Livermore Falls Recreation Area is located 12 miles (20 minutes) from the Barn Door Hostel and campground in Rumney New Hampshire. This place is dope! There’s an abandoned building, crumbling bridge, rope swing, cliff jumping, diy river tubing and sunbathing beach. This is a must do on any rest day for rock climbers. The park is accessible via two areas. One is on the west side of the river (closest to the Barn Door Hostel). This is accessed by parking along Daniel Webster Highway (Rt 3) and walking down a path over some old train tracks. You will soon find yourself standing face to face with an enormous rusty bridge. The other is to enter through the recreation area ($5 parking fee). Regardless of how you enter, there’s one thing that is blatantly obvious. This is the 103 foot high metal behemoth called Pumpkinseed bridge.
It was built above the Pemigewasset River and Livermore Falls in 1886 for $7,000. The bridge served horses, wagons and foot traffic in those early years, before motor vehicles began rumbling over in the 20th century.
Then came industry – pulp mills, tanneries and a fiberwood company. The nearby railroad that hugs the river hauled logs in. The bridge opened the area to incoming materials and outgoing goods as the machinery hummed and the smokestacks smoked.
It closed in 1959, its east span cut loose and allowed to drop into the river to stop further crossings. Then came the changes and the history and the jumping and the confusion.
Through the decades, the three towns tried to figure out what to do with this great structure that survived world wars and the depression and the Cold War.
The remains of the stone and brick mills are in view, foundations of another era with huge trees jutting from their insides.
But check through the historical data online. Read the timelines and the backstories. Talk to the people who have lived near the tri-town paradise for decades.
They know about some things. There were study commissions formed, meetings held, and an attempt to convert a mill into a hydroelectric plant.
Years have passed and nearly 42 acres became state property in 1992 through a Land Conservation Improvement Program grant. The state owns the Recreation Area, which has a parking lot, picnic tables, bathrooms and grills.
Meanwhile, the area remained beautiful, its roaring rapids at the falls and massive cliffs creating jaw-dropping scenes. Add sandy beaches and thousands of trees that burst into color during the fall in postcard-like fashion, and at least there was one thing everyone could agree on: this place is awesome.
Either side of the river provides sandy beaches and breathtaking views. The old abandoned mill is accessible from Daniel Webster Highway. If you want to jump off the cliffs or utilize the rope swing, you’ll need to access the cliffs from the Recreation Area (or swim across the river). This is a very dangerous place, swimming, jumping, swinging, climbing may not be legal. Enter and participate at your own risk. For the less adrenaline driven, pack a picnic and a tube, enter through the Recreation Area and relax in the hot New Hampshire sun. Any given day you’ll find families jumping from the lower rocks, teens showing off to their sweethearts on the higher rocks, and the more experienced (or dumb) will risk life and limb traversing across the bridge to make the 103 foot plunge into the roaring river below.
Any time you go, please do the community a favor and pick up any trash you come across. There are receptacles in the recreation area as well as a composting toilet.