The Basin


The Basin waterfall and pothole is one of the most legendary sites in all of New Hampshire. The Basin features an 8-foot waterfall that plunges into a large pothole that measures about 30 feet wide and 15 feet deep. The natural wonder attracts thousands of visitors each year. When Henry David Thoreau first saw the Basin in September of 1839, he described it as “perhaps the most remarkable curiosity of its kind in New England.”  In his 1858 White Mountain Guide, Samuel Eastman called this feature “One of the beautiful haunts of Nature, a luxurious and delicious bath fit for the ablutions of a goddess.”

This enormous pothole in the Pemigewasset River dates back to the end of the Ice Age, some 25,000 years ago. The strong granite bedrock was worn by water pouring from the melting glacier that filled Franconia Notch. Sand and stones were swirled around by the force of the river for thousands of years, generating a boring action that smoothed the sidewalls. If you look at The Basin from above, you will see a unique foot-looking formation which is known as “Old Man’s Foot.”

Reaching The Basin is extremely easy. Simple walk 0.2 miles from the parking areas to the start of the trailhead of the Basin-Cascade Trail. The Basin is located right at the trailhead. There is a fenced area at the base of the waterfall which allows visitors to get a closer look. Additionally, visitors can view the falls from above. Dogs are allowed at The Basin on leash.  

Be sure to check out the stunning 30-foot plunge waterfall, Kinsman Falls, located just half a mile from The Basin. Additionally, find more great spots to explore by visiting our New Hampshire map at!


Waterfall Specs

  • Height: 8 feet
  • Type: Plunge
  • Water source: Pemigewasset River
  • Swimming: Prohibited and/or not possible

The Basin Location

  • Park: Franconia Notch State Park & White Mountain National Forest
  • Address: Route 93
  • Town: Lincoln
  • State: New Hampshire
  • GPS: Lat 44.12096 Lng -71.68297
  • Parking Notes: There are about 50 parking spaces at the Basin Cascade Trailhead parking lot located right off I 93. Parking is free. There is an additional park lot across the highway about .20 miles away.
  • Parking Directions: HERE
  • Location Directions: HERE


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