Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers_met

Welcome to the Assabet River! Here are some fun facts and some great resources to help you explore and enjoy this great river.

Towns in the Sudbury River Watershed:

  • Acton

  • Berlin

  • Concord

  • Hudson

  • Northborough

  • Stow

  • Marlborough

  • Maynard

  • ​Sudbury

  • Westborough 

Major Tributaries:

Whitehall Brook, Indian Brook, Rutters Brook, Hop Brook, Trout Brook, Cranberry Brook, Wash Brook, Pantry Brook, Pine Brook, Eames Brook

Relevant River Information

Environmental Concerns for the Assabet

An ongoing environmental concern for the Assabet River is nutrient pollution. The excess of plants, or “eutrophication” is caused by an overabundance of nutrients, which severely affects fish and other aquatic life. To learn more about environmental challenges currently facing the Assabet River, click here.

Additional Facts

Did You Know?:

  • History: Many dams have been built along the Assabet to power sawmills and woolen mills, and to control flooding. During the 18th and 19th century, use of the river to power manufacturing led to the growth of industries and the towns that surrounded them.

Click an icon below to learn more about Assabet River activities
Hiking, Walk & Run
Boating & Sailing
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Where to go swimming


Is it safe to swim in this river?

  • Although some people swim in this river, the water quality does not meet the state standard, and we do not advise swimming.

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Hiking, Walking, Running

Where to go on a walk, run, hike, or bike ride


Where are there nice walks along this river?  

  • Hudson:

  • Sudbury:

    • Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge. Located at 680 Hudson Road, this National Wildlife Refuge provides many trails throughout 2,300 acres of woodland and wetland habitat. Some trails are accessible to strollers/bikes/wheelchairs, although dogs are not allowed. The visitor center provides exhibits, as well as historical information. Look out for Great Blue Herons and the American Beaver! For more info about visiting this refuge, click here.  For more info on directions and parking, click Here

  • Northborough:

    • Edmund Hill Woods. Small parking lot for ~10 cars. Another place to park is along Rice Ave.


  • The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is a widely paved trail that follows a former railroad line through Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, Sudbury, and Framingham.  This popular trail has some spectacular views. 

  • Handicapped accessibility

    • What opportunities are there on this river if you are mobility-impaired?

      • Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge (look above) 

      •  Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is a level, paved trail that is more than 10 miles long.

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Where to go paddling (listed in direction of upstream to downstream)


Suggested Paddles:

  • OARS guide for the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers. Under “Recommended trips” on the right column, click which river you would like to paddle on. After choosing the river, a multitude of paddling options will appear with a map and details about that trip! 

  • Assabet Pocket Guide by OARS. This guide was created by OARS around 2005 to detail more information about paddling on the Assabet, so some of the information may be outdated. Their suggested paddles are listed below. 

    • Robin Hill Road, Marlborough to Hudson Center. OARS describes this paddle as: “This lovely five mile paddle takes you through narrow, leafy sections, out into open meadows, and back through the forest before arriving in downtown Hudson.”

    • Gleasondale, Stow to Ice House Landing, Maynard (Ben Smith Dam). OARS describes this paddle as: “A scenic and serene five-mile paddle featuring broad, open vistas and abundant wildlife.”

    • Damonmill to Lowell Road, Concord (ends at the confluence of Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord). OARS describes this paddle as: “A four mile trip down the federally-designated Wild and Scenic section of the Assabet; leafy canopies overhead lend this stretch an intimate charm. CAUTION: The stretch from Damonmill to Pine Street can be hazardous and contains downed trees; put in at Pine Street if unsure of conditions.”

Additional Guides

  • The AMC River Guide, available on the AMC website, or local bookstores, is another good resource for navigating this river.

  • The AMC Quiet Water Canoe Guide also details information about boating on different rivers in Massachusetts, including the Assabet Reservoir in Westborough. Find it on AMC's Website or local bookstores. 

  • The Concord, Sudbury, and Assabet Rivers: A guide to canoeing, wildlife and history. By Ron McAdow. Boater's Guide

  • Where are the put-ins and parking

    • Marlborough: Robin Hill Street. Dam on one side, but you may canoe in the other direction. 

    • Hudson/East Berlin: Next to hudson high school

    • Hudson: Wood Park, located off Park street in Hudson. It is 6 acres, but there are no public trails. 

    • Hudson: Route 62/85, Liberty park 

    • Stow: After gleasondale dam, intersection of route 62 and river. ~mile 18

    • Stow: Magazu's Landing, off of Sudbury Road. Small unpaved lot with a few spots for cars. 

    • Stow/Maynard:White Pond Road

    • Maynard: Ice House Landing. Paved parking lot. Ben Smith Dam 

  • Information about Rentals 

    • South Bridge Boat House, located at 496 Main Street, offers Canoe and Kayak Rentals. Although the Boat House is technically located on the Sudbury River, it is ~¾ of a mile from the confluence of the Assebet and Sudbury, joining into the Concord. You can easily paddle in each direction. Large parking lot across the street.

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Boating & Sailing


Can you boat on this on this river?

  • Yes, but this is a narrow river that may have obstructions.  While this river has a slightly higher gradient than the Sudbury (and slightly faster flow), because the river has many dams slowing its flow, it is still usually possible to travel in both directions on the Assabet if you are a strong paddler. There are many locations to paddle on the Assabet River. 

What kind of boats and which sections of the river can you boat on?

  • For paddling on more gentle parts of the river, the Wild and Scenic Segment spans 4.4 miles. It begins 1,000 feet downstream from the former Damonmill Dam in West Concord, to its confluence with the Sudbury River at Egg Rock in Concord.  Another nice section is farther upstream, in Stow, beginning at the Gleasondale Dam in Stow, and ending at the Ben Smith Dam in Maynard.

  • It is possible to paddle on other sections of the River. For put-ins, look below. Be warned of some rapids between route 117 and Waltham Street. 

Dam locations: For information on dams on the Assabet, click here.

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Where to go fishing

Can you fish on this river?

  • You can fish on the river, but it is advised to follow a catch and release policy, meaning you cannot eat the fish. For tips on following this policy, visit this website. 

  • Most authorities caution not to eat the fish due to the high levels of mercury contamination. For updated levels of mercury contamination, click here.