Bear's Den Falls

New Salem, MA 295K

Stories surround this location, such as Indian chieftains meeting and plotting attacks against the townships of Hadley, Deerfield and Northampton in King Phillips War of 1675. Or "Bear's Den," its name referring to a large black bear that was shot on the property. However, two facts are certain, land donated by Mrs. Grais Poole Burrage in 1968 and later in 1988 by Mrs. Dorothy Fittz has saved this waterfall area for all to enjoy. Additional history of commercial venture is located here also, a grist mill operated utilizing a sluice way that was installed by cutting an opening through a rocky ridge. That opening today, serves as an entry way to the falls. The falls situated on the middle branch of the Swift River are surrounded by a gorge of rocky cliff and ledge. So as you walk the 150 yard path from the road and bear left through the jagged opening in the ridge, you have a limited sense of the waterfall being there until you step through and into this amphitheater of Mother Nature. Once inside, you sense an isolation from the rest of the world. It's a great experience and unique for a location so close to the road .
GPS Coordinates

42° 32' 31"N....72°19' 36"W


735 ft. above sea level


Operated by Trustees of the Reservation sunrise to sunset, no camping or fires, dogs on leash . Swimming not encouraged.

Directions to Bear’s Den Falls. New Salem, Ma

Exit off Rt-2 in Orange onto Rt-202 south into New Salem for 2.2 miles. Turn right off Rt-202 onto Holtshire Road towards North New Salem. Drive .75 of a mile taking a left onto Neilson Road. Drive .5 of a mile uphill, you will see a Trustees of the Reservation on the right side. Park your car, about 100 yards from the road is a small path that leads through a crook in the rocky ridge.