Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers_met

Welcome to the Sudbury 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:

  • Ashland

  • Concord

  • Framingham

  • Hopkinton

  • Hudson

  • Lincoln

  • Marlborough

  • Natick

  • Northborough

  • Sherborn

  • Southborough

  • Sudbury

  • Wayland

  • Westborough

  • Weston

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 Sudbury


  • One big environmental concern for the Sudbury River is Water Caltrop (Water chestnuts). OARS holds annual plant-pulling events to diminish the impacts of this habitat-destroying water plant.
  • To learn more about environmental challenges currently facing the Sudbury River, click here. For additional information about water quality, invasive species, or natural habitat protection, click here.
    • Nutrient concentrations are generally below threshold for eutrophication. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) levels should be above 5.0 mg/L for Class B standards, in order to fully support aquatic life. The Sudbury River has historically had low DO levels (3.0 mg/L), but it has met the minimum standard in recent years.




Additional Facts


Did You Know?:

  • History: During the Industrial Revolution, several dams and millponds were built to facilitate operation and for hydropower.





Here are some great organizations that help keep this river clean, healthy and fun to enjoy:

Click an icon below to learn more about Sudbury River activities
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Swimming
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Hiking, Walk & Run
Paddling
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Boating & Sailing
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Fishing
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Swimming

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?

  • Framingham: The Carol Getchell Trail is a trail along the Sudbury River from Old Danforth Street bridge to Little Farms road. It can be accessed through the parking lot at the end of Little Farms Road, through connecting trails from the Stapleton and Cameron Schools, and by a trail access point at the end of hillside street. For a brochure and map, click here

  • Lincoln: Adams Wood Conservation Land. Park at the Mt. Misery Parking Lot because there is an ample parking lot there. Learn more here

  • Sudbury: Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge--Headquarters. After ~¼ mile down Weir Hill Road (off of Lincoln Road), turn right at the welcome sign onto Headquarters Entrance Road. There are two short trails (Weir Hill Trail, which is more hilly, and Red Maple Trail, which is flat). Dogs are not allowed, and the trails are not suitable for strollers/wheelchairs. 

  • Sudbury: Wolbach Farm is a 54-acre property near the Sudbury River, with a few trails, some of which have interactive activities for children. To see the brochure, click here. For more information from their website, click here. These trails are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. 

  • Wayland: Greenways Conservation Area is located off Route 27 in Wayland at 24 Green Way. It is owned by the Sudbury Valley Trustees and the Town of Wayland. There are 87 acres of habitat, with picnic benches along the river’s edge. The trails are stroller/wheelchair accessible. For the map/brochure, click here! You will likely see many kinds of birds here, such as the heron, downy woodpecker, gray catbird, great crested flycatcher, and many more! For more information on visiting, click here.

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Paddling

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

 

Can you boat on this on this river?

  • Yes! It is possible to kayak, canoe, and paddleboard on this river. The entire Wild and Scenic section, from the Saxonville Dam in Framingham to Egg Rock in Concord is navigable by canoe, kayak, and paddleboard. 

  • Dams: Fenwick Street Dam (Framingham), Saxonville Dam (Framingham), Myrtle Street Dam (Ashland) 

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

OARS has A Boater's Guide! Is possible to paddle about 15 miles of the Sudbury.  Here are some suggested trips:

  • From Little Farms Road → Route 27: Water can be quick moving in upper sections. Notable sights include the Old Stone Bridge and the entrance to Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. At the end of this section, the river opens to wide meadows with many water birds. 

  • Route 27 → Route 117 Boat Launch: Open and slow moving, passing open land. Can stop at the headquarters of Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge to stretch legs. 

  • Route 117 Boat Launch → Eggrock: Shifts from Fairhaven Bay, a beautiful rural area of the river, to a more developed section, running under Route 2. Route concludes at Old Calf Pasture, at the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet Rivers.  

For additional guides, look below: 

  • 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! 

  • The AMC River Guide, available on the AMC website, or in local bookstores, explains detailed accounts of navigation through the rivers of Massachusetts.

  • 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

Put ins and Parking

  • Framingham: Carol Getchell Reservation. Little Farms Road, off Elm Street. 8 car sports available. No fee. 

  • Wayland: Route 20 (boat ramp). 

  • Wayland: River Road. After turning off route 27, there is a small access point almost immediately on the left. Parking for 1-2 cars. 

  • Wayland: Sherman's Bridge Landing. Dirt pull-off right next to the bridge on Sherman’s Bridge Road. Space for ~3 cars. 

  • Lincoln: Lincoln Canoe Landing Parking. Route 117. If you paddle ~½ mile downstream, you will reach Fairhaven Bay, with an opportunity to walk around a small island. 

  • Concord: South Bridge Boat House. 496 Main Street. Route 62. Learn about the boathouse here

  • Concord: Lowell Road Boat Ramp. 181 Lowell Road. Ample parking and no fee. Next to Old Calf Pasture. 

  • Sudbury: Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge--Headquarters. After ~¼ mile down Weir Hill Road (off of Lincoln Road), turn right at the welcome sign onto Headquarters Entrance Road. There is canoe and kayak access at the river ~¼ mile from the large parking lot. 

  • Hopkinton: There is a dirt road off of Fruit Street just left of the Southborough Rod & Gun entrance. In the spring, it is possible to travel upstream to Cedar Swamp. Near the access road end, there is room for 6+ cars.

  • Ashland: Along High Street (right across from the Ashland MBTA station), there is a parking lot which fits over 20 cars. It is possible for canoes and kayaks to travel short trips upstream. 

Rentals 

  • The South Bridge Boat House  rents canoes and kayaks for a peaceful journey down the Sudbury River.

    • To get there via public transportation, take the Fitchburg Line (Commuter Rail) and get off at the Concord Station. From there, it is a 10 minute walk to the South Bridge Boat House. directions here! 

    • To get there via car, click here for a map. 

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Boating & Sailing

 
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Fishing

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 information from the MA department of Public Health, click here. For updated levels of mercury contamination, click here.