Fields and forest near Fitchburg, MA - Photo by Al Futterman

Nashua River Watershed Statistics

Total Drainage Area: 538 square miles
Massachusetts Drainage Area: 454 square miles
New Hampshire Drainage Area: 74 square miles
Total Length of Nashua River: 56 miles
Massachusetts Total Length of Nashua River: 46 miles
New Hampshire Total Length of Nashua River: 10 miles
Major Tributaries: Nissitissit, North Nashua, Quinapoxet, South Nashua, Squannacook, and Stillwater Rivers
Total Forest Area: 62.6%
Total Residential Area: 13.3%
Total Agricultural Area: 11.9%
Approximate Surface Area of Lakes, Ponds and Reservoirs: 6,818 acres


The main stem of the Nashua River flows north from Lancaster, MA (the confluence of the North Nashua River and the South Nashua River) to Nashua, NH where it joins with the Merrimack River to flow to the Atlantic Ocean.

An award-winning children’s story was written about the clean-up of the Nashua River, A River Ran Wild, by Lynne Cherry.

The name Nashua comes from the native word for the river “Nash-a-way” meaning “river with the pebbled bottom.”