There are six stops in the Ipswich Recreation Project that are placed at six existing canoe launches along the Ipswich River in Middleton, Topsfield, and Hamilton. The farthest stop, number 6, is located at the farthest point upstream at Maple Street in Middleton, and then the system decreases until stop number 1 at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield. Here is a list and details of each of the stops in the project.
6. Maple Street, Middleton
5. Thunder Bridge (East Street), Middleton
Located at Thunder Bridge, this is the second stop in the project. This town beach features a large parking lot for canoers and beach-goers. The sign at the entrance says that only Middleton residents are allowed to park. The kiosk is located on a small patch of grass at the eastern end of the beach. From here, the Ipswich River travels through the woods, under 95, and past Masconomet before coming to the next stop.
4. Rowley Bridge Road, Topsfield
The bridge on Rowley Bridge Road in Topsfield is the third stop in the project. The launch is down a short trail form the pull out parking area which has enough room for about four cars. More parking is available along the street. The kiosk for this stop is located along the left hand side of the trail looking down towards the river. This stop is currently owned by the Essex County Greenbelt Association. From here the river travels past breathtaking estates and rolling hillsides, under Salem Road and Route 1, and then past the fairgrounds before getting to the next stop.
3. High Street Launch, Topsfield
The canoe launch on High Street in Topsfield is the next stop for the project. This launch is very hilly and has a pullout parking area along the street at the top of the hill. There is also a bench to relax on. The kiosk is located near the top of the hill closer to the parking area. This launch is currently owned by the Massachusetts Division of Wildlife and Fisheries. From here the river travels under High Street, past the Salem-Beverly Canal, and then through part of the wildlife sanctuary before arriving at the next stop.
2. Colt Island (Wildlife Sanctuary), Hamilton
Colt Island is located on the edge of the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield. The island is located on the right hand side heading downstream. There is no mainland access or parking available, although the island does have a picnic area and small hiking trail system. Overnight campers are allowed with a permit through Foote Brothers, which owns the island. The kiosk is located at the top of a small hill that leads down to the launch area. From here the river travels through a large meadow that makes up the most beautiful section of the river, then under Asbury Street, through part of Bradley Palmer, and on to the next stop.
1. Ipswich Road Launch (Bradley Palmer), Topsfield
This stop is located in Bradley Palmer State Park on the left hand side heading downstream. It is a very sloped launch, although there is a fairly level launching area on the edge of the site. The launch also has a fairly large pull out parking area on Ipswich Road at the top of the hill, with more parking available across the street. The kiosk is located halfway up the hill on a level site near the launching area. The park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. From here the river flows on through Bradley Palmer State Park.