FALLS ON THE BASIN-CASCADES TRAIL


Lincoln, New Hampshire



RATING: 4.5 / 5.0 stars (Excellent) Falls On The Basin-Cascades Trail, New Hampshire
(see below for larger image and additional photographs)
STATE: New Hampshire
COUNTY: Grafton
TOWN: Lincoln
PARK: Franconia Notch State Park & White Mountain National Forest
PRIVATE PROPERTY: No
TYPE: Cascades, slides, and small plunges
HEIGHT: Varies (see notes)
WATER SOURCE: Pemigewasset River, Cascade Brook
WATERSHED SIZE: Medium/large
TRAIL LENGTH: To The Basin, 0.1 mile one-way; to Baby Flume, 0.4 mile one-way; to Kinsman Falls, 0.6 mile one-way; to Rocky Glen Falls, 1.1 miles one-way
TRAIL DIFFICULTY: To The Basin, easy; to Baby Flume, easy side of moderate; to Kinsman Falls, moderate; to Rocky Glen Falls, moderate side of difficult
HIKING TIME: To The Basin, 5 minutes one-way; to Baby Flume, 10 minutes one-way; to Kinsman Falls, 25 minutes one-way; to Rocky Glen Falls, 45 minutes one-way
ALTITUDE GAIN: To The Basin, down 20 feet; to Baby Flume, down 50 feet; to Kinsman Falls, up 300 feet, down 30 feet; to Rocky Glen Falls, up 500 feet, down 20 feet
WHEN TO VISIT: May to October
SWIMMING: The Basin: Prohibited
Baby Flume: Not Possible
Kinsman Falls: Great
Pools between Kinsman Falls & Rocky Glen Falls: Great
Rocky Glen Falls: Not Possible
DELORME ATLAS: 2005: Page 43, F&G-11 (the falls are marked as 'The Basin' on the NH atlas)
2015: Page 51, C-4 (the falls are marked as 'The Basin' on the NH/VT atlas)
HANDICAP ACCESS: Yes (the top of The Basin is viewable from the paved Franconia Notch Bike Path; the rest of the waterfalls described here are not handicap-accessible)
DOGS ALLOWED: Yes
COST TO VISIT: Free (as of 2017)
LENS TO BRING: Wide-angle (14-35mm) and/or standard (35-70mm)
ALTERNATE NAMES: The Basin, Rocky Glenn Falls
GPS-TRAILHEAD: Coming soon
GPS-WATERFALL: Coming soon
COMPASS: The Basin: 320° excluding declination (the falls face southwest)
Baby Flume: 305° excluding declination (the falls face southwest)
Kinsman Falls: 60° excluding declination (the falls face east)
Rocky Glen Falls: 20° excluding declination (the falls face southeast)
INCLUDED IN BOOK?: Yes, the falls are included as a full chapter within the guidebook
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THE FALLS

Imagine a mile-long stretch of a brook with several named waterfalls and dozens of large, unnamed cascades. This is Cascade Brook as seen from the Basin-Cascades Trail. Over a stretch about one mile in length, the wide brook drops a total of six hundred vertical feet. Even though the trail that runs parallel to the brook is one of the most popular in the White Mountains region, there are enough sun-exposed cataracts, cascades, and slides for everyone to be able to claim themselves a private spot for hours.

The major tourist-drawing feature is a small waterfall located in “The Basin” along the Pemigewasset River. Only a few feet tall, this small falls travels sideways through narrow chute into a deep whirlpool. There is almost always at least one visitor to the falls at the Basin during all hours of sunlight. This high visitation is far from surprising, as access to the Basin could not be easier. The area is marked by large signs on a major interstate, there is ample parking, and it is located just south of the other tourist-crazed features of Franconia Notch State Park, such as The Flume and Cannon Mountain. Kinsman Falls, Rocky Glen Falls, and a mile of the Basin-Cascades Trail lie beyond the waterfall at the Basin. Kinsman Falls, a narrow 15-foot plunge into a swimmable pool, is the first officially named waterfall of the Basin-Cascades Trail. Before Kinsman Falls, the trail is blessed with unnamed cascades and plunges, many worthy of their own name and recognition.

Rocky Glen Falls is the final waterfall along the Basin-Cascades Trail. Here, Cascade Brook falls roughly 35-feet over two segments of jagged steps between narrow gorge walls into deep, yellow-colored pools. Of all the falls along this trip, Rocky Glen Falls is perhaps the finest.

