About Bear Swamp
Bear Swamp is a boating launch point and take-out area at Zoar Gap on the Deerfield River. This river flows throughout Western Massachusetts and is well-known for fishing, rafting, and whitewater kayaking. Zoar Gap, specifically, is one of the most technically challenging sections of the river. Paddlers will find various routes with Class III rapids in this section.
Bear Swamp is located on the right side of the river before the rapids, making it an ideal take-out spot for beginners and intermediate kayakers hoping to skip Zoar Gap. Boaters can also portage their boats to the end of the gap and paddle the calmer Class I and Class II rapids further downstream.
On the Deerfield River, visitors will greet scenic views and diverse wildlife. Numerous local bird species, such as hawks and herons, are easily visible along the side of the river. The Berkshires also rise from the river’s edges, providing boaters with excellent mountain views at all times of the year. When the weather cools, these hills eventually turn yellow and orange with the vibrance of fall foliage.
Visitors will find a small parking area on the side of River Road. More parking areas are along River Road until the Bear Swamp Hydroelectric Dam.