this led to the creation of the gorge. Even today this erosion is taking place as the water and freezing winter conditions act upon the rocks.
Apparently the Flume Gorge wasn`t discovered until 1808 when it was then found purely by accident.
A 93 year old lady by the name of "Aunt" Jess Guernsey came upon it while out fishing.
She must have been a very spry lady for her age! She then had trouble persuading her family to come and see her discovery but when they eventually did so, they were amazed.
One of the sights in gorge at that time was a huge rock wedged up high between the two walls. It was 10 feet high and 12 feet long and it remained there, stuck in place, until a storm and landslide carried it away in 1883.
It was this same storm that created the beautiful Avalanche Falls at
the top of the gorge where the brook enters.
Of all the wonderful N.H. waterfalls this is among the prettiest. Visitors can stand and admire this lovely 45 foot waterfall from a walkway nearby.
It is the beauty of Flume Gorge that helps to make the Franconia Notch State Park one of the top New Hampshire attractions.
Franconia Notch is actually a mountain pass between the Kinsman Range and the Franconia Range.
The Flume Gorge is located at the southern end of the State Park. From Interstate 93 there is a sign toward the park and gorge.
Very close to the parking area is a visitor centre where you can learn all about the New Hampshire attractions to be seen in the park, including the gorge and the Old Man of The Mountain historical site. There is a charge to enter the gorge (as of 2010 it is $13) and unfortunately dogs cannot be taken in with you.
From the visitor centre there is a very well marked loop trail that you are able to follow that will take about forty minutes to complete. It shows you not only the Flume Gorge but two lovely old covered wooden bridges and some great scenic New Hampshire countryside.
Almost at the very start of the trail you will come to the first of the covered bridges. Built in 1886 it is among the oldest of its type in the state. The river it crosses is called The Pemigewasset River which in the Abenaki Indian language means "swift current."
These bridges were called "kissing bridges" because of the darkness and privacy they gave to courting couples.
Creek At The Top Of The Gorge
After crossing this bridge the trail takes you up into the Flume Gorge. There is a boardwalk that takes you along one side of the gorge at the bottom of walls that range in height from seventy to ninety feet and are between twelve to twenty feet apart.
This walkway then goes along the gorge right up to Avalanche Falls where you can stand and enjoy the sight and the sound.
Once past the falls the trail goes downhill toward Liberty Gorge where a lovely mountain stream flows through a small valley. You then come to the Sentinel Pine Bridge.
Sentinel Pine Bridge
This is another covered bridge that was named after a huge pine tree that
stood at that spot until uprooted in a hurricane in 1938. It was 175 feet high
and 16 feet around. It now lies across the river and forms the base for the
bridge.The loop walk really is very easy and extremely enjoyable.
Here is a map where you can see it in detail.
Although it may not be as grand as other gorges in our list, the Flume
Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park is a lovely, peaceful place to visit.