Deerfield River Reach 13

Last Updated: 11/2016
Gardner Falls Dam to Bardwells Ferry Bridge

      I have never met anyone who has paddled this reach there is one dam that cannot be access on a public road which will need to be portaged around. 
  • Mile 15.3 - Wilcox Hollow - A easy put-in located on the opposite side from the power plant just down river. This is a popular swimming hole in the summer months.
  • When the river is high, there is a fair size standing wave above the dam that whitewater kayaks play in.  Also, when the river is high expect continuous Class II rapids all the way to the take-out.
  • Mile 13.9 - There is a sand bar on the right side of the river above the dam barrier.  Take-Out here for the portage.  The take out has a rope to help you get up the embankment. Follow the service road for about a tenth of a mile to the power plant building.
  • Mile 13.8 Put-In below the power plant and dam.  There is a150 foot steep drop down to the water. BRING A ROPE TO DO THIS. It is very steep  and can be slippery. Be careful not to loose your boat  down stream!  Apparently this is not user friendly
  • All along the next mile and half, the river drops and there may be areas where you will have to drag your boat when the river is low.  When the river is higher, the water below the dam starts with a huge 4 ft standing wave and 50 yard wave train. Then it is constant Class II all the way down to Bardwell Ferry bridge.
  • Mile 11.8 - Pass under a Railroad Bridge.  You should be able to see Bardwells Ferry Bridge from here.  It sits high above the river.

Skill Level:            mostly Class 1
Estimated Time:    1.5 hours
Distance:               4.1 miles
USGS Map: Greenfield, MA (7.5’x15’)

Gardners Falls Dam - Mile 15.5
Position: 42-35.48 N 72-43.82 W
Boat Launch:
Take out above the dam and barrier.  A portage can be make down the service road past the brick powerpland and well below the dam.  If you are launching for just this reach, use the alternate put-in below.
Nearest Launch Address:
9 Gardner Falls Road, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Put-In Directions (10.5 miles, 18 minutes):
From exit 26 of Interstate 91:
  1. Take Exit 26 - Greenfield Center/North Adams Routes 2 & 2A
  2. Exit the traffic circle to take Route 2 West toward North Adams.
  3. At mile 8.6, turn left onto South Maple Street at the "Sweetheart Restaurant" sign.
  4. At mile 8.9, turn left onto Bridge Street.
  5. Cross over the bridge and at mile 9.4, turn left onto Bridge Street.
  6. Go a short distance and make aslight left onto Conway Street which keeps you close to the river.
  7. At mile 9.3, at the stop sign, turn right onto South Conway Road/South Street.
  8. At mile 9.6, make the first left onto Gardner Falls Road.
  9. Follow the road to the end past the dam and down to where the powerplant is.

Wilcox Hollow - Mile 15.3
Position: 42-35.24 N 72-43.36 W
Boat Launch:
The turn sign is difficult to see.  It is across and below from Gardner Falls Dam.  Also, Shelburne State Forest land is part of this put-in area.
Nearest Address:
395 Massachusetts 2, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Put-In Directions (8.0 miles, 12 minutes):
  1. From Exit 26 Interstate 91 towards Greenfield Ctr./North Adams
  2. Follow around the rotary and head on Route 2 West toward North Adams
  3. At mile 7.4, turn right onto a somewhat hidden paved entrance.  It quickly turns gravel.
  4. Follow throught a field and into the woods.  The last section follows down the river to a easy put-in.

Bardwells Ferry Bridge - Mile 11.4

Position: 42-33.32 N 72-40.70 W
Boat Launch:
Car Top launch under the bridge.  Park on siding just off of the bridge.  Carry down steep trail.  Make sure everything is tied in secure before launching.
Nearest Launch Address:  
615 Bardwells Ferry Rd, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Put-In Directions (8.3 miles, 14 minutes):
From Exit 26 Interstate 91 towards Greenfield Ctr./North Adams
  1. Follow around the rotary and head on Route 2 West toward North Adams
  2. At mile 4.5, turn left onto Greenfield Road.
  3. At mile 4.7, keep right to continue on Zerah Fiske Rd.
  4. At mile 6.9, merge onto Bardwells Ferry Road.
  5. At about mile 7.9 the road drops and then crosses a railroad track with a sharp left.
  6. Cross over the bridge. Yes it is safe! Park on the right just on the other side of the bridge.

Walking and Hiking Shelburne Trails pamplet and map