The Basin

Location: Lincoln, NH
Stream  : Pemigewasset River
Finding : Trivial
Access  : Trivial (handicap access too)
Height  : Five feet or so. This is not really a waterfall.

Wednesday, May 22, 1996

The Basin is a significant tourist attraction in the Franconia Notch region of New Hampshire. There are large, dramatic signs for it on either side of the Notch Parkway. There are large parking areas nearby that support both cars and campers. There is a paved walkway leading down to a place where you can view The Basin itself.

Hardly anyone was there today. It's too early in the season and Wednesday afternoon is most likely not the busiest time for tourists anyway. I walked down to a place where you can stand right next to the river and view The Basin (not the paved route). It was close enough and low enough that I'm sure it must flood during the spring high water season.

The Basin is an interesting sight. The Pemigewasset River, just a small stream at this point, falls over a small waterfall and into a large, round pothole. The pothole measures a good 15 feet across and has been carved out of solid rock by the force of the river as it rolled smaller rocks and stones around the inside of the eroding pothole. The bedrock outcrops into the river just downstream from the pothole and it has been smoothed by the action of the water. It almost looks melted.

I suspect that most of erosion done at The Basin was done when the glaciers were melting off of New England several thousand years ago. At that time the river would probably have been higher and it would have been filled with abrasive ground rock from the glacial run-off.

The Pemigewasset River is very beautiful. It is very clear and has a rich, emerald green color in the deeper sections. A little upstream from The Basin the river cascades over a nice, but small falls and splits into two sections. One section fumes down a channel maybe only two feet wide right next to the trail. It is very unusual and interesting.

If you visit The Basin, however, you really should walk up the Cascade Brook Trail. The Basin isn't much of a waterfall, but there are some falls on Cascade Brook that shouldn't be missed.

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© Copyright 1996 by Peter Chapin.
Last Revised: May 24, 1996