SHAWSHEEN RIVER TRAIL
Beautiful vistas along the meandering Shawsheen through open woods.
WALKING TIME 30 MINUTES
SIZE 15 ACRES
OWNER TOWN OF NORTH ANDOVER, ESSEX COUNTY GREENBELT
MILES OF TRAILS ½
After a 25-mile journey from Bedford, the Shawsheen River winds along North Andover’s border with Lawrence, before flowing into the Merrimack River at an underground outfall.
To see North Andover’s piece of the Shawsheen, begin at the Riverbend Crossing Condominiums, where a gravel path crosses a foot bridge and enters the woods. The trail follows the river for about a half mile, and terminates at Hawthorne Place. Be sure to stop at the bench and wildlife viewing area.
THE SHAWSHEEN RIVER
The river’s watershed encompasses about 78 square miles in 12 communities. The Shawsheen River Watershed Association, a non-profit volunteer organization, works to protect and restore the river, running clean-ups, paddles and other events. Over one thousand tires have been removed by SRWA volunteers, working along the riverbank and from canoes and kayaks.
While the meaning of the name Shawsheen is unknown, it is almost certainly of Native American origin. According to legend, the name means “serpent” or “serpentine”, which refers to the meandering nature of the river. The river was given the name Shawshin by the General Court of Massachusetts in 1644.
Before Mass Ave was built, Greene St served as a main road across the river, linking the North Parish of Andover to the farm fields beyond, which later became South Lawrence.
Route 495 now separates Greene St from Lawrence’s North Parish Rd. Remains of the ancient bridge crossing, known as the Enchanted Bridge or the Witch Bridge, can still be seen along the banks of the river along the former path of Greene St.
The Shawsheen River’s confluence with the Merrimack River was originally located along Sutton Street. When Route 495 was constructed, the river was rerouted underground, and now emerges at an outfall behind Riverwalk in Lawrence.
In 2004, the Riverbend Crossing Condominiums were constructed at the end of Greene St, at the former site of the Mercury Shoe Outlet.