Lakes, Reservoirs, Ponds, Pools, and Impoundments

            Let us help you find the best paddles for you in Western Massachusetts.  You can travel through our website looking at the various lakes.  If you are unsure, no problem.  Just use the contact button on the menu above and ask us any question you want.  We will gladly steer you in the right direction to make you paddle the best experience based on skill level and group size.  For now, consider some of our favorite paddles! 

Half Day Paddles

Berkshire County

Stockbridge Bowl
            Stockbridge Bowl is our home lake.  Everyone has great affection toward their home lake because of the memories of great times and good people.  The Bowl has other features that make it unique among the lakes in the Berkshires.
              Explore the Mahkeenac Island in the south and then paddle up and back the southern passage and cove.
            The town beach has toilets and a canoe rack which is always full of boats throughout the summer.  A great place to spend some warm summer days with the family.  There are life guards and some summers there is hot food for sale.
            The boat ramp, to the north west, is so popular that some days you will end up parking more than a hundred yards from the ramp area.  That be said, it’s also a great place to meet people with similar goals.  Fishing, sculling, motor boating, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding are all activities you will see regularly.

            Summer home of the Boston Symphony.  Consider an evening paddle where you can hear the distant music while on the water.  4 July celebration is by far the most popular time to be on the water.  You can hear the concert with friends and family while watching the fireworks.

Are you looking for special events?  Consider a few of the races for paddlers throughout the year.
  • Chocolate Bowl – flatwater race in the beginning of August
  • Cookie Bowl – flatwater race at the end of August
  • Josh Billings Run-aground – Bike 27 miles - Paddle 5 miles – Run 6 miles – usually held the middle of September.

Upper and Lower Goose Ponds
            When asked how they liked their paddle on Goose Pond, almost always you hear how much they liked the upper pond.  I think it’s because there are no structures except the Appalachian Red House and it is quite beautiful.  The passage between the two ponds is hidden from view until you are right on top of it.  It surprises first time visitors.
            Fishing is probably the second reason.  There is a variety of fish including land locked salmon, various trout, and bass.  Find a quiet cove and enjoy.
            The Appalachian Trail, commonly called the AT, passes the eastern end of Upper Goose Pond.  We always make a visit to the AT House to visit the caretaker and hear stories of through hikers.  Remember to drop off any books or even a treat for people staying there. It’s so popular that even being a volunteer caretaker for a weekend is competitive.
            If it’s a hot day, stop at one of the beautiful rocks and take a swim.

Thousand Acre Lake and East Indies Pond
            Are you looking for a wilderness experience without having to travel too far?  Then here is a paddle for you. Go bass fishing, bird watching or just spend some quiet time.  Add a hike or portage to East Indies Pond where you will find yourself all alone.  Few people want to carry in so far.  Bring binoculars because it is quite possible of sighting beaver, deer or moose.

Stockbridge Bowl
Goose Ponds
Thousand Acre and East Indies

Franklin County

Sherman Reservoir – Rowe
            Sherman Reservoir is an impoundment of the Deerfield River.  Located in both Vermont and Massachusetts it is part of a string of innovative electrical power that run the entire length of the Deerfield River.  Near the dam is where the first Nuclear Power Plant, Yankee Rowe, was built.  There is very little to remind us that it was once located there.  The nearly six miles of coastline, steep woods covered shores, and clean waters makes this a fascinating and memorable paddle.
            If you have a couple extra hours after your paddle, consider Pelham Lake nearby too.

Laurel Lake – Erving
            This lake has a shoreline of just 1.6 miles.  The reason we are including it here is for the multi-uses that are available.  This is a great destination for families.  It offers a beautiful beach at the state park, fishing from the shore or by boat, an easy access boat ramp for all types of boats, and camping for those who want to make it a weekend or week retreat.   Check out the trail map and campground map on our webpage.

Lake Wyola – Shutesbury
            Out in the woods of Shutesbury and not far from Quabbin is this summer home and state park lake.  This is a family oriented lake with day use of the state park beach and facilities.  The state boat ramp that is run by the town supports the launch of almost any type of boat.  Fishing is a favorite pass time and exploring the wetlands in the southeastern end can be fun.
            Before you go home, see if you can find the “Monks Cave” located nearby.

Hampshire County
Upper and Lower Highland Lakes
            Since the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) donated 1,020 acres to the Commonwealth for a state forest in 1929, these lakes and land have been a favorite destination for swimming, camping, fishing, hiking, and more.
            The northern, upper, lake has the state park beach and sees more visitors that the south, lower, lake.  The upper has few structures except a summer camp and the state park.  The lower is half bordered by summer homes some of which are available to rent.  This is a great get-away location.

Puffers Pond
            No small pond in Western Massachusetts has more memories and affection than this little pond.  Literally tens of thousands of people across the nation have, at some time, swam or partied on the shores.  Think of all the students that have passed through the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Smith College, and Mount Holyoke College over the last century.  Most have some free time spent at Puffers Pond.

Oxbow Pond
            What makes this pond fun is that you can paddle both the Mahan River and Miller River in a small boat.  It has a paved boat ramp that serves both the Oxbow and the Connecticut River.  If want to, you can just paddle a couple of hours or do some exploring that can last most of the day.  One last feature is that it is very close to the center of Northampton making it the best near-urban paddle.

