Lantern tours light the way at Lost River Gorge

  • Guided Lantern Tours through Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves take about two hours and begin at dusk. When the group is finished exploring the boulder caves and boardwalk, they can circle around the campfire for s’mores. Courtesy

  • Guided Lantern Tours through Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves take about two hours and begin at dusk. When the group is finished exploring the boulder caves and boardwalk, they can circle around the campfire for s’mores. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 8/12/2019 11:51:45 AM

With seemingly endless caverns and crevices to discover, exploring the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves is a whole new adventure after the sun goes down.

With the help of lanterns and headlamps, visitors can now, crawl, climb and wriggle through the caves in a completely different way.

“It really is great for all ages. Kids absolutely love it,” says general manager Philip Mayo.

During the day, Lost River explorers are free to roam through the caves in any order they like. The evening Lantern Tours are the only way for visitors to receive a guided tour.

“People love it. It’s a totally different experience at night,” said Mayo.

Mayo likes guiding the tours because of the close interaction with visitors “and seeing everyone’s different reactions.”

During Wednesdays and weekends until mid-October, the two hours start just as soon as the sun goes down

“With just the headlamp, you get to focus on smaller aspects of the gorge,” said Mayo.

Participants must be comfortable walking about a mile and going up about 1,000 stairs, but all caves are able to be bypassed.

“Even if you don’t go through the caves, people still have an amazing time,” said Mayo.

After the enlightening excursion, visitors are able to relax with some s’mores around a campfire.

The Lost River Gorge and surrounding area was first discovered by settlers around 1852, according to historian Elmer Woodbury, who wrote about a fishing trip that turned up a lot more than trout. The brothers, Royal and Lyman, were boys maneuvering over and around the boulders to access a new fishing hole when Lyman fell into a cave and landed about 15 feet below into a shallow pool of water. The cavern is now known as Shadow Cave, according to Lost River history.

In 1912, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests purchased Lost River, which was threatened by logging operations in the region. The unique New Hampshire feature is now leased and operated by the White Mountains Attractions Association.

Visitors who go on the nighttime guided tour for $35 receive a coupon to use the next day for free admission into the gorge. Headlamps are provided free of charge, but anyone can bring their own.

To make reservations, call 603-745-8031 or visit lostrivergorge.com.




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