Explore the Basin in Franconia Notch
New Hampshire › The Basin Upper Parking Area
Added by Chris Mongeau
Explore pristine woods and waterfalls. The Basin itself (an enormous, granite pothole that has been eroded by the Pemigewasset River over 15,000 years).
The Basin is just one stop on the Pemigewasset Recreational Trail that follows along I-93 through Franconia Notch. The parking lot for the Basin is easily accessible from either north or south on I-93, and it has it's own exit sign which can't be missed.
Park in the lot and follow the signs towards the Basin. While the main attraction here is obviously the Basin itself, hiking through these woods on the Cascade Brook Trail is awesome too. After leaving the parking lot, turn left on the Pemigewasset Recreational Trail and walk about .25 miles until you see a trail on the right hand side (the Cascade Brook Trail).
In winter, cross-country skiers or snow-shoers can enjoy the relatively flat Pemigewasset Recreational Trail, which is accessible from the parking lot at the Basin as well as other spots in Franconia. If you choose not to turn right on the Cascade Brook Trail, you can simply continue on for another 2 miles to the Flume Gorge. The Pemi Trail is not a loop, so you'd need to come back the way you came from.
During the summer months, the Pemi Trail and the Basin can be packed with tourists, but during the winter, it's much quieter and peaceful. There will always be people up here skiing and snow-shoeing, but if you go on a week day, you can enjoy a relatively isolated experience on the Cascade Brook Trail.
There are tons of options here depending on what you want to do. If you just want a short walk to see the Basin and cascading waterfalls around it, the total distance is less than a mile there and back. If you want a more challenging and lengthier hike, you can continue to hike up the Cascade Brook Trail, which will eventually bring you to Lonesome Lake. Lonesome Lake is on the Appalachian Trail, and there's even a hut here that is open during the winter on a self-service basis. The total distance to Lonesome Lake from the Basin is about 2.5 miles, all up-hill on the way there. During the winter, the snow can actually make it a little easier to hike this trail, because the rocky path is covered, but coming back down can be a challenge when the snow is wet and slippery. Good hiking boots are a must for this if you want to enjoy it!
- Snow boots
- Winter coat
- Extra layers
- Snow shoes (not necessary, but a good idea)
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Nice Short walk in - explored this while on a road trip through the Whites! Worth the stop along with Flume Gorge, Sabbaday Falls and Rocky Gorge. Love the Whites so many great spots and you don't always have to climb to find!
More Adventures Nearby
Hike Artists Bluff
New Hampshire / Artists Bluff Trail
Starting from the Bald Mountain trailhead, the Artists Bluff trail takes you up a short but steep 1.5 mile path to a beautiful rocky overlook of Franconia Notch State Park.
Photograph Fall Foliage on the Kancamagus Highway
New Hampshire / Kancamagus Highway - Route 112
Driving the Kancamagus Highway is something you can do as a way to cross the White Mountain National Forest quickly from I-93 in the east to Conway, or it can be an entire day's activity.