Water from Lucy Brook plunges over granite boulders.Photo Credit : Cathryn McCann
At Diana’s Baths in the White Mountain town of Bartlett, NH, both kids and adults can enjoy easy hiking, scrambling over smooth rocks, wading in natural pools, and viewing plunging cascades. The site’s original Abenaki name meant “water fairies’ spring” — and on a warm summer day, with the sun shining between the trees and reflecting into the rushing water, one can certainly imagine how it could be a fairies’ paradise.
In 1863, the five-acre area now known as Diana’s Baths (named for the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon, and nature) was purchased by George G. Lucy and made into the site of a sawmill. In the 1890s, the Lucy family recognized the area’s tourism potential and constructed a three-story boardinghouse and, later, a souvenir shop. Although those structures no longer exist (except for remnants) and the area is now owned by the U.S. Forest Service, its tourism draw remains strong. Here’s what to expect if you make the trip.
The path to Diana’s Baths is well maintained, and it’s less than a mile to the base of the falls. Visitors can easily walk it with water shoes or sandals, but sneakers or hiking shoes are appropriate for those who intend to do more exploring.
Once you get to Diana’s Baths, you’ll find a rocky, shallow area downstream.
Look upstream, and you’ll see the beautiful cascades.
Thanks to a convenient group of rock formations, there are great shallow pools to dip your feet into or to sit in.
You’ll find plenty of smooth boulders here, too. When their potholes fill with water, they sometimes form small whirlpools.
On a nice summer day, expect to see family picnics, camp field trips, and a plethora of eager swimmers, explorers, and sunbathers.
For those who want to escape the crowds, however, there’s a network of just under 10 miles of trails to hike.
But don’t miss the main attraction: 12-foot waterfalls! The falls are fed by Lucy Brook and plunge over large granite boulders.
And if you do some of your own exploring, you’ll likely find a favorite spot. There are more beautiful rock formations and small falls in the nooks of Diana’s Baths.
• Parking address: 3725 West Side Road in Bartlett, NH.
• As with other popular tourist destinations, parking fills up quickly at Diana’s Baths. In the peak of summer, consider visiting earlier or later in the day. A parking pass is $5 per day.
• The rocks can get slippery. Pack water shoes with good traction.
• The water is chilly but tolerably so. If you opt to swim, wear a bathing suit and consider bringing a towel.
• There are single-stall restrooms near the parking area.
Have you ever visited Diana’s Baths in Bartlett, NH? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.