Wander Always & Stay Wilde


Franconia Notch and Waterfalls of New Hampshire

On our last day in New Hampshire, we decided to view and hike as many of the waterfalls as we could in the White Mountains area. If you are staying in a hotel in the area, take advantage of all of the pamphlets and guides that are in the lobby. While some of them are promotions for tourist attractions in the area, others are filled with useful information (and they are free of cost!). We found two different guides that were extremely helpful: a guide for Route 112 – Kancamagus Highway and the lookout points and sights along the road and a guide for waterfalls and covered bridges in the White Mountains area. Each waterfall on the guide had a small description of the location and the distance of the trail, which made it easy to pick the falls we could realistically hike in a day. Although there were some beautiful falls we did not get the chance to visit on this trip, that just means we will have some new areas to explore if ever in the White Mountains area in the future!


At roughly eight miles of land that stretches near Interstate 93 of Northern New Hampshire, Franconia Notch State Park is a nature preserve in the White Mountains and a must-see spot in this area! The park is named for the Notch that passes through the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges in the White Mountains. The park is known to many as the home of the Flume Gorge, a natural gorge that extends 800ft at the base of Mount Liberty and the granite walls of the gorge extend to roughly 90ft high and up to 20ft wide.

First thing in the morning, we visited Franconia Notch State Park to view the renowned Flume Gorge. At this time, reservations are required to keep track of the number of visitors entering the park per hour. Tickets can be bought online at $16 for adults and $14 for children, and there are a limited number of reservations per hour. Tickets for the latter half of the day were sold out, which means there is a maximum number of people scheduled to visit in that hour and on the busier side. I suggest going as early as possible for a less crowded experience. The trail is quiet and peaceful and easy for hikers of all ages. With your reservation, you can enter the park at any time within the hour selected- we booked our tickets for 9 am and walked in about five minutes until 10 am. Perfect timing!

The ticket to Franconia Notch State Park does not only include the visit to Flume Gorge- the hike is filled with a few covered bridges, some waterfalls, and countless stunning views along the 2-mile hike. This is a “can’t miss” location to see if you are in the White Mountains area!

The Glacial Boulder is the first sight on the trail (which is currently one-way) to the Flume Gorge. As you walk, you will notice some boulders that are quite large, some that weigh up to 300 tons! During the glacial period roughly 25,000 years ago, an ice sheet a mile thick entered this area leaving the boulders behind as glacial erratics.

Table Rock is a section of Conway granite that is 500 feet long and 75 feet wide. Over time, the waters of the Flume Brook exposed a large area of rock. The views can be admired while on the trail and right up to the brook’s bank. The rocks are slippery when wet, so avoid getting too close.

The Flume Covered Bridge is a picturesque sight and one of the oldest bridges in the state. Built in 1886, this bridge was built across the Pemigewasset River which means “swift or rapid current” in the Abenaki Indian language.

The top of the Flume Gorge offers a close view of the Avalanche Falls. In 1883, the falls were formed from the aftermath of a great storm, which washed away a hanging boulder. The 45-foot waterfall creates the reverberating sound you hear as the Flume Brook enters the top portion of the gorge.

Beneath this point in the Pemigewasset River is a deep basin, known as “the pool,” formed at the time of the ice sheet 25,000 years ago by a silt-laden stream following from the glacier. The cliffs surrounding the pool are 80ft high. The bowl is 150ft in diameter and 40ft deep.

Along the trail, the Sentinel Pine Bridge offers beautiful views of the Pool below. The bridge was named for the Sentinel Pine tree that stood for centuries on a high cliff above the pool. In 1938, a hurricane uprooted the pine, whose trunk bridges the river above the pool and forms the base for the covered bridge.

On the path, there is a turnoff with stairs that leads to the viewpoint of the Liberty Gorge. The beautiful cascading stream is a must-see spot on the trail.


An easy .1-mile hike will take you to the cascading rocks of the Lower Ammonoosuc Falls. The trail can be found off Route 302, right off Old Cherry Mountain Road. While hiking the trail, it was fun to see families fishing off of the edge of the rocks and a few people swimming in the pool at the bottom of the falls.


Access to this .4-mile trail can be found behind the Crawford Notch Depot. The cascades and waterfall can be found on either the Avalon Trail or the Crawford Path.





These cascades can be found right off of Route 302 in Crawford Notch. There is no hike required to view it! Parking can be found at a turnout in the road, and you can walk closer to view the cascades at the Route 302 guardrail from the opposite side of the road.

What are some of your favorite waterfalls in New Hampshire? Comment below!

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