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Assabet River Visitor Guide

Closure Notice: While the refuges are open, the public facilities, including the Visitor Center, Nature Store and outdoor restrooms, remain closed.

Alert: Potential Trail Closures Due to Flooding

Some trails at the refuge may be impassable due to flooding. Trail conditions are constantly changing due to a number of environmental factors. If you're planning a longer walk/hike, we advise you begin well before sunset to ensure you have enough time in case of a detour.

Reminders from USFWS Staff: Please note that the cutting and/or placement of trees, branches, and stumps to create mini footbridges has negative biological consequences to the natural environment, negatively impacts the integrity of the trail, and places the safety of visitors at risk when they attempt to cross. Modifying existing trails, and/or creating new trails are violations of refuge policy. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding.

Assabet River Details

The Assabet River refuge comprises over 2,333 acres of varied woodland, wetland, fields, ponds and streams, with historical and archaeological sites. It is divided into a 1,900-acre northern section, a 300-acre southern section, and 91 acres scattered along the Assabet River in Stow. The terrain is primarily flat but includes some prominent hills; elevations range from 170 feet near the river to 320 feet on Walnut Hill. Seventy percent of the refuge is forested with pine, oak and maple. There are over 470 acres of diverse wetland habitat including an Atlantic white cedar swamp. This jewel is connected to about 1,000 acres of other diverse protected space.

The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset. Wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities, including wildlife observation, photography, interpretation, and environmental education, are permitted on designated trails shown on the map. Fishing and hunting are allowed subject to refuge regulations, State and Federal laws and permit restrictions. The most active hunt period is during the shotgun deer season late November and/or into December. Most other times, hunt pressure is generally light. There is no hunting on Sundays. Please refer to the kiosk or the refuge website for more information about hunt seasons. Fishing is allowed at Puffer Pond at designated fishing sites. It is catch and release with a state fishing license and no live bait is allowed.

Visit the FWS website for Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge