Flume Slide & Owl's Head Slide

Date of Hike: 4/7/12

Basin Bushwhack / Liberty Spring Trail: 3.0 miles
Francoia Ridge Trail: 1.5 miles
Flume Slide Trail / Basin Bushwhack: 4.0 miles
Total Miles: 8.5 (3,600 elevation gain)
Lincoln Woods Trail: 2.9 miles
Franconia Brook Trail: 1.7 miles
Lincoln Brook Trail: 3.4 miles
Owl's Head Path: 2.5 miles
Lincoln / Franconia Brook / Lincoln Woods Trail: 8. 0 miles
Total Miles: 18.5 (2,850 elevation gain)
27.0 miles (6,450 elevation gain)
Click here for trail descriptions

Trip Report:
- My original plan was to hike the whole Franconia Ridge but the weather report called for cloudy skies and high winds above treeline so I decided to play it safe and hike Mount Liberty and Flume.
- I was on the trail early (around 6:30am) to hopefully get some good views before the clouds came rolling in.
- The hike up was not to exciting, the snow started to build up about halfway up the Liberty Spring Trail.  I ran into two guys who camped out the night before at the tentsite who were surprised to see anyone that early in the morning.
- When I made it to the summit of Mount Liberty I was thrilled to have great views with cool cloud formations floating above the mountains, I was also bummed that I didn't hike up Lafayette and make my way over the whole Franconia Ridge.
- From Liberty I made the quick down and up over to Flume Mountain where I looked back at Mount Liberty and was not to psyched about going back over and then down the pretty boring Liberty Spring Trail.  I decided what the hell let me go down the Flume Slide Trail, I've always wanted to go down it, albeit in the summer, but it'll add some excitement to my hike.
- I put on my microspikes for the journey down the slide, one of which is partially broken but still works very well even if they are both worn down.
- I was pretty nervous at first not knowing what to expect, luckily the slide was a mix of bare rock, old crunchy snow, and two pretty big ice flows.  I carefully made my way down using small trees to hang onto for safety, I avoided the two ice flow sections by hugging trees on the side of the trail, and butt slide down the usually bare rock steep sections when needed. It ended up being a lot easier than I thought.
- Once past the slide section I looked for any signs of the Original Flume Slide Trail which came up from the Flume Gorge, I have and idea of where it comes in and saw what looked like two spots with 'trail corridors' but they could have old logging roads as far as I know.
- I ran into a dozen hikers heading up, all with different amounts of gear, all having fun.
- About a hundred yards from the Basin Bushwhack I took a gnarly fall on a flat section of the Liberty Spring Trail, scraping myself up in a couple of places and bashing my knee.
- I made it back to the car around 10:30am and my knee was a little sore so I thought the best solution was to 'walk it off' and what is a better way to walk it off than to venture into the middle of nowhere deep in the Pemigewasset Wilderness to everyone's favorite mountain, Owl's Head!
- I decided to stick to the regular trails in and out, no bushwhacks, and try something different for this hike, not take a picture until I reached the summit and only stop at trail junctions to refuel and hydrate.
- On trail at 11:20am, Franconia Brook Trail 12:05pm, Lincoln Brook Trail 12:35pm, Owl's Head Path 1:35pm, Owl's Head Summit 2:10pm, Lincoln Brook Trail 2:45pm, Franconia Brook Trail 3:50pm, Lincoln Woods Trail 3:50pm, finished 5:20pm
- I was psyched to hike the regular trails and not have to deal with the Black Pond Bushwhack with it's annoying PUD (pointless up and down).
- There were not as many people on the Lincoln Woods Trail as I thought I'd see, I did pass four hikers heading up the Osseo trail to camp out and I saw a couple looking like they wanted to get a little frisky on the Franconia Brook Bridge.
- Once on the Franconia Brook Trail I didn't see anyone until Owl's Head Slide.  Hiking through here is eerie as you hike over old logging roads, railroad grades, campsites with old rusted railroad parts and cans, through a dense forest, tricky water crossings which can be as easy as a rock hop to a thigh high forge in ice cold water.  Luckily for me all the crossing were a simple one-two-three rock hop and the trail which is lightly used was easy to follow today.
- Once I started up the Owl's Head Path, I ran into another hiker at the start of the slide who told me microspikes were a necessity. The slide is my favorite part of the hike, it's excessively steep with loose footing but wicked fun.  The open part of the slide was mostly dry rock with some ice here and there but once the slide disappeared back into the woods there were ice flows in the trail.  I used trees here to pull and hop up through the tricky sections.
- Once above the icy part it was packed snow and the usual spring hiking, I passed two guys right before gaining the ridge and then made my way past the old summit over to the new one making sure to stay on the packed semi-monorail.
- Once at the summit I put on my microspikes, put on a dry layer, and got the camera out so it was ready to take pictures for the hike back out.
- The hike back down the slide was a little trickier because now I had the views in front of me and was taking pictures so I needed to be sure my footing was always good before snapping away.
- Once on the Lincoln Brook Trail I started to feel the effects of the miles I had hiked and realized I still had about seven more to go.
- I enjoyed the hike out, stopping to take a bunch of pictures and found a really huge piece of old railroad equipment or part of a trestle about one hundred yards from the first major brook crossing on the Lincoln Brook Trail.
- The hike back out through the Franconia Brook Trail was interesting, I saw a huge grouse and checked out the swamp which had a nice view of Owl's Head.
- After passing the swamp it was a slog back to the Lincoln Woods Trail and once on the Lincoln Woods Trail it was the usual battle of wills and the attempt to not stub my boots on old railroad ties.
- I was thrilled to see the East Branch suspension bridge and felt great to finally stop hiking once back at the car.  My body was beat to sh!t but I did 'walk off' the soreness in my knee!  I stretched for a good twenty minutes before heading into town for an ice cold beer and to stuff my face after a kick ass day in the White Mountains!