Aldrich Lake
            Located in Granby, this lake is bisected by a well-used Amherst Street.  Despite this fact, this lake can be quiet.  I once padded past a canoe with a guy sleeping in it.  You can travel under the street through a couple of culverts and explore up Bachelor Brook that feeds the lake.  The recently renovated dam is worth a look with its iron pipe that once served a mill.  Also, there is a hidden cove where a Boy Scout Camp once stood.

Hampden County

Red Bridge Pool
            More than just an Impoundment of the Chicopee River, this paddle is just so much fun because of the variety and history.  Where else can you actually paddle inside a building!  If you have a hankering to try a short rapid, consider starting your paddle in Three Rivers otherwise consider this a flatwater paddle for any level of skill.  You will be surrounded by forest over most of the paddle and to the northwest is a cove where you pass under a small foot bridge.  Stop and take a walk along the river too.

Watershops Pond
            This is the most urban paddle on the list.  The water-shops come from the Springfield Armory near the dam.  Springfield College is along the shores where basketball began.  Pass under the General Edwards bridge and explore several coves most of which are boarded by homes.  Be warned that the city of Springfield should consider the urban pollution effecting the water quality.  If you want a paddle right in the city of Springfield, this one’s for you!
Sherman Reservoir
Laurel Lake
Lake Wyola
Highland Lakes
Puffers Pond
Oxbow Pond
Aldrich Lake
Red Bridge Pool
Watershops Pond
All Day Paddles
            So, you’re looking for a long paddle with a little more adventure.  Here are a few that you can add to your resume.

Berkshire County

Otis Reservoir
            This popular reservoir has served many pioneer valley people as a get-away location.  More recently, the small shacks have become larger homes attracting New Yorkers.  The town of Otis comes alive in the summer in large part because of Otis Reservoir.
            Consider Tolland State Forest as a base of operations.  You can camp there or just day use the beach and boat ramp.  A you paddle the north end enjoy house dreaming.  There is even a house with its own little island.  To the south there is a wilderness feel to the shore.  The fishing can be amazing!
            We paddle this once with only one short break in kayaks.  It took over five hours at a good clip.  You should put aside the whole day to properly enjoy these waters.  Use some common sense if it is windy.

Hampden County     

East Brimfield Reservoir and Long Pond, Quinebaug River Trail, and Holland Pond
            Here is a real all day adventure!  These waters are the domain of the US Army Corps of Engineers and probably the largest for boaters.  You will be attacking over 12.5 miles of river and shoreline covering over 500 acres of lake waters plus wetlands.  For the bird watcher, you can’t beat over 3 miles of river through wetlands.  For the angler, the interconnected lakes and pond offer a huge variety of game fish.  There are numerous swimming stops along the way.  Bring plenty of sunscreen for protection and lots of food to munch on.

Congomond Lakes
            These connected lakes are seriously surrounded by homes.  Most of these homes are now year-round residents but some are still summer homes.  If it is a summer weekend, be careful of the motor boat traffic.  During a weekday, it’s much more fun.  Gazing at homes is part of the fun.  There is such a wide variety.  The north pond is clearly the quiet one.  The middle the busiest with a couple of marinas.  The south pond you might see a seaplane land and explore down part of Mountain Brook.  The ten miles of shoreline is quite a good workout.

Otis Reservoir
East Brimfield Reservoir
Holland Pond
Congomond Lakes
Southern Vermont

Somerset Reservoir (Grout Pond)
            If you want a wilderness experience than here is a great opportunity.  There is really only one access point.  As a result, most activity in the summer is restricted to the southern end of the reservoir.  This makes for a great opportunity to paddle north and experience many hours of remote paddling.  The islands can be a source of exploration.  Plan to arrive early in the morning.  Bring food for the whole day and make sure you have a Float Plan.  As a side note, consider the hiking trail that goes around the entire reservoir.
            Camping is a great opportunity.  There is FREE camping near the lower launch.  There is also FREE camping at Grout Pond to the north with campsites right on the water.  Grout Pond is a fun morning or evening paddle if you are not exhausted from Somerset.  Make it a weekend trip if you have the time.

Harriman Reservoir
            This paddle will take at least one full day!  I’m not kidding.  It might be best to put two days or a full weekend adventure.  Go camping nearby or stay at an inn in Wilmington. 
            There are wilderness areas where you can hide out all alone.  We have paddled this by separating it into two.  One as the northern half and one as a southern half.  The dam in the south is worth a visit.
            Consider this, Harriman Reservoir is the largest lake entirely in Vermont.  At over 2039 acres, a gross storage capacity of 117,300 acre-fee, and a shoreline over 26 miles.  Here is a real challenge to the flatwater paddler.

Worcester County

Wickaboag Lake – Lake Lashaway - Quaboag Pond – Quacumquasit Pond – Quaboag River
            The West Brookfield, East Brookfield and Brookfield area is a lake paddlers delight.  What makes this so interesting is that you can paddle between four different lakes with the Brookfield River and Quaboag River connecting them. With over 13 miles of shoreline combined with over 5 miles of flatwater river connecting there is endless opportunities to paddle, fish, and generally hangout all day or even days.  Don't forget the sun screen!

Somerset Reservoir
Grout Pond
Harriman Reservoir
Lake Lashaway
Wickaboag Lake
Quaboag Pond
Quacumquasit Pond
Quaboag Pond to Lucy Stone Park