Millers - 1) Upper

Millers, Massachusetts, US


1) Upper (South Royalston to Athol)

Usual Difficulty III (for normal flows)
Length 7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 32 fpm
Max Gradient 60 fpm

Broken Dam Side View

Broken Dam Side View
Photo of Broken Dam Above the Put-In by Bob Dunn taken 10/16/05 @ 1,600 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01163500 500 - 3500 cfs III 1y77d07h45m 30.4 cfs (too low)
usgs-01166500 3.40 - 5.50 ft III 01h14m 3.7 ft (running)

River Description

Thanks to Will Kranz for the following description.
The river is rated 2-3. My personal description is that it is a moderate sized river with strong current and significant standing waves. There are no places on this run that require technical maneuvering or precise boat control. If you can ferry back and forth across a river with 2-3 foot sanding waves in some locations you should be fine. The biggest risk is that the road is NOT close to the river for most of the run. Once you start you must go the distance (aprox 7 miles).
Thanks to Julie Smith for the following description.
The restaurant people frown upon paddlers occupying their lot (at the put in). Some people put in just above the unused bridge to enjoy the wave train to the gauge, where the usual put in is. The beginning is the most difficult part of the run. There are several busy class 3 drops. The standing waves under the first railroad bridge are big and hearty at release levels. This is a great place to spend some time practicing surfing, ferrying and peeling out. The stretch of flatwater below the busy drops has its usual windy character. Just below the second railroad bridge there are two consecutive big wave drops next to the railroad on river left. Following that is easier stuff and one more technical drop. After that it is easy class 2 stuff to the takeout. The carry to the cars is a walk up and down hills through a sandpit and the woods. Be carefull when parking at the takeout as it is a thickly settled narrow street..

Click the Flow Info tab for guage info. There is a new guage for this section.



Put in

The put in is located in South Royalston, MA
From route 2, take the route 202 North exit. It is the last exit before the divided highway ends.
Stay on route 202 North until you reach route 68. There will be a sign on the left that says BIRCH HILL DAM 4 MILES. Go that way.
Once you cross the river, go left with the road and immediately park on the left between an unused bridge and a restaurant.
People from western NH can take 202 from the north side.
At the putin there also appears to be a parking area on river left above the Rt 68 bridge which could be used if you wanted to run the broken dam which is just upstream of the putin below the restaraunt.

Intermediate Take-out

There is a take-out half-way down the run, a short distance below Mile Long Rapid.  It's hidden in the woods with a public access parking lot and path to the river; behind and next to a red house along river right.  To reach it from the put-in and the center-of-town; follow Route 68 north for about 1/4 mile; bear left onto Prospect Street; go about 1/10th mile, turn left onto Gulf Road.  Follow Gulf Road for 1-3/4 miles (it turns to dirt about half-way); then left onto Bearsden Road and into the parking lot.  (Note: Very few of these roads are marked.) 

Take out

Take Chestnut Hill rd all the way north to 68, then back south on 68. Chestnut hill meets 68 at an acute angle in a little village with a typical new england church and common area. The alternate approach which might be worth mentioning is to go South from putin on 68 to 202 south to 2A west to 32 north in Athol. Almost as soon as you get on 32 you cross the river and keep bearing right. First onto Chestnut hill rd. and then almost immediately onto Cresent which is a dead end side road. Go up to the end of Cresent were an iron gate blocks auto access to a park area. A dirt road/path leads to the river and takeout.

Shuttle Directions

View Larger Map

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-06-12 19:43:07


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Intermediate Take-OutN/ATakeout Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Intermediate Take-Out (Class N/A)

Parking lot at Middle Takeout

Parking lot at Middle Takeout
Photo by Skip Morris taken 04/12/15

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
August 17 2018 (123 days ago)
kayakrkayakr (159566)
The gauge is apparently being decommissioned to save money. The info linked for the dam above seems
to be broken. Another page with Birch Hill dam info is here (check discharge) . Select link on
the bottom "summary table" if the hotspot map is not working.
June 15 2013 (2012 days ago)
RinkDoctor (155499)
6-15-2013 1820 cfs (7.1 gauge) really fun upper section as described above. lower section as
described cl 2. all strainers were easily seen at this level. one strainer on river right when the
high tension lines come into view could be a problem at higher flows (log would become more
submerged.) other rivers in the area running too high for my skill level. great day with awesome
weather and really good scenery. good waves for playing and practice.

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