Mt. Flume is a spectacular mountain for
several reasons. It is the southernmost mountain in the stunning Franconia
Range. Its sisters on the Range - Mts. Liberty (4,459 ft.), Little Haystack
(4,780 ft.), Lincoln (5,089 ft.), Lafayette (5,260 ft.), and Garfield
(4,500 ft.) - lie prominently to the north. Flume commands 360° views
from its summit: to the north are the mountains of the Franconia Range
(Little Haystack is blocked from view by Liberty), Loon to the south,
the Pemigewasset Wilderness, Owl's Head, the Bonds, Bondcliff, and Washington
to the east, and Moosilauke and the Kinsmans to the west. Flume is one
of the designated 48 Four Thousand Footers in New Hampshire as is its
nearest neighbor, Mt. Liberty, just 1.1 mile away. Incidentally, a nice
loop is formed when climbing Liberty and Flume together as a day hike
using the Flume Slide and Liberty Spring Trails. The rock
slide on its western side is Flume's most notable landmark and makes
the peak easy to identify from that direction.
Whitehouse Trail > Liberty Spring Trail > Flume Slide Trail > Franconia
Ridge Trail > Liberty Spring Trail > Whitehouse Trail
0 parking lot - Whitehouse Trail,
follow blue blazes north parallel to NH 3
0.6 junction Whitehouse Trail & bike path - take
left onto bike path (still Whitehouse Trail)
0.8 bridge crossing Pemigewasset River, cross bridge,
blazes are white now because Appalachian Trail
has entered from left
0.9 junction bike path (Whitehouse Trail) & Liberty Spring
Trail sign on right notes distances to
Flume Slide Trail & Liberty
Spring Campsite, leave bike path and take right onto Liberty Spring
1.4 junction Liberty Spring Trail & Flume Slide Trail
- take right onto Flume Slide Trail,
following blue blazes again,
having exited the Appalachian Trail
5.1 junction Flume Slide Trail & Franconia Ridge Trail,
take left onto Franconia Ridge Trail
5.2 Mt. Flume summit
6.3 Mt. Liberty summit
6.6 junction Franconia Ridge Trail & Liberty Spring Trail
take left to descend on Liberty Spring Trail
6.9 Liberty Spring Campsite
8.9 junction Liberty Spring Trail & Flume Slide Trail
continue to descend on Liberty Spring Trail
9.4 junction Liberty Spring Trail & bikepath (Whitehouse
Trail), take left onto bikepath
9.5 cross bridge
9.7 junction bike path & Whitehouse Trail, take right
onto Whitehouse Trail
10.3 parking lot
This an exhilarating hike because it
goes from one extreme to the other as far as difficulty. It begins
and ends easily with oftentimes flat terrain. The trail becomes very
steep while ascending Flume. It is a cruise over to Liberty. Followed
by a steep descent down the Liberty Spring Trail where you return
to flat ground retracing your steps to the parking lot.
You begin your hike from the parking
lot just north of the Flume Visitors Center. This is the Whitehouse
Trail although it is not clearly identified. Follow the blue blazes
that start near the outhouse. You'll be heading north paralling NH
3. It's a pleasant hike on the Whitehouse Path, the bike path, and
the Liberty Spring Trail to the junction with the Flume Slide Trail.
The Flume Slide Trail is also pleasant and relatively flat in the
beginning. You are working your way around the base of Mt. Liberty
to reach the base of Mt. Flume. As you do so you cross several rivers.
So your first 3-4 miles are easy.
When you reach the base of Flume, the
steepness begins. It is very steep. You are literally rock climbing.
Although I haven't heard of anyone securing safety ropes, a fall could
lead to serious injury. Also, I lost track of the blazes a few times
but as long as you keep climbing upward on the rocks, you'll be staying
on the trail, even though you'll doubt yourself. Most hikers prefer
to go up Flume Slide Trail rather than down because of the steepness.
Climbing on these rocks can be treacherous when wet so only do this
hike in dry weather. Also, the Flume and Liberty summits are very
exposed with excellent views so it is best to save this hike for a
day when the weather and visibility are good.
You will love the 360 degree views from Flume
and Liberty. Flume is the southernmost mountain in the spectacular
Franconia Range. Its sisters on the Range, from south to north are
Liberty (4,459 ft.), Little Haystack (4,780 ft.), Lincoln (5,089 ft.),
Lafayette (5,260 ft.), and Garfield (4,500 ft.). Flume commands 360°
views from its summit: to the north are the mountains of the Franconia
Range (Little Haystack is blocked from view by neighbor Liberty),
Loon to the south, the Pemigewasset Wilderness, Owl's Head, the Bonds,
Bondcliff, and Washington to the east, and Moosilauke and the Kinsmans
to the west.
From Flume, it's an easy mile to Liberty.
Similar excellent views await you on the summit of Liberty. You will
not be able to see Lafayette or Garfield to the north because they
are obstructed by Lincoln. But you will be able to see Canon to the
It's a quick 0.3 mi. to the junction of the
Franconia Ridge Trail and the Liberty Spring Trail. The Liberty Spring
Trail is a steep descent. The Liberty Spring Tentsite is run by the
Appalachian Mountain Club during the summer and fall. It costs about
$6 to stay there a night and reservations are strongly recommended
for this popular spot. Continue down the moderately steep Liberty
Spring Trail until you reach the bike path and retrace your steps
to the parking lot.
To Trailhead Parking Lot, NH 3:
Exit 33 "North Woodstock, Lincoln, Indian Head Viewing"
NH 3 North
Pass sign, "Welcome to Franconia Notch State Park"
At about 2.3 miles, Flume Visitors Center
Quick visit to Flume Visitors Center- great views of Flume & Liberty
Exit Flume Visitor Center
0.2 mi. north of the visitor's center, take right after sign, "Trailhead
Once in lot, take left at fork and park
by: Mark, MountainSummits.com, age 30, athletic male.