Boston Kayaker

Kayaking on Charles River - from Wellesley MA to Needham MA

Rating: Two-and-a-Half Stars - I paddled the trip as shown in my kayak map in April 2016 when the leaves are just sprouting. This one-way paddle took me 1 hour 32 minutes. In August 2011, I partially paddled this route on a round-trip from Fisher Street. Lots of pretty wild flowers. Many river-front houses along the way.

  Put in at Elm Bank Reservation on
  Washington Street in Wellesley MA.
Paddle out of inlet
  and turn right.
Take out at Fisher Street
  in Needham MA.
Estimated distance
  = 4 miles
South Natick

Disclaimer: It is your responsibility to determine the legality, suitability and safety of this route for yourself.

Download printer-friendly
PDF version that fits in one page:
Kayaking on Charles River - from Wellesley MA to Needham MA

Other resources:
Mass. Dept of Conservation: Elm Bank Reservation
Charles River Watershed Association
On The Charles

Number of original photos on this page : 131
All photos in this website are original and copyrighted.

The South Natick Dam on Charles River in Natick MA.
This picture and the one below taken August 2011 on first paddling trip.

Entrance to the Elm Bank Reservation from Route 16 in Wellesley MA.

At the launch to Charles River from the Elm Bank Reservation.
Trip date April 2016.

The Boston Kayaker with son and daughter.

The Boston Kayaker launching on Charles River from the Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley MA.

Looking to my right is the bridge over the launch inlet.

Just turned right after coming out of the inlet.

Paddling downstream on Charles River.

It is the last day of April and the leaves are just sprouting.


Another paddler on Charles River.

River bending to the right.

River-front houses.

A downed tree spanning the Charles River.

Looking for a way past this tree . . .

In front are two kayakers.

The Dover Street bridge.

On the bridge, a sign explains that on the left is Charles Street of Needham MA.
To the right is Dover Road of Dover MA.
Sign says "36.8 miles to Boston Harbor".

A beaver lodge on Charles River.

Charles River bending sharp left along Claybrook Road.

Two guys on a pontoon. The pontoon is actually moving.

Another beaver lodge on Charles River.

A pair of kayakers on Charles River.

To my left is Central Avenue in Needham MA.

Approaching the Central Avenue bridge over the Charles River in Needham MA.

Sign says "34.3 miles to Boston Harbor".

Old unused railroad bridge.

Soon after this bridge will be the takeout on the left.

The Willow Street bridge. Just beyond this bridge is the Cochran Dam.

Takeout on my left.

Landed at the Fisher Street access in Needham MA.
Paddle time is 1 hour 32 minutes.

The canoe/kayak launch from Elm Bank Reservation.
Pictures above and below are from the trip in August 2011.


The launch inlet viewed from the bridge.

The marker to the Redwing Bay Village Falls Park on Fisher Street.

Fisher Street launch.

Put in at Fisher Street, the designated take out in the map above.

For this trip, I started at the Fisher Street takeout, paddled upriver for 1 mile and returned.

It was very overcast and bursts of rainshowers in the last 2 hours.

Old rail tressle.

Central Avenue bridge.

Sign on the bridge says 34 miles from Bston Harbor.

Found out this nice little alternative put-in just north of the Central Avenue bridge.

Nice riverside residences.

I turned around at this point. All pictures below will bo on my way back paddling downriver.

Central Avenue bridge on my way back.

This powerline is my marker. The Fisher street launch is just on the left after the power poles.

Cochran Dam under construction.

Back at the same put-in. There's my car!

This is another thing I like with this kayak. It fits INSIDE the van!