Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Nonnewaug Falls"


      I recently came across something about Nonnewaug Falls online, something from the book "New England Waterfalls: A Guide To More Than 400 Cascades and Waterfalls:"

 "A popular local attraction, but unknown to most outsiders and absent from all known guidebooks and websites (at least that we are aware of), Nonnewaug Falls, or Leever Falls, as it is commonly called, is reached by an easy and pleasant walk through woods and past open fields. The falls are surrounded by rich moss and other vegetation which lends a bold green color to the hemlock-shrouded ravine. The 18-foot drop begins as a horsetail before gracefully spilling away from the underlying rock face for a final 7-foot plunge, landing in a waist-deep pool. Swimming is prohibited here, which is a bit of a shame. Exploration of the falls is limited to the side of the river you arrived at as the other side is private property. Although water is likely to flow over the falls year round, high water showcases them best."

"From the parking area, continue on foot past the gate and up the dirt road. About 0.1 mile from the parking area, you will reach an intersection of several trails. Take the far right dirt road
(This is NOT correct: this takes you into a working hayfield. Please stay to the left, passing by the trail into the boundaries of Nonnewaug Pines, to the left and straight up the hill. The roadbed is well worn and curves to the right diagonally up the hill, but be aware that the actual road that passes under the powerlines on the other side of the trees at the edge of the field has been underused lately and is begining to look very over grown, due especially to invaisive plants encroaching into the Preserve. Volunteers to help remove these invaisives are very welcome!)
and begin climbing at a moderate pace. Follow this road as it passes by a pretty field on the right. About 0.25 mile from the road, you will reach a clearing and a fork in the trail. Take the right fork and head back into the woods after 100 feet of walking across an open area. The falls are just ahead."

Nonnewaug Falls from the main site: New England Waterfalls accessed June 30, 2010

Falls Road, Bethlehem CT 06751 is the best address to use as a destination if you are using a website or GPS device to find Nonnewaug Falls. Nonnewaug Falls Open Space Preserve is near the border of Watertown and includes a portion of land in Bethlehem, but is mostly located in Woodbury CT. It was a gift to the town by Harold Leever as well as a gift from the Creator to the many generations of Native People who lived, and still live, nearby - a Scared Place for thousands of years.

Here is a map or two I've made, always including the very large Oak Trees which have stood at the fork in the trail that Falls Road turns into. These oakes mark the place where you travel the path along the edge of another working hayfield toward the opening in the hemlocks that shade the Upper Falls at Nonnewaug.

Please respect the farmer and his crop. You wouldn't like it if he walked across your garden with no regard for your plants!
It is also a place where people are actively working on healing damage done by ATV's.

Here is how things looked in 1934:


  1. This is GREAT! We have only been there one time before. I will be heading back soon! Thanks Tim!

  2. Thanks for posting the directions. I've always wanted to check this place out!

  3. I went there today to do some photography of the falls. Hopefully I got some good shots. I found that if you set your GPS to 100 Falls Road, Bethlehem, CT it will get you right there. :-)

  4. Hello to all. My kids (teenagers) and I are going to start 'waterfall hoping' this summer in attempts to remind them that there is more to life then electronics. My daughter is an amazing photographer and I hope the falls will encourage her to lose her annoyance with bugs and encourage her to seek out the beauty that lies within the woods. My question about these falls... can you swim there?

  5. Amy: the rules say "no swimming" and "equipment (like a bathing suit?) may be confiscated." There is no rule against Wading, however...

  6. Hi Tim do you know where I would find a trail map with distances

  7. I don't know of one that is accurate, but I often go to Google Earth and use the path option to find distances of this and that...