In his book, Ron McAdow states, "The trip to Cedar Swamp Pond is not to be undertaken lightly". From Fruit street the trip upriver to Cedar Swamp Pond is narrow (2 to 5 feet wide in most places), with many turns, and fairly swift moving water. However, it is a beautiful trip. It feels like you are in a remote area, yet for portions of the trip you can hear traffic from nearby 495 and the Mass Pike and the occasional commuter train going by on the other side of the river. About 1/3 of the way into the journey you pass through tunnels under the Mass Pike and then 495. You will be tempted to make short cuts through the swamp with the many switchbacks the river makes. However, outside of the rivers main path, the water is very shallow and you will get hung up. A shorter, easy turning kayak will make the windy trip more enjoyable.
When the river finally opens up into Cedar Swamp Pond, the journey seems well worth the effort. It is a beautiful remote pond. The lilly pads were just beginning to flower on our trip. We were running out of day light so we just made a quick paddle around the pond, but could hear wildlife splashing in and out of the water near the shore line and could hear birds in the foliage. The upriver trip took us about 1.5 hours. The distance is 1.7 miles on a map, but the river's meandering route is somewhat longer.
The downriver voyage back to Fruit street was much easier, although one still must negotiate the many turns in the river, and duck under a few low tree branches.
From Route 9, take 85 South. Turn right onto Southville Road (stop light with train station on opposite side). Turn left onto Fruit Street. Immediately after crossing bridge turn left into gravel road just before Southborough gun club. Put in at end of road. Small rapids/rocks under bridge, may require putting in just upstream of bridge depending on water level.
The Concord Sudbury and Assabet Rivers, a guide to canoeing, wildlife, and history, Ron McAdow
River/Creek (Up to Class II)