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Virtual Visit | Diana’s Baths, ‘Home of the Water Fairies,’ in Bartlett, New Hampshire

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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.

Now owned by the U.S. Forest Service, the site of Diana's Baths has evolved over time.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

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.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, New Hampshire

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.

Cross the bridge over to Diana's Baths.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

Once you get to Diana’s Baths, you’ll find a rocky, shallow area downstream.

Downstream is not the best spot for swimming.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

Look upstream, and you’ll see the beautiful cascades.

The lower falls are beautiful, but not the most popular spot.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

Thanks to a convenient group of rock formations, there are great shallow pools to dip your feet into or to sit in.

A great spot to dip your feet.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

You’ll find plenty of smooth boulders here, too. When their potholes fill with water, they sometimes form small whirlpools.

Smoothed over the years by rushing water, the rocks at Diana's Baths take on interesting shapes.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

On a nice summer day, expect to see family picnics, camp field trips, and a plethora of eager swimmers, explorers, and sunbathers.

Diana's Baths are a popular spot for swimmers, sun bathers, and explorers.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

For those who want to escape the crowds, however, there’s a network of just under 10 miles of trails to hike.

There's just under 10 miles of trails to hike.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

But don’t miss the main attraction: 12-foot waterfalls! The falls are fed by Lucy Brook and plunge over large granite boulders.

Water from Lucy Brook plunges over granite boulders.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

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.

You'll find beautiful rock formations and small falls in the nooks of Diana's Baths.

Exploring Diana’s Baths | Bartlett, NH

Cathryn McCann

If you go:

• 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. 

SEE MORE:
Best Swimming Holes in New England
Sculptured Rocks Natural Area | “Little Grand Canyon of New Hampshire”
Best Beginner Hike in Every New England State

The post Virtual Visit | Diana’s Baths, ‘Home of the Water Fairies,’ in Bartlett, New Hampshire appeared first on New England Today.



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