Geological Family Attractions
The western White Mountains are home to some of the best natural geological features in New England. When the glaciers melted during the last Ice Age over 50,000 years ago, they carved out much of the White Mountains as we know it today.
As the glaciers receded, they deposited granite boulders creating caves in many places across the Lincoln and Woodstock area. Today, you can discover the natural beauty that Mother Nature created during the last Ice Age at places like the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves, and the Flume Gorge.
Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves
Located in the heart of Kinsman Notch in North Woodstock, the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves is a popular natural geological attraction for all ages to enjoy. Formed over 300 million years ago during the last Ice Age, Lost River Gorge is filled with blocks of granite, boulder caves, and waterfalls. Open daily from May through October; there are tons of things to see and do at Lost River Gorge.
While visiting the Gorge and caves during the day is pretty cool, discovering them by night is a whole new experience! During the summer months, you can take a Guided Lantern Tour through the caves. The two-hour tour begins at dusk, and you’ll be guided through the lantern-lit caves and boardwalks ending around the campfire complete with s’mores.
If you’re more of a morning person, consider an 8am Yoga in the Woods in the Forest Treehouse.
After seeing the Basin for the first time in 1839, Henry David Thoreau said it was “perhaps the most remarkable curiosity of its kind in New England.” Located conveniently at Exit 34A off I-93, the Basin is a geological masterpiece. Formed approximately 15,000 years ago, the 30-foot-wide, 15-foot-deep granite bowl is a pool of cold blue water that cascades down several granite cliffs in a dramatic effect.
Just a short walk through the woods along a well maintained path, there’s no reason to miss this gem.
Loon Mountain Caves
Catch a ride on New Hampshire’s longest scenic gondola ride with the Loon Mountain Gondola Skyride to the summit of Loon Mountain. First, take in the 360-degree panoramic views of the White Mountain National Forest from the 50-foot Hebert’s Observation Tower. Next, explore the glacial caves that were deposited on top of the summit during the last ice age. Follow the signs and weave and wander through the caves at your own pace. While you’re there, enjoy an adventure in their Aerial Forest or enjoy yoga on the mountain top!
Next to the Old Man of the Mountain, the Flume Gorge is one of the western White Mountain’s most iconic attractions. First discovered in 1808 by “Aunt” Jess Guernsey, the Flume Gorge has been a destination for millions of visitors over the past centuries. While the famous hanging boulder was washed away in a landslide in 1883, the 90-foot granite walls and other natural features are worth the visit to see with your own eyes.
Open from May through October; the Flume Gorge is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Kids will love the Flume Gorge Scavenger Hunt while grandma will love the picturesque Flume Covered Bridge. Spanning over the Pemigewasset River, the Covered Bridge is one of the oldest in the state. Other natural wonders in the park include Table Rock, Avalanche Falls, and Liberty Gorge.
Discover the natural beauty of the western White Mountains with the many natural geological wonders of the area.
Offering family-friendly adventures since 1922, the Polar Caves are a “can’t miss” stop while in the Western White Mountains. The caves were formed during the last ice age, which through the movement of the glacier forced giant granite boulders to the base of what is now Hawk’s Cliff. Passageways were formed throughout the boulders, which have become even more accessible thanks to the boardwalks and stairs that have been built!
There are a total of nine granite caves to explore – including Fat Man’s Misery and The Lemon Squeeze! Polar Caves also features an animal exhibit, which hosts European Fallow Deer and a huge variety of people-loving ducks. You can even purchase treats in the main lodge to feed them! Lastly, don’t forget to stop in at the gift shop for a memorable souvenir to take home with you.
For state-wide information, head to VisitNH.gov