About This Location
Nestled in the heart of New Hampshire's breathtaking landscapes, The Basin waterfall and pothole is a legendary natural wonder that has captured the imagination of visitors for generations. This enchanting site features an 8-foot waterfall gracefully plunging into a large pothole, measuring approximately 30 feet in width and 15 feet in depth. It's a captivating spectacle that draws thousands of visitors each year, and its allure has been celebrated by luminaries such as Henry David Thoreau and Samuel Eastman.
Henry David Thoreau, when he first laid eyes on The Basin in September of 1839, was so struck by its beauty that he described it as "perhaps the most remarkable curiosity of its kind in New England." In Samuel Eastman's 1858 White Mountain Guide, he echoed this sentiment, calling The Basin "One of the beautiful haunts of Nature, a luxurious and delicious bath fit for the ablutions of a goddess."
The story of The Basin dates back to the end of the Ice Age, approximately 25,000 years ago. Formed by the ceaseless action of water, this enormous pothole in the Pemigewasset River showcases the immense power of nature. As the glacier that filled Franconia Notch began to melt, torrents of water flowed, wearing away the unyielding granite bedrock. Over millennia, sand and stones were swirled around in a captivating dance, leading to the creation of this natural wonder. If viewed from above, The Basin exhibits a distinctive shape resembling a foot, known as the "Old Man's Foot."
Getting to The Basin is a breeze. A short 0.2-mile walk from the parking areas leads to the trailhead of the Basin-Cascade Trail, and The Basin itself is conveniently located right at the trailhead. Visitors are treated to the opportunity to admire The Basin from a fenced area at its base, allowing for an up-close experience with this captivating natural phenomenon. For those seeking an alternative perspective, the falls can also be viewed from above. The Basin welcomes leashed dogs, inviting even four-legged friends to partake in the natural splendor.
Parking is a breeze, with around 50 available spaces at the Basin Cascade Trailhead parking lot, conveniently located just off I-93. Best of all, parking is free. To enhance your experience, consider exploring the nearby Kinsman Falls, a magnificent 30-foot plunge waterfall situated just half a mile from The Basin. It's yet another testament to the unparalleled beauty of Franconia Notch and the captivating wonders that await those who venture into its embrace.