North River Current - MA

I am a newbie kayaker. I have been doing mostly local lakes and ponds on the South Shore of MA. I have read a lot about the North River, which is a popular paddling destination in the area. Does anyone know anything about this river? I am curious about the current. How strong is it? How should I time it in relation to the tide if I want to go from Hanover Canoe launch to the Union St. Bridge? Is it possible to go there and back without dealing with a swift current in either direction?

Thanks for the info to anyone that can help. Great site!

Check out…
…this site:

Union St Bridge
The current can get pretty quick there but if you time it right you should be able to paddle at slack tide when there is little or no current.


i used to live in humarock
and paddle the north/south all the time by the river mouth.

it can be strong enough to wash you right out there are the mouth on ebb and if you aren’t comfortable with surf, you should probably ease into it…i’ve seen it racing so that it was really difficult to make any headway and i’ve seen it idyllic and the mouth varies just as much.

i used to launch up above the bridges in humarock, paddle down and then just paddle my brains out to get back up river…nice treadmill sort of workout when it’s ebbing out!

the north and south river watershed association ( can probably give you some good advice/pointers and i know they sell maps of the river(s).

they have a facility over on the norwell/hanover line over by the mall if you are a local.

good luck.

If you time the tide right
you can do both directions with no problem.

You have to interpolate since the tide is given at the mouth, and at the Union Street bridge it can be an hour more or less different, and even that depends on the tides relation to the moon.

If you are a strong paddler you can paddle against the current, but if you are heading up river against a strong outgoing tide there are two places where you might have to wait it out.

Shortly upstream from the Union Street Bridge (about a quarter of mile) there are some rocks which will be a class I plus rapid at certain tides and then also you can find the same condition at the bridge in Hanover.

Two years ago my wife and I were training in our canoe for the Adarondak 90 miler there and did two laps starting at Union Street to Hanover and return, and we hit the tide wrong at the first rapid, (which is normally flat) and had to attempt four tries before getting through it.

Last year during the great river race they forgot to take into consideration the full moon the night before, when they set the date and there was an extreme tide. Those of us that were near the front of the pack had a devil of a time getting through the narrow rapid at the Hanover bridge, and the ones at the back of the pack went right on through in just about flat water.

After finishing, I sat upstream holding onto a rock while waiting for my wife, and actually watched the water smooth out.

Your best bet would be to catch up with a paddler from the North and South River shed Ass’n and either paddle with them or pick their brain.