|Canoeing on the Concord River|
|After you've taken my walking tour of Concord MA, see the town again, adventurously, by taking a canoe for a paddle along the Concord River.|
In Concord, grand houses, gardens and the campus of Concord Academy grace the riverbanks, alternating with expanses of meadow and forest to make a serene and lovely landscape, the one so enjoyed—and described—by Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Motor vessels are not allowed on the river, making it perfect for a tranquil paddle or row.
Rent a Canoe or Kayak
You can rent by the hour or the day, with reduced prices on weekdays. Weekends are the busiest times on the river, of course, but it's plenty big enough for everyone.
Bring Your Own
If you have your own canoe, kayak, or stand up paddle board, you can put it in the water from a landing just downstream from Egg Rock near the river bridge on Lowell Road, about a half mile (800 m) west of Monument Square (map). You'll recognize the bridge by all the cars parked along the road by paddlers who have already launched their vessels.
Where to Go
Starting from the South Bridge Boat House on the Sudbury River, you can paddle downstream, under two road bridges, past Egg Rock (Nashawtuck) where the Sudbury joins the Assabet River to form the Concord River, then under a third road bridge to reach the historic Old North Bridge.
After a short visit to the Minute Man National Historical Park, you should be able to paddle back upstream to the boat house for a total time of 2 to 2-1/2 hours, depending on how fast you paddle.
Beyond the Old North Bridge, the river continues past the Buttrick Mansion (North Bridge Visitor Center), turns east and follows the northern border of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge before turning north toward Lowell.
Paddle upstream (south) on the Sudbury River from South Bridge Boat House, beneath the Commuter Rail railroad bridge and you'll cruise along mostly unpopulated river banks, beneath the MA Route 2 and Sudbury Road bridges, eventually to Fairhaven Bay, a widening of the water popular as a vista among Concord's 19th-century litterati. The river continues for miles to the south, to reservoirs in Framingham.
—by Tom Brosnahan