Pictures: Click here for all pictures

 Flume Mountain
 Cannon Mountain and the Cannon Balls
 Franconia Ridge
 Flume Slide
 Owl's Head Slide
 Franconia Ridge
 Owl's Head Slide
 Owl's Head Slide
 Lincoln Brook Trail
 Lincoln Brook
Rail Road Equipment


  1. Now that is one long and awesome day hiking! Did you run any of it?

    1. I had my old boots on so no running, every so often I'd jog a few feet on a slight downhill when momentum let me. When I train on the treadmill I have it at 3.7 to 4.1 MPH with the uphill setting so it translates well to hiking at a good clip when I want to, plus this hike and other ones below treeline I hike a a faster clip, less big views so I don't stop as much to take pictures.

  2. Hey Chris!

    Awesome trek! Love the pictures of the slides. Also, love the old railroad equipment you found. Was that just off the trail or did you have to go off the trail to find it? Did you see any other old equipment out there other than what is photographed above?


    1. Hi Karl, glad you liked the report and pics, thanks!

      The equipment was just off the trail past the first water crossing on the Lincoln Brook Trail. There was another piece of equipment near that one which is on the other link with all the pics from the hike http://whitemountainimages.blogspot.com/2012/04/mount-liberty-flume-owls-head.html Also there's the usual stuff scattered around near the old camps off the lincoln Woods/Wilderness Trails.

  3. Sounds like an awesome day, and once again, tremendous photos. I agree with the eerie feelings taking the trails out to Owl's head - it is like this forest has had a secret, previous life, with only a few clues left as to what it was really like.

  4. Chris . . . what an awesome adventure! I'll venture to say that what you accomplished in 1-day would be a 2-day hike for the vast majority of hikers.

    Regarding your assessment of the Flume Slide Trail, although I didn't do it under the conditions that you did, I agree that the trail is easier than one might expect.

    Love your photos, and as always, your narrative is a great read!

  5. I dont think this is true all three in less that 12 hours

    1. Anonymous, it is true, you should leave your name or send me an email if you'd like to have a conversation about it. I have done several tougher hikes this this, check out the Ednurance Hike Page on this blog. Exactly how did I make this up????

      Anyway, happy hiking!


    2. Anonymous,

      I am a personal trainer and met Chris a few years ago when he was vacationing in FL. Over the past four years when he visits FL I've put him through boot camp work outs and endurance interval training and he keeps on going and going, he definitely did this and probably could have done it faster if he felt like it!

      Keep up the great hikes and awesome pictures Chris!! :-)

    3. If he wanted to Chris probably could have added the Bonds to this hike and still make it out before dark!!!!

      Keep up the great hiking and picture taking!