Weather :

Elevation : 1 meter above sea level

Towns : Winchester, Arlington, Medford

Primary Inflows : Aberjona River

Primary Outflows : Mystic River

Type : Meromictic lake

Suggested Recreational Activities : Swimming, non-motorised boating, fishing, rowing, sailing

Hours : Sunrise to sunset

Beach : Shannon Beach (Upper Mystic Lake)

Restrictions : Alcohol, littering and pets (apart from service animals) are not allowed

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Mystic Lakes, Boston Overview

Flowing through three different towns in the state of Massachusetts, the meromictic Mystic Lakes are known to be great for recreational activities such as swimming, rowing, sailing, fishing and picnics, especially since Shannon Beach is located at Upper Mystic Lake. The Mystic River Reservation includes the eastern shore of the lakes while Mystic Lakes were previously part of Charlestown and Boston’s drinking water supply.

Mystic Lakes in Boston’s northwestern suburbs are essentially meromictic lakes at an elevation of about 1 meter above sea level. Comprising of Upper Mystic Lake and Lower Mystic Lake, Mystic Lakes flow through the towns of Arlington, Winchester and Medford and eventually flow into the Boston Harbor. It is the Aberjona River that serves as one of the primary inflows, especially to Upper Mystic Lake, which then flows over the Mystic Dam and into the Lower Mystic Lake, ultimately draining into the Mystic River and then the Harbor.

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The Formation of Mystic Lakes

Mystic Lakes (Upper and Lower Mystic Lake) are meromictic lakes, which means that their very deep water hardly ever mixes with the water on top which lead to the sediments at the bottom getting arranged in what is known as varves (annual layers) and not getting distributed over a course of thousands of years.

The lakes originate from the Aberjona River, that is one of its primary inflows, and the Upper Mystic Lake flows south over the Mystic Dam, mixes in with Lower Mystic Lake, flows into Mystic River and ultimately into the Boston Harbor. The lakes are at about 1 meter above sea level and flow through three towns, namely Winchester, Medford and Arlington.

Suggested Recreational Activities for Mystic Lakes

Mystic Lakes, that include Upper and Lower Mystic Lake, in the northwestern suburbs of Boston are a fitting destination for a fun day out, not too far from the city centre. Some of the recreational activities that one can indulge in here include:
  • Shannon Beach, that is located at Upper Mystic Lake, along with the lakes themselves, are perfect for swimming and sunbathing; there are lifeguards on site so it is completely safe to go into the water.
  • Those who do not wish to take a dip can either sit and take in the tranquil environment or can go walking, hiking or exploring into the woods or on the trails that surround the beach.
  • The waters are great for fishing, rowing, sailing or boating but it is important to keep in mind that motorized boats are allowed in Lower Mystic Lake but not in the other, along with power boats with no wake. Row and sailboats, however, are allowed on both the lakes.
  • Not only is the Tufts University Boathouse the right spot to set sail from, the docks there are ideal for laying under the sun, taking in the view (especially during sunset) and for picnics; there are picnic tables there and grilling is allowed, but only gas or propane.

How to Get to Mystic Lakes

When going to Mystic Lakes, one of the easiest ways is to take the MTBA Green line that goes to Lechmere. From there, bus number 80, that goes till Arlington Station, takes passengers to the Mystic Valley Parkway at High Street from where it is approximately 15 minutes to the Upper Mystic Lake docks and 20 minutes to Shannon Beach. Another option is to hop on the Lowell commuter rail at North Station and to get off at Wedgemere Station that is about 10 minutes away from the lakes on foot. Moreover, it is possible to get here in a car since there are 2 onsite parking lots (free) and the drive from Boston is just about 15 minutes

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