A short distance downstream of The Basin is the Baby Flume. This 6-foot waterfall splashes its way through a narrow and short but attractive flume.

In previous editions of this guide, hiking to Lonesome Lake from the Basin-Cascades Trail was recommended. However, a bridge that previously existed above Rocky Glen Falls was destroyed and is unlikely to be replaced by the U.S. Forest Service. If you would like to hike to Lonesome Lake, the Lonesome Lake Trail from the Lafayette Campground is the preferred route.

TRAIL INFORMATION

Trail information and directions for this particular waterfall can be found in the latest edition of the guidebook: New England Waterfalls.

DIRECTIONS

Trail information and directions for this particular waterfall can be found in the latest edition of the guidebook: New England Waterfalls.

UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION

Although this does not affect any of the waterfalls themselves, the bridge above the uppermost falls on this trail (Rocky Glen Falls) was damaged and later removed. I do not recommend using this trail to visit Lonesome Lake as it would be difficult or potentially dangerous to cross the river without the bridge in place. It is possible that the White Mountain National Forest may never replace this bridge as the potential for it getting destroyed again is too great.

If you know of any updates to this waterfall, or notice any errors either on this website and/or within the New England Waterfalls guidebook, please send me an email at gparsons66@hotmail.com or leave a Facebook comment at the bottom of this page. Updates to all of the waterfalls in the latest edition of the guidebook can always be found here: book updates

OPTIONAL HIKES

None noted.

PHOTOGRAPHS

The Basin, New Hampshire
The Basin, New Hampshire

The Basin, New Hampshire
a view from the top of The Basin, New Hampshire (this view is handicap accessible)

The Basin, New Hampshire
The Basin, New Hampshire

Baby Flume, The Basin, New Hampshire
Baby Flume, The Basin, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire
Kinsman Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire

Rocky Glen Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire
Rocky Glen Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire

Rocky Glen Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire
Rocky Glen Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire
Kinsman Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire
Kinsman Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire
Kinsman Falls, Falls on the Basin Cascades Trail, New Hampshire

The Basin, New Hampshire
The Basin, New Hampshire

a view of some of the upper falls at The Basin, New Hampshire
a view of some of the upper falls at The Basin, New Hampshire

one of the many chutes and slides at The Basin, New Hampshire
one of the many chutes and slides at The Basin, New Hampshire

a view of some of the upper falls at The Basin, New Hampshire
a view of some of the upper falls at The Basin, New Hampshire

INTERESTED IN VISITING MORE WATERFALLS IN NEW ENGLAND?

Our 376-page New England Waterfalls: 2nd Edition guidebook contains detailed information on over 400 waterfalls throughout New England. Click on the image below to read reviews and/or purchase the guidebook on Amazon.com.



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TIPS FOR VISITING WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES

