Basin Adventures

It was snowing when we pulled into The Basin. That Saturday, my boyfriend and I were up for an adventure; both feeling the need to get outside. Yet with an impending storm, we only had time for a short hike. We decided that The Basin was our best option. We walked through the trees, and marveled at the Pemigewasset River making its slow way through Franconia Notch State Park. Gazing around, I kept thinking how unique this spot is. In this article I’ll share some reasons why The Basin is a great place to visit in the Winter.

Looking downstream from The Basin.  Photo By Colleen Ann
Looking downstream from The Basin.
(Photo By Colleen Ann)

Trail Choices

The Basin is home to many different trails. There’s an assortment of small pathways through the woods, as well as hiking trails that lead you up towards Lonesome Lake and higher into the mountains. In Winter, it’s nice to have a location that offers both options. As we were driving up, I noticed a darkness surrounding the mountains. There was a storm coming in. We didn’t think it was wise to go into the higher elevations. At The Basin we were able to get close to nature, in a safe manner. I look forward to coming back another day and making my way up into the mountains. Part of the beauty of this place is that it offers trails for a vast array of skill levels.


The Basin in Ice. Photo by Colleen Ann.
The Basin in Ice.
(Photo by Colleen Ann)

Convenient and Close

The Basin is a great place for beginners to get out into nature. It’s close to the highway, has a big parking lot and well marked entrances. All you really needs to enjoy it is a good pair of boots, a jacket, gloves and a hat. It is a great place to bring children, or those who cannot make it into the back country.  Even though we have had several feet of snow, we were able to make our way down the pathways. We found that thin pathways had been worn into the snow. The trails in most places are gradual. Along the path you can see the winding river, and walk underneath the bare trees. You can go over bridges, and gaze at waterfalls encased in ice. The Basin provides easier access to the wonders of Franconia Notch. It brings nature close to those who would not be able to experience it otherwise.


On the trail. Photo by Colleen Ann.
On the trail
(Photo by Colleen Ann)


One of the things that I love about New Hampshire is that our scenery is always changing. No matter how many times you have been to a place, it will never be the same. The ground was covered with a thick blanket of snow. In places the river peeked weakly out, the dark rushing water making its way downstream. Most of  the streams and cascades that dominate The Basin in summer had turned into great runs of ice in Winter.  Even The Basin was frozen. The great fall that roars with ferocity in summer lay muffled. The pool was still open, but on the edges ice had begun to form. Winter has a harsh beauty that I am captivated by.


Looking up the trail. Colleen Ann.
Looking up the trail.
(Colleen Ann photo)

Beat the Crowds

In the winter, you are given a more intimate experience with nature. The trails are less crowded, and it allows you the opportunity to take everything in. You can pause, and watch the way the snow falls before it settles silently down on the white blankets on the ground. You can see how ice and snow clings to the bark of the trees, or where the ice forms on the rocks in the streams.  The off season takes away the noise and distraction of the Summer. It gives you the chance to focus on the small intricate details that make these places within nature so special.


Ice on trees. Photo by Colleen Ann
Ice on trees.
(Photo by Colleen Ann)

Rekindle Childhood Memories

I have always loved The Basin. As a child I was brought here, and made my way excitedly down these paths. As I have grown older, I have begun to appreciate that these places in Winter as well. It is very different, yet breathtaking. I have come to realize that everything I step outside, I learn something new. Its why I continue to make my way outside, and I urge others to do so as well. It is a different experience, but so special.


Colleen O'Connell

My name is Colleen. I am a writer, and a life-long resident of New Hampshire. Growing up in the Southwestern part of the state, I spent most of my free time outside. As I have grown and matured, my love for New Hampshire and its natural beauty has grown as well. I spend most of my free time hiking, skiing, and exploring the natural beauty of our state. I enjoy the natural wonders of our state, and sharing these experiences and places with others through my writing.

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