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Ipswich River in Massachusetts

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

Ipswich River - upper half

We left at 9:30 am at the headwaters of the Ipswich River. The put in is off Woburn St in Willmington. We stopped for lunch 10 miles downstream where the river crosses Rt 114 in Middleton (great Sushi restaurant close by) and we took out approximately 17.5 miles downstream at Salem road in Topsfield at about 5 pm.

All three of us had kayaks, one touring, one play type and one sit on top. I was in the touring and definitely had the easier day although at times when navigating the many sharp turns I wish I had something shorter.

The upper River is a combination of flooded swamps, connected ponds and twisting river. The river was at flood stage which was good because much of the beginning would not be passable at lower levels. Due to the high water we had to portage 3 bridges including Rt 28 and two private bridges. All of them were quite easy. There is also a dam in Middleton about 7.5 miles downstream that is quite easy to portage with a very short fun section of class 2 whitewater below it.

We had a great day, at times the river feels quiet and secluded and at other times it passes thru very urban sections that are actually quite interesting. My friends were amazed that they had lived and traveled in this area but were not aware of where the river passes and how beautiful a resource it is. We had a great day, we saw almost no one on the river until the very end and would highly recommend the trip.

Note: Upper river not passable at low water levels
Also, the upper section could be eliminated and you could put in 3.5 miles downstream at the Ipswich River Park in North Reading off of Central St.
Great river access.




put in:

Rt 93, exit 39, travel west on Concord St towardn Wilmington, first left on to Woburn St, one mile down, there is almost no parking

take out:
Salem road in Topsfield which is accessed right off of Rt One, parking is no issue


The Ipswich River Watershed Association has a good map with all access points listed

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location