Arch Street Bridge Put-In trail

Millers River Reach 4

Last Updated: 3/2017
Birch Hill Dam to Royalston Crecent Street Dam Athol

  This reach may be too low to paddle most of the year above Athol.  Consider scouting the entire reach before attempting a paddle.


Upper Dam - Mile 20.5
42-35.77 N 72-13.11 W
150 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Athol, MA 01331
Access:  Enter just before the bridge and drive in where the old Mill buildings use to be.

Lower  Dam - Mile 20.4
Chestnut Hill Avenue Bridge - Mile 20.4
42-35.82 N 72-13.22 W
150 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Athol, MA 01331
Located directly at the bridge, just down stream.

Cresent Street Dam - Mile 20.0
42-35.66 N 72-13.60 W
50 Crescent Street, Athol, MA 01331
Dam is pratically under the bridge.

Exchange Street Bridge - Mile 19.7
42-35.80 N 72-13.90 W
330 Exchange Street, Athol, MA 01331

North Orange Road Put-In - Mile 19.2
42-35.76 N 72-14.46 W
180 North Orange Road Athol, MA 01331

Skill Level:            Class 1, 2, and 3
Estimated Time:    3 hours plus one hour for portages
Distance:               9.0 miles plus portage
USGS Map: Athol, MA and Royalston, MA

Birch Hill Dam PORTAGE

Take-Out: Birch Hill Dam (above dam)  Mile 29.0
Put-In:       Below Birch Hill Dam            Mile 28.7
Portage Distance: 0.2 miles
  1. After taking out well above the barrier, walk along the river on the grass.
  2. Cross over the top of the dam near the buildings.
  3. Travel down the other side on the grass near the spillway.
  4. Launch off the grass area well below the spillway fence where there is little turbulance.  Use good judgement.
Birch Hill Dam
      Besides flood risk management, another significant benefit of the dam is that the 4,384-acre reservoir area provides open space for public recreation. Since 1976, the Corps of Engineers has leased most of the reservoir area (4,221 acres) to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for recreation and fish and wildlife purposes, including the popular Lake Dennison Campground and Day Use Area. Under the supervision of DCR, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife stocks fish and pheasants and promotes healthy wildlife populations within the reservoir area for public hunting and fishing.

           For more information click below:
Army Corps of Engineers
Birch Hill Dam
South Royalston - Put-In - Mile 19.0
Position: 42-37.70 N 72-08.60 W
Altitude: 810 feet
Royalston, MA
Boat Launch:
Alan E. Rich Park, adjacent to Cass Meadow, is a launch point on the Blue Trail. There is parking for at least 10 vehicles.  Only car top launch.  Take the trail at the back of the parking lot to the Put-In.  Show consideration for a bordering house and their yard.
Nearest Launch Address:
1 Birch Hill Dam Road, Royalston, MA 01368
On Birch Hill Dam Road where it begins.
Route 68 where it crosses the river and the railroad tracks.
1 Baldwinville Road, Royalston, MA 01368
Put-In Directions (4.3 miles, 8 minutes):
From Route 2 Exit 19 Phillipston/Winchendon:
  1. After exiting Route 2, turn (left or right) onto Royalston Road.​​
  2. At mile 4.0, it becomes Phillipston Road.
  3. At mile 4.2,  at the end fo the road, turn left onto Route 68 North
  4.  At mile 4.3, Turn right onto Birch Hill Dam Road.
  5. At mile 4.35, turn left into the parking lot put-in area.​​

Paved Parking Lot for 6 vehicles
There is picnicing and grass at the put-in.