We decided to give the Norton Reservoir a try because of "ntrenger's" 2009 review.
We parked in the suggested dirt parking lot to the right/back of Tsang's Chinese restaurant. This lot is a perfect spot to park. There was only 1 other car there when we went out and when we came back there were at least 6 other cars parked in the lot. We accessed the water using a small set of stairs that lead down to a little dirt spot at the edge of the water.
Just a note: We did get stuck in traffic near Great Woods/Comcast Center -there was a show that afternoon and we hit a lot of traffic as we neared Great Woods/Comcast Center -the show was still going on when we left the reservoir to go home so, the roads were clear. If you check the show schedule ahead of time you should be able to plan around the traffic.
The water was very shallow and rocky in some places. It gets deeper out toward the middle. The reservoir is huge. We spent a good 3 hours out paddling around and there were still places we didn't get to explore this time out. There are several small islands out in the middle of the reservoir too. We were thinking that next time we'd pack some food and stop on the bigger island for a picnic lunch.
We saw big crane's standing along the edge of the water, ducks w/babies, swans w/babies and goose couples w/babies. It was really cool to see. The water was clear enough in some places to see fish swimming around -we saw several people fishing from small boats and standing along the edge of the water. The reservoir is very scenic so, definitely bring a camera along -if you don't you'll wish you had.
Motor boats are allowed in the water and although there were only a few -there were enough to ruin the quiet, peaceful feeling that we felt when we first got in the water. There are also houses lining the edge of the water. We saw people out in their yards -but they pretty much ignored the people out on the water.
We will definitely be going back as this is now one of our favorite local paddling spots.
Small dirt parking area to the left of Tsangs restaurant.
No public bathrooms.
Rt 140 on the Norton/Mansfield line -just past Great Wood/Comcast Center.