Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the United States. Created in the 1930s by the construction of two huge earthen dams, the reservoir is fed by the three branches of the Swift River, and seasonally by the Ware River. Quabbin's water covers 39 square miles, is 18 miles long and has 181 miles of shoreline. When full, Quabbin holds 412 billion gallons of water.
The New Salem and Enfield lookouts offer magnificent views of the reservoir. In order to flood the vast area of the Swift River Valley in the 1930s, the entire population of four towns had to be relocated. Hundreds of homes, businesses, a state highway, a railroad line, and 34 cemeteries were also moved or dismantled. Over 6,000 graves were relocated from the Valley to Quabbin Park Cemetery .
Quabbin Visitors Center
485 Ware Road (Rte. 9)
Belchertown, MA 01007
Daily Parking Fee: Vehicle $6, Vehicle and Trailer (includes launching fees)
$8 Senior Citizens 62 and older and Handicapped (with placard): half price
The Quabbin Visitor Center is open and staffed seven days a week through most of the year from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends (early November – early March) and 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time. The Center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, the weekend before and the weekend after Christmas. The Center may also close due to inclement weather.
Quabbin related materials, including brochures, maps and books, are available at the Center, which is operated in cooperation with the Friends of Quabbin, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the programs of the Visitor Center. There are exhibits, displays and materials about Quabbin, its history, management and role in the water supply system, as well as information on wildlife, recreation, and drinking water. Vital Records from the former Swift River Valley towns are housed at the Quabbin Administration Building and staff can assist visitors seeking genealogic information.
Groups interested in an orientation or program at the Quabbin Visitor Center as part of a visit to the reservoir can contact the staff prior to the event by calling the Center at (413) 323-7221. Although the Center is staffed seven days a week, there can be times when the staff is unavailable to meet with visitors. It is best to call ahead to make an appointment if you require staff time to ensure that someone will be available.
Maps & Regulations
Directions to the DCR Quabbin Visitor's Center & Administration Building
From Boston: Take the Mass. Turnpike to Exit 8 (Palmer). At the end of the Exit Ramp turn left onto Route 32 North and proceed for 8 miles. In Ware turn left at the green sign "Route 9 West" (just past McDonalds). Go 2/10ths of a mile to a stop sign. Turn left onto Route 9 and proceed west for 7 miles. Turn right at the green sign marked "Quabbin Reservoir - Winsor Dam" (Note: This will be the second green sign on your right. The first sign, located at the 5.3 mile mark, provides access to the main Quabbin Park area, including the Enfield Lookout and Quabbin Observation Tower). Turn right at this entrance and proceed 1/2 mile to DCR Quabbin Administration Building, the large brick building on the right.
From Springfield: Take the Mass. Turnpike to Exit 7 (Ludlow). Turn right on Route 21 heading north towards Belchertown. Continue on Route 21 through Belchertown Center to Route 9. Turn right at the stop sign onto Route 9 east and proceed 2 miles to the green sign marked "Quabbin Reservoir - Winsor Dam". Turn left at the sign and go 1/2 mile to the large brick building which overlooks the reservoir.
From Amherst: Take Route 9 east towards Belchertown. The entrance to Quabbin is 3 miles east of the intersection with Route 202 and is marked with a sign "Quabbin Reservoir - Winsor Dam". Turn left at the sign and go 1/2 mile to the large brick building which overlooks the reservoir.
From the North: Take Route 2 to Route 202 south. Proceed 21 miles to the traffic light at the intersection with Route 9. Turn left onto Route 9 east and proceed 3 miles to the green sign marked "Quabbin Reservoir - Winsor Dam". Turn left and proceed 1/2 mile to the large brick building which overlooks the reservoir.
A parking lot is marked on your right, just before the Administration Building.
For further information, please call the Quabbin Visitor Center at (413) 323-7221.
- Shoreline Fishing (Restrictions)
- Bicycling (Limited)
- Walking Trails
- Bird Watching
- Hunting (Restrictions)
- Scenic Views
- Visitor Center
- Picnicking (carry-in, carry-out)
- No Dogs Allowed
- Deer Hunt
- Quabbin Fishing Guide
Things to know before you go
The primary purpose of DCR water and surrounding lands is drinking water supply. Public access, therefore, is carefully regulated and controlled to protect over 2 million people’s source of drinking water. State regulations require all entry and exit through gates or other designated areas only. Anything that could pollute the water supply system, such as litter or refuse of any sort, is prohibited. Please observe restrictions on recreational activities. Direct water contact activities, such as swimming and wading, are strictly prohibited by regulation. Dogs are not allowed on any DCR property associated with Quabbin Reservoir.
The Quabbin Interpretive Services Program operates the Quabbin Visitor Center, Education Programs, Teacher Workshops, and provides general information about DCR resources. Three full time staff members are available to assist with visitor information and services. An automated telephone system 413-323-7221 - provides 24 hour access to current information on fishing, hunting, programs, rules and regulations, and public access.