WARNING!!! 3/21/18 The last two snow and wind storms have caused dozens of massive trees to fall across the river. There are at least 3-4 mandatory portages, with a few you can slip by. Many of the slots under bridges are blocked, and are dangerous. Even an Irene sized event likely won’t move most of it, so I would avoid this run until it’s cleaned up.
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.
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.
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