Hanover Public Launch

2 Indian Head Dr, Hanover, MA 02339, USA

Owned By: Town of Hanover

This public canoe and kayak launch offers access to the Indian Head River, Herring Brook, and the North River. It is also the location of the take out for the NSRWA’s annual Great River Race. Trailheads for two Hanover Conservation parcels – Chapman’s Landing and Iron Mine Brook – are here as well.

Tide Math: High tide at the Hanover Public Launch is about 3-4 hours after the Boston high tide.

This section of the Indian Head River — between Chapman’s Landing and Luddam’s Ford — is a popular spot for shad fishing.

Downstream, the Indian Head River and Herring Brook flow together to form the North River at a spot called The Crotch. This area is one of only three major freshwater tidal marshes in Massachusetts. Water access only, although you can view it from afar from the Canoe Club Preserve.


The Hanover Public Launch is a fantastic place to launch your canoe or kayak. Be aware that there is a significant tide delay this far upriver – 3 to 3.5 hours beyond the Boston high tide. Immediately downstream of this launch site, especially in the summer, the Indian Head River can be quite shallow when the tide is out. You may have to step out of your boat and nudge it upstream from time to time. But at mid- and high tides, the river is quite navigable!

Trail Description

No trails.

Habitats and Wildlife

Blue Herons, egrets, and osprey can be observed hunting along the Indian Head and North Rivers. Watch for migrating ducks in the fall.

Downstream, where the Indian Head River and Herring Brook flow together to form the North River, is a spot called The Crotch. Herring swim up to this location from the North River, and head farther upstream, into Herring Brook and the Indian Head River. At this part of the river, there is no trace of salt in the water. Everywhere downstream from here, there is at least a little -- and sometimes a lot -- of salinity. From here upriver, the water is completely fresh.

Even though The Crotch is 11 miles from the mouth of the river (six miles as the crow flies), it is only about 3 feet above sea level. Hide tide at the ocean is about five feet above sea level. The Crotch is about 2 feet below sea level at high tide. From here, upstream to the dam on the Indian Head River and Route 14 on Herring Brook, the marsh is a freshwater tidal marsh. It is the second largest freshwater tidal marsh in Massachusetts (after the Merrimack River).

Fish commonly seen in this section of the river include shad, trout, pickerel, catfish, eel and sunfish. Wild rice grows in the area near The Crotch.

2 Indian Head Dr, Hanover, MA 02339, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: Yes

Lifeguards: No

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Limited on-site parking at the end of Indian Head Drive.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: No trails.

Facilities: Canoe/kayak launch. Informational kiosk.

Dogs: Yes

Boat Ramp: Yes

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Other Things to Do at This Site