Posted 3/30/03 by Tommy T. on the NPMB message boardThe Assabet in Maynard is a short, easy class II that runs right through downtown Maynard. The putin is at the junction of Rtes. 117 and 62, just below the dam. I've always used the office building parking lot. Even though it has been posted "Private Property no river access" since last fall, I've had no trouble putting on with small groups on weekends. You can access the river from the other side as well. The take out is at the Maynard Elks on Rte. 62 just above the next dam. When we were there last December we took out right through the Christmas tree sale. Nice people. The scenery ain't much. The water quality is so-so. But it's 40 minutes from Boston and you can scout it all from the road.
Here are a few videos of the features.
Ran this stretch with a friend on 1/11/20 and happy to report there wasn't any wood in play.
I wanted to comment because there haven't been any updates for a few years on this river. I brought my kids down it in a canoe (Rogue River 14' - a giant slow plastic canoe). I ran it last sprint in the canoe during snow melt season around 5' and it was wild. Good sized rapids, not stuck anywhere, the whole trip was 20-30 minutes. We got up to 11 mph according to a GPS we carried with us. There were a couple down trees that posed hazards that were avoidable and once we slammed hard into a bridge. It was a great time.
We ran it again 6/15/17 and the gauge height was 2.39 - below recommended. Scratchy isn't the right word, we got stuck a few times. I had to get out and push the boat. Rapids were exciting for the children and not overwhelming. The water was very warm to stand in. Great trip. I'll watch and go again after rain, it is really a good time if you live in the area. I live about 15 minutes away.
Parking note - On weekends the building at the dam appears closed/no one is parked in back. I parked there with no problem. Weekday there were people around but lot was still mostly empty. I look for the no river access sign but didn't see it until we were leaving. It is still posted but has been bent over. No one said anything to us and my car was there for about 3 hours total. There is a canoe launch called ice house landing above the dam but I haven't scouted it to check parking.
The best take out is Elks as suggested, but the river continues. We went down to West concord and took out there, and in the past have gone all the way to Concord's Lowell Rd Boat launch. There is a really difficult portage around a dam across from the Buick dealership. After that dam there is a couple more small rapids and by the old Damon Mill building there is a rapid though a broken dam. A bit downstream the river is blocked by down trees but in an area of flat water. I was able to pull my canoe over it.
In reference to the map under the photos: there are a total of six bridges that you go under. You probably only want to scout 6.
1: Straight shot through the middle is easiest.
2: Trickiest one. Sneak route is to stay right of the two islands & then through the right of the 3 arches. Center arch is easy enough to line up, but be careful to not get pushed sideways. Left arch is toughest to get to due to a constriction just upstream creating a strong rightward push on the left side of the river.
3 & 4: Essentially flatwater, at least at medium levels.
5: Easiest to stay on the left half of the river when approaching, the bridge is after sharp leftward turn.
6: Straight shot, but there is seemingly always a blockage in at least one of the tubes. Scout it!
CAUTION! I just ran the Assabet through Maynard yesterday, and the water level was higher than it's been for a while, around 3.2 feet.....now it's at 3.7. The reason for this post is at the last bridge before the Elks club, there are two tubes, which were both open weeks ago. Now there is a large metal support across the right side, making it impossible to go right. The good news is, this blockage greatly increases the left side water flow. It makes the left side a fun little chute log ride, and a really fun end to the run. Come on rain, keep coming!
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We ran this stretch last weekend in our 17 foot canoe. The river was at 2.77 and was only a little scratchy. The play waves were a little small for surfing this boat. We are fairly new to whitewater canoeing and this class II was near the limits of our abilities.
I ran the Assabet at about 4.5 feet on 6/4/06. It's not too technical, but I would definitely call it a class III run at that level due to wood and bridge pylons.
We took out a few hundred yards below Maynard Elks (I'm not sure you can see that building from the river) where the river broadens and flattens out. The dam is significantly further downstream.
Hey all when you run the Assabet use caution at the put in there are two tubes just after you start off make sure you go through the one to the left. There is a ledge at the end of the right tube that will hang you up. I ran with open cockpit boats and within 2 seconds of getting stuck the water came into the cockpit and swamped me.
2.8 is the lower runnable
level, 5 ft is pushing it to get under some of the bridges. Surf waves can be surfed even lower.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Below the Ben Smith Dam
Great Road Bridge
Along Walnut Street
Acton Street Bridge
Fully blocked last bridge!!!
Tricky Mill Rd. Chute
Map of the Assabet River run.
Learning the ropes.
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Whitewater boaters from Maine to Pennsylvania gather each June in Charlemont, MA to celebrate whitewater boating and American Whitewater's river advocacy to protect, restore, and enjoy our northeast rivers. While we can't gather in-person this year, we'll be having a virtual Deerfield Fest Membership Event this Friday, June 26th at 7 pm (EST) . We'll be giving away some fun AW merchandise and other prizes for those who JOIN or RENEW their AW Membership and join us on Friday, so REGISTER for the virtual Deerfield River Membership Event today and join us for this fun event in support of AW. (Photo by Alan MacRae)
In response to requests by American Whitewater, several affiliates, and other stakeholders, FERC directed Brookfield Renewable to study the impact of its hydropower operations on whitewater boating on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. Boating groups and our supporters are seeking to determine optimal whitewater boating flows from the Fife Brook Dam and whether changes in hydropower operations would enhance boating opportunities, access and navigation.
American Whitewater, along with other paddling groups and outfitters, filed comments with FERC responding to the Whitewater Boating Evaluation at Turners Falls on the Connecticut River. The study showed that there is strong demand for boating on this section of the Connecticut River if sufficient flows, scheduled releases, better access, and real-time information are provided. The groups filed the comments in order to provide additional information for the environmental review and to respond to the unsupported statements by FirstLight, the utility performing the study, claiming that there is little demand for boating at Turners Falls.
A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.
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