Carved out by erosion when ice age glaciers melted, the Lost River Gorge is a great spot to discover some of the geologic past of Kinsman Notch. The Lost River runs through a narrow gorge, where you’ll find waterfalls and countless cascades pouring over the rocks. Gaps between huge boulders create small caves for visitors to explore.
The first known people to discover the gorge were Royal and Lyman Jackman, who found Shadow Cave by accident while fishing in 1852. In 1912, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests bought this property as an effort to prevent logging in this area. Today, visitors will head downhill and down stairs approximately 300 feet to reach the bottom of the gorge, then follow the wooden boardwalk up and down along the river for a 1-mile loop. Interpretive signage and additional boardwalks point out each of the boulder caves and provide access through the caves and out to viewpoints. In the spring and early summer you may get dripped on because the snow and ice melt from inside the boulder caves. Enjoy the mist off of Paradise Falls as the boardwalk wraps around it, and be sure to stop at the Bird’s Nest Lookout as you exit the gorge for a view of Mount Osceola, Mount Tripyramid, and Mount Tecumseh. If you’d like to visit in the dark, check the event calendar for Lantern Tour dates for a totally different experience.
The gorge isn’t the only attraction at Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves. Hike the Kinsman Notch Ecology Trail or walk through the Nature Garden to learn more about the area’s ecology and view gorgeous flowers. The Adventure Trail boasts a covered bridge as well as a 60-foot suspension bridge along a loop that brings visitors to the Forest Treehouse. Other summer activities available include live animal presentations, yoga in the woods, and looking for gemstones at the mining sluice.