Here are some tips to help ensure that your trip to New England's waterfalls and swimming holes will be a safe and enjoyable one:
  • DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS - When you visit waterfalls, you should consider bringing all of the following: (a) bug spray; (b) food/snacks; (c) water/sports drinks; (d) camera/smart-phone; (e) guidebook/trail map; (f) daypack/backpack; and (g) hiking shoes, hiking boots or watershoes. A full day hiking packing list can be found here.
  • CONSIDER BUYING WATER SHOES - You won't see too many people using them, but watershoes are fantastic pieces of equipment that can make your trip to waterfalls and swimming holes safer and more enjoyable. Merrill and Keen make some fantastic watershoes (here are some great ones from Merrill: womens / mens).
  • LEAVE NO TRACE - When you visit waterfalls and swimming holes, you'll often see some trash and sometimes you'll even find clothing left behind by others. It's really, really sad, and it irks the heck out of us. Won't you consider carrying out some of trash and clothing left by others when you leave? That would leave the spot more beautiful for the next person. Bring a trash bag and be a hero!
  • PRIVATE PROPERTY - Many waterfalls and swimming holes are located on private property and so we are truly fortunate that many landowners allow us to enjoy them. If you want to ensure that they stay open to the public, please do your best to leave no trace. If you see a sign that says 'Private Property', turn around and find another waterfall to visit or a different place to swim.
  • BRING A DSLR CAMERA AND TRIPOD WITH YOU - If you want to take high-quality photographs of waterfalls, your smart-phone just won't cut it. Get a DSLR camera, a tripod, and learn to master the art of waterfall photography.
  • SCOUT FIRST, SWIM SECOND - Never enter a swimming hole without first scouting it, even if you see somebody else swimming in it. Stop and access the risks based upon the depth of water, the power of the current, evidence of slippery rocks, and other safety factors.
  • CLIFF JUMPING - Cliff jumping is dangerous. Like, seriously dangerous. Understand the risks before you partake in this activity. Many have died from doing this in New England. Here is a list of all known deaths at waterfalls and swimming holes in New England.
  • PLEASE DON'T BUILD ROCK CAIRNS - Please do not build new rock cairns at waterfalls or swimming holes. Cairns are a strong reminder of human presence, and don't we all want to see waterfalls in their natural state and glory? Photographers get particularly annoyed at seeing cairns, so please resist the urge to build them.
  • DON'T RELY ON YOUR GPS TO GET YOU TO THE TRAILHEAD - Waterfalls don't have addresses, so relying on your GPS to get you to a trailhead is great way to get yourself lost. You need a guidebook, a road atlas, and/or a hiking map to visit the vast majority of waterfalls in New England. Also keep in mind that waterfalls are often located in wild areas, where smart-phone map apps and car GPS units may not work at all.
  • WATERFALLS IN SPRING - The best time to visit waterfalls is generally in the spring during the annual snowmelt (which is April to June). However, most waterfalls will often look great for several days after a significant rain storm.
  • HELP KEEP THE ULTRA-SECRET SWIMMING HOLES A SECRET (FOREVER) - If you find some ultra-secret swimming holes, please do your best to keep them a secret. Do not post their locations online or wildly share directions or photos with others. All of the swimming holes that are included in the guidebook and online through this website are the well-known swimming spots. There are many more holes that are much further off the beaten path, but they deserve a chance to stay wild and pristine.
  • DON'T SCRAMBLE UP WATERFALLS - So many people been seriously injured and killed in the waterfalls of New England. Many of these folks got too close to a waterfall and slipped and fell. Don't become a statistic: stay far back from the edge.
  • WEAR TRACTION IF YOU VISIT WATERFALLS IN WINTER - Visiting waterfalls in winter can be rewarding, but there is often a higher element of danger. You may need crampons, snowshoes, and/or some other form of traction (like Microspikes) in order to safely hike to waterfalls in winter.
  • SUPPORT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT CONSERVE WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES - There are some organizations in New England that work diligently to conserve and maintain waterfalls and swimming holes. Please consider supporting these organizations, either with their trail maintenance projects or with monetary donations. Here are three excellent organizations engaged in this extremely important mission: the Trustees of Reservations, the Vermont River Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy.

HELPFUL LINKS

Here are some helpful links to help you explore and enjoy more waterfalls and hikes throughout New England:
  • Waterfalls of Connecticut = link
  • Waterfalls of Maine = link
  • Waterfalls of Massachusetts = link
  • Waterfalls of New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls of Rhode Island = link
  • Waterfalls of Vermont = link
  • Best Waterfalls in New England = link
  • Best Swimming Holes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Day Hikes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Family-Friendly Day Hikes in New England = link
  • Waterfalls Near Boston, Massachusetts = link
  • Waterfalls Near Lincoln, New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls Near North Conway, New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls Near Stowe, Vermont = link
  • Waterfall Photography Tips = link

OTHER WATERFALL GUIDEBOOKS

In addition to the New England Waterfalls guidebook, there are several other guidebooks that can help you find waterfalls and swimming holes:
  • Vermont Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Hiking Waterfalls in New England: A Guide to the Region's Best Waterfall Hikes (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls (2nd Edition: 1999) = link
  • Connecticut Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2014) = link
  • Rodrick's Guide to Vermont Waterfalls, Cascades & Gorges (1st Edition: 2014) = link
       

WATERFALLS ON FACEBOOK

Join the growing communities of waterfall aficionados on Facebook! You can share your photographs, follow the adventures of other waterfall hunters, and find new places to explore:

  • Request to join the "New England Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "New Hampshire Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "Northeastern Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "Vermont Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "Waterfalls of the United States" community > link

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ASK A QUESTION / LEAVE A COMMENT / PROVIDE AN UPDATE:

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Waterfalls, swimming holes, and hiking can be extremely dangerous. Hundreds of people have been injured or killed in the waterfalls and swimming holes of New England over the years. Never swim in strong water currents. Don't jump into a swimming hole without scouting it first. Do not climb up or along the side of waterfalls. Be weary of slippery rocks. Never swim in pools above waterfalls. Use of this website and all of its information is at your own risk! Newenglandwaterfalls.com and the authors of the New England Waterfalls guidebook will not be held liable for your actions. Be safe out there - and always use common sense!