Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
Swim Rating: Dipping your toes in is possible, but full on swimming is not.
Hike Times, Distances and Difficulties explained below.
Trail Map can be found here.
More information about the conservation area direct from the Great Works Land Trust can be found here.
Orris Falls… How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Alright, I’ll stop being dramatic now. But truthfully this has become one of my new favorite places that we discovered in the past two days. (Read: When I say ‘two days’, we totally went two days in a row and I have absolutely no regrets!) Orris Falls Conservation Area (OFCA) is an amazing 171 acre wetland area which houses a 90ft gorge, a glacial erratic called Balancing Rock, two other mid-sized hills that give overlooks of the areas around OFCA and views of Mt. Agamenticus named ‘Big Bump’ and LaChance Point, and two overlooks called Tatnic Ledges from which Mt. Aggie can again be seen as well as an amazing sunset. There is also much history to the land; you’ll find the foundation of The Littlefield family’s house and barn as well as the family burial ground. There’s a sign just in front of the foundations, done as a Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project by Conor M. LaSelva South Berwick Troop 338, that tells you who had owned the land and how the Great Works Land Trust acquired it. All in all, it’s a neat place!
There is a 1.9 mile out and back trail through OFCA that goes from the Thurrell Rd entrance to the Emery Bridge Rd entrance (both in S. Berwick), however when we went, we couldn’t figure out part of the trail (definitely suggest bringing the trail map!!) so we didn’t make it all the way from one side to the other. Even though most online sources say the trail is moderate, we found it to be a pretty easy hike. The inclines throughout the area are not that steep so it barely feels like you’re climbing. If you just want to see the waterfall, enter from the Thurrell Rd side of the area. There are signs along the way to find Orris Falls; follow these signs and you’ll see the falls are not too far away. Off of the main trail, there is a trail to the left, which is quite steep, that goes down to the side of the waterfall. This trail will give you a head on view of the falls, but please use caution when trekking. If you take the entrance at Emery Bridge Rd, you’ll easily find Balancing Rock and the Tatnic Ledges from there.
To get to the entrances, start by taking Rte 4 N into North Berwick. For the Emery’s Bridge Rd entrance, turn right onto Agamenticus Rd. In about .8 mi, turn right onto Emery’s Bridge Rd and follow until you find 583 Emery’s Bridge Rd. There’s are parking lot to the left of the driveway with room for about 2-3 cars; follow the path on the left to the driveway.
For Thurrell Rd, turn onto Knight’s Bridge Rd from Rte 4. At the end, turn left onto Harvey Rd, then an almost immediate left onto Hooper Sands Rd. Follow to Great Hill Rd, then turn left. In about a half a mile, turn onto Thurrell Rd. From there, the trail head is about a mile up on the right. There’s a parking area with room for about two cars.
As we were unable to reach part of this waterfall and overall park, we will definitely being visiting again in the spring when access will be easier. Until then, please be careful if you make the trek to the area!
Have fun and be safe!