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Bear's Den, New Salem

#101 of 156 in Nature in Massachusetts
Bear's Den is a 6acre nature reserve in New Salem, Massachusetts. The reservation is close to the Quabbin Reservoir and is owned by the Trustees of Reservations.
The property takes its name from a large black bear once shot here "though more romantic -- yet unsubstantiated -- stories exist" according to the Trustees of Reservations.
The Middle Branch of the Swift River passes through the steep granite cliffs of Bear's Den reservation on its way to the Quabbin Reservoir. The gorge is 75' deep and rimmed with hemlock. At one point, a change in elevation creates a waterfall. According to one description: 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.
A short path leads from Neilson Road into the reservation and immediately splits into a leftward path towards the gorge and a rightward path leading to a small cave (the eponymous "Bear's Den") and a stream. These trail is less than one quarter mile of easy hiking. The reservation is "a tranquil spot for hiking and picnicking." Seasonal hunting is allowed on the property subject to all state and local laws.
Use our New Salem sightseeing planner to visit Bear's Den on your trip to New Salem, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Bear's Den Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
13 reviews
  • Nice hike into see the falls and old mill site. The hike is easy enough for those out of shape. The falls are probably more impressive with the spring thaw then when we went.  more »
  • This was my first trip to Bears den falls. Absolutely love this place. Small parking area and then a short walk into the woods. There are a few trails you can take. I took the one that goes straight t...  more »
  • A lovely place for hiking. There is a waterfall that is stunning. There are trails that are easy to follow. Visiting Bear's Den is a great way to unwind and relax. I did not see any bears, but I hear there is one somewhere nearby. There is a lot to experience out in nature here.
  • Beautiful place to go hiking or take a dip! One of orange's most beautiful spots. Bring your bug repellent though!

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