Enjoy many recreation opportunities and active transportation options in the Mystic.

Paddling at the Condon Shell in Medford. Photo credit: Margaret Walsh

Paddling at the Condon Shell in Medford. Photo credit: Margaret Walsh


There are many places in the Mystic River Watershed for canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding including both official and unofficial places to put-in. 

  • Seasonal boat rentals are available in Paddle Boston at Blessing of the Bay Boathouse in Somerville and the Condon Shell in Medford, and at the Reservoir in Arlington. 

  • Use our paddle map to locate boat launches and swimming locations, and to find paddle routes starting from Blessing of the Bay Boathouse.

  • Want to row? Gentle Giant Rowing Club offers opportunities to learn and compete.

Safety first. MyRWA advises you to AVOID swimming and boating for 48 hours following a heavy rain storm as pollution levels can spike due to stormwater runoff and sewer overflows. Check out the Daily Boating Advisory to see if it is safe.


Swimming locations include Shannon Beach in Medford, Wedge Pond in Winchester, and the Arlington Reservoir in Arlington.

Parks and Trails

Opportunities abound for hiking, walking, running and biking in the 21 community watershed!

  • Our Mystic Greenways program works to connect 25 miles of parks and paths on our riverfront, enabling residents to travel across the watershed and to Boston without a car. See our vision.

  • Explore a comprehensive network of foot paths and bike paths in Greater Boston with the MAPC trail map.

  • Check out the great routes in our Wegmans Hit the Trails guide. Hard-copies available at our office and at the Medford Wegmans.


There are many great fishing opportunities both on the saltwater Lower Mystic, as well as the freshwater river and the many lakes and ponds.  For the Upper Mystic (upstream of the Amelia Earhart Dam) it is catch and release—see more information here. For the Lower Mystic River (Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Revere, and Somerville), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has just issued a fish advisory to provide guidance on fish consumption. More information can be found here. The advisory says:

  • Children under 12, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and women that may become pregnant should not consume any fish in the area

  • Everyone else can eat bluefish and striped bass

  • Nobody should eat any other fish caught in this area


There are many great locations for birding within the watershed. Use these checklists when in Macdonald Park or at the Mystic Lakes to track and compare what you see. Other great resources include MassBird. Org and the Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife MA Bird List. We encourage you to submit and explore bird observations at eBird: the world’s largest biodiversity citizen science project.


Explore and celebrate nature in an urban setting using an amazingly fun and powerful app called iNaturalist.  It's as easy as downloading an app to your phone, and then going outside to a naturalized space and photographing some living thing! You upload the picture attach an ID (if you know it) and add your observation to a huge, growing library of observations.  Other observers will look at what you've uploaded and attach their own identifications.  If three observers agree on a species, it gets raised to to a "research level" observation. 

We would especially love to document what's in the biggest green space on the Mystic River, namely Macdonald Park in Medford. But you can document biodiversity anywhere in the watershed!