It’s one of the best dam views around.
On one side is the Wachusett Reservoir, the state’s second-largest inland body of water. On the other, the Nashua River winds slowly toward the little mill town of Clinton. But the public only gets two chances each year to see that full panoramic view and stroll across the top of the Wachusett Dam. The first opportunity this year is happening in May.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has announced May 13 as Wachusett Dam Day. From 2 to 5 p.m., visitors can park along Route 70 in Clinton and walk across the top of the dam to trails on the other side. Visitors were unable to do that during Dam Day last year while repair work on the western part of the dam was ongoing.
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority recently completed work on the west side bastion section of the dam that involved removing, storing and then restoring original granite blocks from a small section of the dam.
The area around the dam is always open to visitors daily from sunrise to sunset, but the dam walkway was closed down to visitors in the 1990s due to water supply security and public safety concerns, the Department of Conservation and Recreation stated. The agency now opens it for a day in the spring and one in the fall.
- Related: This old abandoned train tunnel in Clinton could soon become the crowning jewel of the Mass. Central Rail Trail
Steps also take visitors down either side of the dam to the fountain and now-defunct power house below. Visitors can also access a trail on the west side of the dam that runs along the side of the reservoir to Route 110 in Sterling.
DCR rangers will be on hand to provide information about the agency’s watershed protection program. The Wachusett Reservoir , which is responsible for the protection of the metropolitan Boston water supply, including the Wachusett Reservoir and watershed area.
- Related: Clinton’s rebirth: This little Central Mass. town has been quietly evolving, changing what you thought you knew about it
The dam is 205 feet and was completed in 1905. The reservoir itself holds about 65 billion gallons and covers 108 square miles and 37 miles of shoreline. The reservoir provides drinking water for the Boston metropolitan area.
Dogs are allowed at the top of the dam and backpacks and other large bags are not also not permitted. But you can take all the dam photos you want.
2019 Dam Day at Wachusett Reservoir Dam