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Cool Down on the Water

Cedariver, Millis

Attention paddlers: It’s an open secret that Trustees reservations offer some of the best canoeing and kayaking in New England. Whether you seek a placid paddle across a quiet pond or a livelier trip along a tide-driven river, chances are you’ll find the perfect experience at one of our reservations.

Check out these choice properties then prepare to dip an oar or paddle. (And before you get into your boats, make sure everyone in your party is wearing a life jacket.)

Bartholomew’s Cobble, Sheffield – Veteran paddlers consider the section of the Housatonic River running just upstream and along the east border of the Cobble to be one of the finest trips in the state. Look for bald eagles soaring above the river, or roosting in riverbank trees. Check out the guided canoe tours.

Dinosaur Footprints, Holyoke – The stretch of the Connecticut River flowing just below this outdoor “museum” of fossilized prints is especially popular with paddlers and rowers. Just upstream from the property, look off to starboard (landlubbers: that’s to your right) to get a good view of Little Tom Mountain, another Trustees reservation.

Chesterfield Gorge, Chesterfield – The moderate rapids below the dramatic gorge give way to an easy current. This quiet section of the East Branch of the Westfield River (a federal Wild and Scenic waterway) also offers some of the best fly-fishing in the region. The river flows through a state forest, with multiple easy places to put in and take out.

Tully Lake Campground, Royalston – Launch from our ramp or from the two nearby Army Corps of Engineers put-ins on this scenic reservoir in north-central Massachusetts. Explore the islands that dot the lake or paddle up the Tully River to serene Long Pond. Boat rentals are available for both campers and day visitors.

Charles River Peninsula, Needham – Enter this quiet stretch of the state’s premier suburban/urban waterway from the adjacent state launch at Red Wing Bay. Paddle a short distance west (upstream) to a pair of landings at the reservation and explore the broad open fields that spread before you. Or you may just choose to keep paddling!

Cedariver, Millis – This former family retreat and farm boasts a mile of frontage on the Charles River. Use the Army Corps of Engineers put-in at the nearby Forest Street bridge; there are several good landings on the property. Enjoy a picnic on shore, then continue upstream through spectacular marshes.
Crane Wildlife Refuge, Essex and Ipswich – Explore the heart of the Great Marsh, the largest salt marsh in New England and home to myriad birdlife, finfish, and shellfish. Put in at the Essex River, a meandering tidal stream, and experience this unique coastal environment, including 135-acre Choate Island. Guided tours available.

World’s End, Hingham – Take a guided tour around this iconic coastal peninsula or paddle off on your own across picturesque Hingham Harbor. The Weir River, flowing in from the east side of the reservation, also offers a great experience. Watch for osprey and wading birds, and listen for the splash of striped bass breaking the surface.

Cape Poge, Martha’s Vineyard – The ferry ride to beautiful Chappaquiddick will have you champing at the bit (boat?) to get on the water. Check out the guided tours that explore the reservation’s wild coastal habitats or enjoy your own personal voyage of discovery. Rentals available.