As awesome as waterfalls are to watch in the spring – they’re equally alluring during the colder months. If you haven’t experienced them during this season, you’ll want to be sure to put this hike on your winter to do list.
The first stop on our route is the Basin. One of Franconia Notch State Park’s Natural Wonders. Park at the Basin Parking Lot and follow the Pemi Trail — it’s a quick walk on the snow-covered path and always an awesome sight.
From the Basin, head down the Pemi Trail a bit further to the Baby Flume. It’s a short easy walk to get to this small waterfall that drops 6 feet or so through a narrow flume, but it is beautiful just the same.
Now it’s time to hit the Basin-Cascade Trail.
You’ll probably want micro-spikes for this trek and it’s a good idea to have hiking poles along with you too. Once you start your climb up it won’t be long before you’ll notice the sounds of the highway disappear and are replaced by the peaceful calm of a snow-covered forest. The trail follows the Cascade Brook so you’ll hear rushing water most of the way. Take some time and walk out to the many look out points to enjoy views of the nearby peaks.
A half a mile into the hike you’ll come to Kinsman Falls. The frozen wall of water, which drops about 20 feet or so is such majestic sight. If you’re up for it, hike down to the frozen brook below to see the sight from a different view. It is steep and a bit of a scramble so take your time going down and up.
Continue on Basin Cascade Trail, you’ll be winding your way back and forth along Cascade Brook.
About a half mile further, you’ll come to another gem Rocky Glen Falls. There is no sign marking the fall, so be watching for it on the right. This fall drops about 35 feet down. The best view of the frozen wall of ice is from down in the gorge. If you hike down to see it, be sure to take your time and watch your step.
If you wanted to continue further – Lonesome Lake is another 1.3 miles up the trail.
There are a number of other water sights to see in the Notch. The Falling Waters Trail will take you to three picturesque waterfalls.
The first one on this trail is Stairs Falls…the smallest of the 3 on this route but impressive none-the-less.
Swiftwater Falls is up next — the 60 foot frozen falls giving way to a crystal clear pool down below.
The final in this series of falls is Cloudland… an impressive 80-foot wall of frozen water. How cool is that?!?
If you’re still up for more adventure – plan a stop at one of the most well-known spots in the Notch – the Flume Gorge. This natural wonder boasting a number of water features – including Avalanche Falls.
The temperatures during the winter months can fluctuate dramatically in the mountains so be sure you have appropriate gear and are dressed for the conditions. NH Fish and Game has tips to help you hike safe no matter what the season. Be sure to follow our travels throughout the winter on Facebook and Instagram!