Kayaking and Canoeing

pocketguide.jpg

Most of the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord Rivers are classified as flatwater/quietwater. There are some Class I/II rapids in Maynard that can provide a challenge for beginner whitewater boaters. The Concord River in Lowell has three Class III/IV rapids (Twisted Sister, Three Beauties, and Middlesex Dam); there are whitewater rafting trips available in the spring. Put-ins are located throughout the watershed and are shown on the recreation maps, which can help you find the best ways to safely navigate the rivers.

Some of the best trips on the Assabet River include:

Paddling the headwaters at Assabet Reservoir (Nichols Reservoir) in Westborough.
There is a boat ramp and easy access to the reservoir. Plentiful fish and wildlife - especially in the spring. Warning: the reservoir still has many submerged trees which could ruin a good day on the water. Travel slowly.

Below Gleasondale Dam (Stow) to Ben Smith Dam (Maynard).
This is an easy paddle with only a few simple challenges (mostly during low water conditions). You will travel through a variety of marshlands and other riparian ecosystems. Because the river moves very quietly here (except in the spring) all three put-ins along the way offer the ability to do a round trip and put-in and take-out from the same spot (in case you don't have a spare automobile). This section of the river is ideal for beginners.

Below Damonmill (W. Concord) to Egg Rock (Concord).
Experience firsthand why this section of the river was designated Wild and Scenic by the federal government. Putting in at Westvale Meadows is a little tricky, and there are a few snags and bridges along the way to navigate through -- novice boaters might want to go with a more experienced boater the first time down. You can also start at Egg Rock and paddle upstream, although the current will eventually get too strong.

South Bridge Boat House to Egg Rock and up the Assabet, round trip.
Explore the confluence of the three rivers in Concord by way of a gentle paddle down the Sudbury River from South Bridge Boat House (see below) to Egg Rock and then up the Assabet River, or down the Concord River to the Old Manse and North Bridge, then home again. Great for novice paddlers since you can rent canoes or kayaks.

Canoe and Kayak Rentals
South Bridge Boat House (Sudbury River)
Route 62 (496 Main Street) Concord, Mass.
Phone (978) 369-9438
www.canoeconcord.com

EMS in Acton
Brookside Shops, 145 Great Road, Acton, Mass.
Phone (978) 263-4151
www.ems.com

EMS in Marlborough
The Shops at the Pond, 753 Donald J. Lynch Boulevard, Marlborough, Mass.
Phone (508) 481-2107
www.ems.com

REI in Framingham
375 Cochituate Road, Framingham, Mass.
Phone (508) 270-6325
www.rei.com