Home > Flume
Preplanned Hike for Mt. Flume: Flume & Liberty Loop
Quick Facts I
From/To
Trailhead Parking
NH 3, 0.2 mi. north of Flume Visitor's Center
Distance
10.3 miles
Time
8 hours
Very Steep
Note
* Flume Slide Trail very steep rock climbing
* 360 degree views from Flume & Liberty
Hike Rating 5 Stars
Quick Facts II
Elevation
4,328 ft.
Location
Lincoln, NH
Franconia Notch
Best Map
AMC White Mountain Guide,
26th ed., Map #2

Mountain
Summits.com
Recommendation

Strongly Recommended

Overview

     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.

Preplanned Hike 

The Trails

Whitehouse Trail > Liberty Spring Trail > Flume Slide Trail > Franconia Ridge Trail > Liberty Spring Trail > Whitehouse Trail

Mileage

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 Trail
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

The Hike

     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 west.
     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.

Directions

To Trailhead Parking Lot, NH 3:

I-93
Exit 33 "North Woodstock, Lincoln, Indian Head Viewing"
NH 3 North
Set odometer
Pass sign, "Welcome to Franconia Notch State Park"
Under bridge
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 Parking"
Once in lot, take left at fork and park

Submitted by: Mark, MountainSummits.com, age 30, athletic male.


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