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Difficulty II-III
Length 2.75 Miles
Flow Range 8.10 - 10.50 FT
Flow Rate as of: 29 minutes ago 6.5 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/15/2019 11:47 pm

River Description

The Quinapoxet is a delightful II/III stream located in Central Massachusetts approximately seven miles north of Worcester, getting its start in the hills northwest of Worcester and draining into Wachusett Reservoir.

The run is class II for the most part except for an longish class III stretch past the remains of the 19th century Springdale Mill; plus an abrupt three foot drop just downstream of the I-190 crossing.

The Wachusett Greenways Section of the Mass Central Rail Trail runs along the river for the majority of the run.

Put-on a few feet downstream of the gage. There is a wonderful surfing wave located at the put-in. From then on it is a combination of quickwater to class II down to the mill. After that the pace picks up a bit for the second half of the run.


Technical info

Put in elevation........553'
Take out elevation......447'
Total drop..............96'
Average drop/mile.......38.5'
Distance................2.75 miles
River width average.....20' ???
River geology...........???
River water quality.....Good, clarity neutral to good.
Scenery.................Woods, some old mill and dam ruins being
                        covered up and overgrown.


Nearest Gas.............Intersection of Routes 31 and 122A in Holden.
Convenience Store.......Route 31 by the Manning Street Intersection
                        north of Holden.
Nearest Restrooms.......None near by.

Regional Weather

Go here for a NOAA weather forecast.

Local Map - Quinapoxet River and surrounding area of Holden and West Boylston

Map of Holden, West Boylston, and area surrounding the river.  
Map courtesy of Mapquest  


Rapid Descriptions


Class - Mile - 0
The USGS Gage is a few feet upstream from the put-in.


Class - Mile - 0.01
Put-on by a small parking area for the rail trail about 200 feet upstream of the River Street Bridge.

Play Wave at Put-In

Class - II+ Mile - 0.02

A wonderful play wave is found at the put-in.

First Rail-trail Crossing

Class - Mile - 0.45
The rail trail crosses the river several times.


Class - Mile - 1.2
Dangerous strainers on narrow streams in the woods such are a constant hazard. This one is between the two rail-trail crossings.

Second Rail-trail Crossing

Class - Mile - 1.5
The rail trail crosses the river again. Take out here and walk downstream to scout the rapid at the ramains of a 19th century mill.

Play Wave at Mill

Class - II+ Mile - 1.7
Just at the beginning of the Springdale Mill Rapid is a nice play wave at the bottom of a small island that splits the river in two.

Springdale Mill Rapid

Class - III Mile - 1.75
This is a longish rapid with several pushy drops. It can be scouted from the remains of the mill. (Note: The mileage is approximate.)


Class - III Mile - 2.2
Just below the I-190 crossing is an abrupt three foot drop.


Class - Mile - 2.75
Park along the road at one of several turn-offs where the river runs along the road.

Flatwater Take-out

Class - Mile - 3.25
The flatwater take-out is one-half mile downstream from the whitewater take-out. Note that the reservoir is posted against watercraft since it is a public water supply.


default user thumbnail
Paul Teplitz
8 years ago

My wife and I ran it on 6/3/2012 at about 8.4 on the gage. Although AW says it's runnable down to 8.1, I'm not sure I'd do it again at this level - it was pretty bumpy. Lots of strainers and low-hanging trees - although only one that required a portage, if the water were pushier things could have gotten scary.

Gage Descriptions

The USGS Quinapoxet Gage is located about 25 feet upstream of the put-in.

The Quin is worthwhile anytime you can catch it over 9 feet. You can scrape down when it's in the 8s, but it's not as fun. 10' and above is a fun time and highly recommended. 

Recommended Gauge Levels

Min Sug. Level: 8.0 (estimated)
Low: 8.5 feet
Medium: 9.4 feet
10.8 feet
Max Sug. Level: unknown

Directions Description

Take-out - From the North or South

Take Route 2 (from north) or the Mass Pike/I-290 (from south) to Interstate 190 exit 5 north of Worcester (Route 140 exit). Take Route 140 south approximately 1 mile. Continue straight onto Thomas Street when Route 140 turns left. Approximately 1/3 mile down Thomas Street turn right on River Road. There is a flatwater take-out on the right near the intersection of Thomas and River; the whitewater take-out is one-half mile up where the river runs next to the road.

Take-out - From the East

Take Interstate 495 to Interstate 290 in the Hudson/Marlborough area. Follow I-290 west to Exit 23B in Boylston (Route 140). Take Route 140 north 4.8 miles to the Routes 140/12 Intersection (Route 140 turns right here). Continue straight onto Central Street (ie, get off Route 140). Follow Central Street, which becomes Crescent Street (after crossing Goodale Street), for 0.85 miles. Then continue straight onto Thomas Street when Crescent Street bears left. Turn left 0.9 miles up Thomas Street onto River Road. There is a flatwater take-out on the right near the intersection of Thomas and River; the whitewater take-out is one-half mile up where the river runs next to the road.


From the take out, follow River Road along the river which becomes River Street after passing under Interstate 190. River Street turns right about 1.5 miles from the put-in where it meets Harris Street. The Put-in is about 200 feet beyond this intersection just past the River Street Bridge and a few feet below the gage. There is a small roadside parking area for the rail-trail and for river access.

No Accident Reports




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Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194744 04/11/09 n/a n/a
1198267 09/27/10 Matt Muir fixed duplicate rapids
1213345 07/15/19 Michael Gaskin updated description
1213346 07/15/19 Michael Gaskin updated description