Boston Kayaker

Kayaking on Ipswich River - from Topsfield MA to Ipswich MA

Rating: Three Stars - Paddled this route with my wife, niece and boyrfriend in the middle of October. On this route, turtles abound. Saw maybe 200+ of them on every downed tree some in groups of more than 10. We hit the first beaver dam on the upriver side of the Salem Road bridge. Got out of my kayak to check out (about 2 feet drop) and made an easy decision to run it. Turns out it will be the first of 6+ beaver dams we have to run. On one, have to get out and help the rest push thru. So many birds too at the wildlife refuge. Not sure it the area was designated a refuge because of the birds or the birds came later after they heard it was a refuge. The beaver dams made this route moderately challenging. I would have rated this 4 stars if there were mountain ranges. Paddle time was 3 hours and 48 minutes.

  Put in at Rowley Bridge
  Road in Topsfield MA.
Do not enter dead
  end canal.
Take out at Topsfield
  Road in Ipswich MA.
Estimated distance
  = 8+ miles
Beaver dams
  on this route

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 Ipswich River - from Topsfield MA to Ipswich MA

Other resources:
Kayak The Merrimack: Ipswich River Topsfield to Ipswich Kayak Trip Report Ipswich River Trip Report 1 Ipswich River Trip Report 2 Ipswich River Trip Report 3
Boston Globe: Canoeing on Ipswich River
Wikipedia: Ipswich River
Mass Audubon: Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
Foote Brothers canoe & kayak rentals

Number of original photos on this page : 115
All photos in this website are original and copyrighted.

At the Rowley Bridge Road launch to the Ipswich River in Topsfield MA.
Trip date is October 2019.

Today's kayak buddies: the Boston Kayaker's niece and boyfriend (taking picture).

From here, we paddled to the right downriver.

Paddling under the Rowley Bridge over the Ipswich River.

The clouds will move about during the kayak trip. Sometime shiny, sometime shady.

My niece's boyfriend.

Finding a path around the downed trees . . .

The Boston Kayaker and wife on a tandem on Ipswich River.

This turtle will turn out to be the first of hundreds!

At this stretch, the river is parallel to River Road in Topsfield MA.

Under the Salem Road bridge, we ran our first beaver dam.
But before we did it, I got out of the kayak and scouted the beaver dam first.

Next bridge is the Route 1 bridge.

Paddling under the Route 1 bridge over the Ipswich River in Topsfield MA.

On the right bank, the Topsfield Fair rides.

A beaver lodge.

Route 97 bridge.

The beavers are busy chewing away this tree for their next dam.


Turtles abound.

We took a break on an island and then switched kayaks.

There's a beaver lodge!

A pair on a canoe on Ipswich River.

The Boston Kayaker on Ipswich River.

The Boston Kayaker on top of a beaver dam on Ipswich River.

Now below the dam after I showed them how to do it, they are repositioning for a run over the beaver dam.

In this picture, taken by my wife from the top of the beaver dam, showing my niece/boyfriend on the dam itself,
and the Boston Kayaker below the dam.

Swans on Ipswich River.

The birds of the Ipswich Wildlife Refuge.

Another beaver dam to paddle over (me) while I told them to paddle around to the left end.

Instead of running over this beaver dam, they paddled around to the left.

Now I am taking picture from below the dam.

Another beaver dam.

The Boston Kayaker currently on top of another beaver dam.

Sliding forward with the kayak now pointed well down.

After my ran on the beaver dam, my niece/boyfriend follows me.

Approaching a foot bridge over the Ipswich River.

Yet another beaver dam after the foot bridge.

Another group of kayakers.

Ashbury Street bridge. Take out should be about 15 minutes from here.

Take out on sight.

Landed. Paddle time is 3 hours 48 minutes.

The marker on the takeout.

Later at the Topsfield Fair champion pumpkin.