Tully Lake - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip
Day Trip Report
Athol, MA, USA
Simply magnificent! The pickerel weed was in full purple bloom and along the river, it was as if I were kayaking through a Monet painting.
There are two parts to Tully Lake, the main lake itself and then Tully River leading over to Long Pond. Tully Lake itself is peppered with small to medium islands everywhere.
Many obvious places to get out to swim and picnic. The water has a rust tint because of all the pine but not to worry - it's clean and makes for wonderful swimming. The shoreline around the islands makes for relaxed paddling.
Heading the other direction, paddling along the river is just incredibly beautiful. This is where the pickerel weed lines the shores. It's a rather narrow river, small mountains on one side with heavily forested shoreline. Most often the water is like glass. Eventually you will come into Long Pond, which isn't all that long. The beaver damn is now removed so there is no portaging needed. Again, heavily forested. Lots of birds.
I will now reveal the secret of Long Pond! (not so secret in late Fall - Winter - Early Spring) Go until you reach the end, where you will encounter a beautiful marsh that looks impassable but it's not! Behind that sea of pickerel weed is another river. It's narrow (not cramped) and quiet and absolutely beautiful. Most of the beaver damns are down and it continues to twist and turn in an easy fashion. Most of the time you will be the only one back there so the solitude is wonderful, especially if Tully Lake and Tully River, etc. are crawling with paddlers, as it is on Saturday's and Sunday's in July/August. The trick is to find the opening. The best I could say is that it tends to be close to the middle, over to your right. Travel along the perimeter until you find the very narrow passage. I made it through with a 17 foot Necky so just keep going. In less than 2 minutes, you're there.
Beavers, birds, turtles and an occasional weasel.
People come here to fish. I don't know what for but the people seem happy enough. Only small motors allowed on the lake. Recently there have been sailboats showing up and it looks like a war may break out over it. So if you must paddle on the weekend, try to go on the earlier side of the day or later side, around 4. This is a manmade lake so there is a huge damn on one end of Tully Lake. But you won't mind unless you keep staring at it. Creatures are pretty much limited to beavers, turtles, lots of birds and an occasional weasel or deer.
There is a hiking trail that virtually goes along the entire place. And there is a waterfall that people get out and hike in to.
Bring a lunch, don't rush and enjoy yourself!
Campground with sites along Tully Lake, some very private. Other sites are walk-in only. Canoe and kayak rentals. Bathroom and play area at first entrance. A few picnic sights scattered along the shoreline off from one of the indented parking spots.
Get yourself to Athol, northern past of the state, somewhere close to the middle. Off route 2. Follow signs for or ask directions to Route 32 towards Royalston. You'll see signs for Tully Lake, take a very sharp right. That's one put in. The one for canoes and kayaks - keep going and take your first left (see the other report for better directions). Over bridge, past campground registration, take a very sharp left. Parking lot. Go left for Tully Lake, right for the River.
Originally used the maps of the Lake you can get at the Campground Headquarters or in a display at the first entrance.
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