Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers_met

Towns in the Assabet River Watershed:

  • Acton

  • Berlin

  • Concord

  • Hudson

  • Marlborough

  • Maynard

  • Northborough

  • Stow

  • ​Sudbury

  • Westborough 

Major Tributaries:

  • Whitehall Brook
  • Indian Brook

  • Rutters Brook

  • Hop Brook

  • Trout Brook

  • Cranberry Brook

  • Wash Brook

  • Pantry Brook

  • Pine Brook

  • Eames Brook

Learn More

Environmental Concerns for the Assabet


An ongoing environmental concern for the Assabet River is nutrient pollution. The excess of algae, 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?

  • 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.
  • Famous Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau would often walk the banks of the Assabet.
  • The name "Assabet" comes from an Algonquin word meaning "the place where material for making fishing nets comes from".
  • The Assabet River was integral to the development of Hudson as it provided necessary power for industrialization.





Assabet River Activities
2.png
Swimming
1.png
4.png
Walk, Hike, Bike
Paddling
5.png
Boating & Sailing
6.png
Fishing
Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 11.40.15 AM.pn

Swimming

 

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

Untitled design - 2021-05-14T111017.816.

Walk, Hike, Bike

 

Walking, hiking, and biking locations:

  • Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge (Sudbury). 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. The visitor center provides exhibits, as well as historical information.
    • For more info about visiting this refuge, click here.  For more info on directions and parking, click here

  • The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (Northborough) is a widely paved trail following a former railroad line through Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, Sudbury, and Framingham. Has good views. Handicap accessible trail. Paved trail that runs more than 10 miles long.​

Screen Shot 2020-01-13 at 3.19.03 PM.png

Paddling

 

Paddling guides:

  • Recreation Maps by OARS. Some featured trips:

    • Robin Hill Road, Marlborough to Hudson Center. 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). A scenic and serene five-mile paddle featuring broad, open vistas and abundant wildlife. Ice House Landing has a new, accessible ramp. 

    • Damonmill to Lowell Road, Concord (ends at the confluence of Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord). 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.

  • 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. Found on AMC's Website or in local bookstores. 

  • ​​The Concord, Sudbury, and Assabet Rivers: A guide to canoeing, wildlife and history by Ron McAdow. See this link to buy it on Amazon. 

Paddling Locations:

  • Wood Park (Hudson), located off Park street in Hudson. Does not contain public trails. 

  • After Gleansondale Dam, intersection of route 62 and river. ~mile 18 (Stow)

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

Rentals:

  • South Bridge Boat House, located at 496 Main Street, offers canoe and kayak rentals. The boat house is located on the Sudbury River and is ~¾ of a mile from the confluence of the Assebet and Sudbury, feeding into the Concord. You can easily paddle in each direction. Large parking lot across the street.

Untitled design - 2021-05-14T114258.114.

Boating & Sailing

 

You can boat this river, but it is a narrow and 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. 

Boating locations:

  • The Wild and Scenic Segment (West Concord-Maynard) 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. Be warned of Class 2 rapids between route 117 and Waltham Street. 

For information on dams on the Assabet, click here.

Untitled design - 2021-05-14T115111.162.

Fishing

 

You can fish on the river, but it is advised to follow a catch and release policy (do not eat the fish). Most authorities caution not to eat the fish due to the high levels of mercury contamination. Check mercury levels >>

Fishing locations:

  • A1/Nicholas Impoundment (Westborough). Located at the headwaters of the Assabet, founded in 1969 by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control.