The Flume

Lincoln, New Hampshire 3251

The Flume

The Flume Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This hike visits the mountaintop site of an old ranger cabin and fire-watching tower. Take the former tower access jeep road to meet the Appalachian Trail and climb to the peak of Smarts Mountain.

Ascend the metal observation tower and then visit the once-lonely quarters of the ranger cabin, now an Appalachian Trail shelter. Soak in incredible views. Return via the AT, grabbing more vistas of the mountains and of the fire tower atop Smarts Mountain while descending rocky Lambert Ridge."

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Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Snowshoe Routes: New England (The Mountaineers Books)
Diane Bair & Pamela Wright
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"They looked like colorful spiders, arms and legs clinging to the ice, slowly crawling up a frozen waterfall. Swift chops of an axe sent pieces of ice tumbling off the wall. Each worked a route up the cold blue ice, digging spiked crampons into slippery toeholds, stretching to find the perfect spot to land ice axes. “Look for a sweet spot." the guide instructed. "Someplace where there’s snow or an indentation to set your tool in." They crept higher up the wall, alpine spidermen and -women, slipping, finding a hold, slipping, until they reached the top, or gave up, legs quivering and arms screaming. We were watching ice climbers navigate the frozen waterfalls at The Plume in Franconia Notch State Park, a favorite spot for winter climbers. But even if the climbers are not there to put on a show, the short, meandering trails in the area, leading to a series of soaring, blue-tinged waterfalls, make for a great winter’s walk. While in the summer The Plume is a popular tourist destination, with hordes of visitors strolling the boardwalks through the notch and to the waterfalls, come winter the crowds disappear and it’s free! Though some of the boardwalks are removed, snowshoers can explore much of the area." Read more

The Flume Reviews

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The trail is very packed by all the visitors, brought snowshoes but didn't need them. Very nice with the ice and snow.
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I remember going to The Flume 7 years ago in the summer when I began hiking. It's a beautiful place and I thought that I'd check it out in the winter. So I decided to snow shoe it. The only problem I had was, it snowed the night before. I think about 11" to 15" of fresh powder fell. I started on the bicycle path, which was being used by snow mobiles. But once I made that right turn off the path, I was hiking in about knee high snow, even higher at some spots. I made it to the bottom of the hill, past the fence and thought.....what am I crazy! It was just about impossible to do. Every step was weighted down by the snow on my snow shoes. I had no choice but to turn around and give up. I'll be back though. I want to see this place during the winter. I heard it's very intense. Sorry guys.
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I've been all over North America and North Eastern Asia hiking and I have to say this is definately in the top five most beautiful places I have ever seen. The flume is awe inspiring. It is always atleast 10-20 degrees cooler in the gorge than the surrounding area. That is just one of many things to see on the short trail. The rock pools are also breathtaking. It is also a gorge or small canyon you could say carved out of the stone by a creek. It is about 100 to 200 feet straight down. For you photographers, you can get some great pictures here. It is really more of a tourist attraction than a trail but that shouldn't deter you. I have been five times and it still as awesome as th first time.
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This is a must if you are in Franconia Notch State Park. The Flume itself is really cool, but be aware that you have to walk up stairs on the boardwalk through the Flume itself. After the Flume, definately take the loop trail back to the visitors center, rather than the bus. It is a wide well maintained trail that is mostly downhill, that travels past some neat water falls, pools, glatial eratic boulders, and uses a covered bridge to cross the river. It was a worthwhile trip for me, mywife, and my three year old. The trail was so well maintained that he was able to walk about 90% it, I only had to carry him the kelty child pack 10% of the time.

The Flume Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
1 to 2 hours
White Mountain National Forest
Local Contacts
Franconia Notch State Park—Flume
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018