All About the Basin in Franconia Notch

The Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire is one of the most popular state parks for visitors. It encompasses beautiful waterfalls, bodies of water that have shimmery, crystal clear water, and pit spots for travelers to stop and enjoy their snacks. Among these magnificent possessions of the park, one of them is a very famous spot for visitors – The Basin.

“Risk is the factor of a stratagem measured by what man is powerless to control.”
― Mike Norton, White Mountain

The Basin is found along the upper reaches of the Pemigewasset River. When discussing The Basin as a feature in itself, it is a huge pothole of granite, with its diameter stretching up to between 20 to 30 feet – most commonly believed to be 30 feet. Another fascinating point about The Basin is that it is a natural graphite pothole sparkling with its abyss. It does not only have a drastically wide diameter; but also has an enormously deep depth. The depth of The Basin goes below as low as 15 feet.

However, as enchanting as The Basin and its beautiful sounds, the origin of The Basin was not quite as joyful and impressive. The production of The Basin began from global warming increasing and taking over the world slowly and gradually.

The production of The Basin began from global warming increasing and taking over the world slowly and gradually.

The waterfall that is flowing into The Basin originates from a melting glacier. The glacier witnessed such a beginning about 25,000 years ago when the Ice Age erupted. The water flowing from the glacier into the Franconia Notch caused the solid granite to take a toll by making it erode.

As the proceeding thousands of years went by, sand and stones were triggered to whirl and spin from the resulting force of the river. It, therefore, followed in the sidewalls being left smooth. Hence, the rock formed at the outlet, in the stream bed, has been referred to as “The Old Man’s Foot” by all the generations that have seen this epic result – The Basin.

The walk up to The Basin is very easy and goes by a brisk because most of it is paved. The walk itself is captivating and charming due to the scenery on either side, and the destination of the walk is very motivating and worth it – The Basin itself. The most generous and appealing factor offered by the Franconia Notch State Park is the wheelchair path offered made accessible for the handicapped or disabled.

The Park offers handicapped-accessible viewing to not let anyone left out from the marvelous wonders and beauty of nature. The Park Management has been very considerate and fulfilled their due rights by providing a very well-designed wheelchair overlook. This region has a low wall for easy access to the views by not blocking the bird-eye view to The Basin.

The paved region and other features are not only accessible for the ones in a wheelchair, but it is made accessible just as much for those out to seek adventure on their bicycles. Yes, bicycle riders can access The Basin as well! The east side of the Pemigewasset River is paralleled by the Franconia Notch Recreation Path, which is especially popular amongst bicyclists.

The west side of the river roams through the woods, opening the world to many other small pools and cascades. And not just water bodies, there are also hiking trails like The Basin Cascade Trail and the Pemi Trail. To reach the edge of the pothole, visitors can come from the west side of the river and get to a small overlook area where the edge will be found.

Preferred Seasons

Visitors looking into visiting The Basin at the Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire should try and travel in spring, summer, or fall since those are the preferred seasons and the best times to visit. If you go in winter, you will only find snow and ice.

Pros and Cons

The pros, as previously established, are the beautiful waterfall that flows into The Basin, the fact that the area is wheelchair accessible, and it is only a short walk away from the parking, and there are additional pros too. You would be very pleased and appreciative to know that no parking passes are required. And if you have a pet, there is good news for you! Pets are also allowed in the park. But before visiting, be prepared to not go swimming as it is not permitted to, and brace yourself for some major crowds.

The Basin is one of a kind itself. It features an eye-catching waterfall and a lovely location it is surrounded by. The Park also has many other attractions for visitors, and it is adorned in wildflowers if visited in the preferred seasons. It also puts you in awe because of its historical and geographical significance.

Henry David Thoreau in 1893 made a statement regarding The Basin – “perhaps the most remarkable curiosity of its kind in New England.” It was not just him who made a brilliant critique about The Basin; Samuel Eastman also went ahead to say, “one of the beautiful haunts of Nature, a luxurious and delicious bath fit for the ablutions of a goddess.”

The Basin awaits more visitors like yourself, so once you’re done finding more about it, pay a visit to it! Oh, and it’s a free destination in NH … so pack the kids up and hit the trails while enjoying the fabulous historical view of The Basin.

Directions to The Basin:

To get yourself to The Basin, first ensure that you are journeying on I-93. The direction you are traveling in on I-93 does not matter because it will only make you reach the iconic waterfall from either above or below – it all depends on the direction you are traveling in on I-93. No matter where you reach your destination, make sure to explore the river from both above and below The Basin anyway, as you will find many more unique cascades to see this way, enriching your soul with even more natural beauty.

Anyhow, the directions of The Basin are still very important to know. First, take I-93 to Lincoln, New Hampshire. The fun part is that I-93 itself runs through the Franconia Notch State Park, so once you are on I-93, you will not only be out to experience The Basin but will see and be entranced by a lot more on your way to it.

From the I-93, you will find a well-marked parking lot for The Basin specifically, so park your vehicle there. Once there, to help you with the paths, you will find placards and signboards throughout the Franconia Notch State Park leading up to The Basin. Just follow these very distinctive and easy-to-understand signs, and you will find your way! Moreover, various trails can be found too that lead up to picnic spots in between just in case you get tired.

Some Extra Information:

Just a little additional information to ease up your anxiety about the journey – the parking lot for The Basin GPS coordinates are N44° 07.157′ | W071° 40.875′. Although signs and placards will be of great help, there is no harm in knowing the coordinates too!


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