Narrow River at 1A (Sprague Bridge)
This is a site for launching hand-carried boats such as canoes or kayaks.
Description & Overview:
At the Route 1A Bridge over Narrow River Inlet there are two possibilities for getting on the water. On the north side of the bridge, on the west side of the road, there is a gravel parking area for the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge. From this parking area, a gently sloping gravel path runs about 300 feet down to the shore.
On the south side of the bridge, on the east side of the road, there is another larger parking lot. The shoreline right below this lot is not great for launching boats because it is protected with riprap, but if you look in the trees at the back of the parking area you will find a somewhat steep path leading 75 feet or so down to a nice gravel beach very suitable for launching hand carried boats.
The Narrow River has several bridges along its length which could pose an obstacle to boats with high superstructures, towers, or masts, but it is very popular with paddlers as well as smaller motorboats and jetskis. In fact paddlers may be happier in the upper reaches (and shallow areas) where motorboats are less common. In the lower section, where these access sites are located, kayaks and other small boats should hug the shore or stick to the very shallow areas. The wetlands along the shoreline of the cove to the west of the bridge offer lots of possibilities for small boat explorations, as well as bird watching.
This is a tidal inlet so you need to pay attention to the tide and tidal currents. It can be very hard work (or even impossible) to paddle against the tide.
Heading downriver from the Route 1A bridge towards the beach does lead to some interesting areas before you get to the ocean but heavy surf is common at the mouth of the river, where the river flows into the ocean. Very experienced kayakers sometimes play in this surf, but all less experienced paddlers should avoid this area. There is a small side channel on the northeast side of the river before it gets to the ocean that is interesting in a kayak and avoided by power boats.
In the many areas where low tide uncovers broad mud flats be careful not to ground out on a falling tide. Even in a canoe or kayak you can find yourself stuck in mud too sticky to paddle off of and too soft to stand on.
The wide parts of the Narrow River and open enough for wind and waves to be a potentially serious issue for paddlers. Watch the forecast and watch the weather once you are on the water.
It should be noted that while most locals know this river as the Narrow River, the official name for it is the Pettaquamscutt River, and that is how it is shown on most maps and in many guide books.
Parts of this description were adapted from Ed Mullen's book "Kayaking Narragansett Bay."
This site provides access to the following water bodies: Pettaquamscutt (Narrow) River.
Alternate Site Name: Pettaquamscutt River
Town: South Kingstown
Nearest Town Center: Narragansett
Driving Landmarks: This site is right on Route 1A, 1 mile north of Narragansett Beach. If driving north on Route 1A look for a large dirt parking lot on the right just before the bridge or cross the bridge and look for a dirt road on the left just after the bridge. There is a sign for the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at this road. See the description above for more details on getting to the water from each parking lot.
Access & Waters:
Water 'Features' At Site: flatwater/slow moving river, estuary
Note: Because one boat launch can access, say, both a lake and a river or both the upstream and downstream portions of a river, not all paddling trips at a given site will necessarily encounter all of the features listed.
Type of Access: Boat launch for hand carried boats
ADA Accessible Boat Launch? no
Shoreline: Sand and gravel
Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 75 feet
Parking: parking lot, 20 spaces
ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? no
Public Restrooms: No
Sources for More Information:
AMC River Guide: 4th Edition, pages 143-144
Other Guidebooks: Site 44 in Ed Mullen's book "Kayaking Narragansett Bay"
Website: Mike Krabach's kayak access website
The data on this website come from many sources, including volunteers and organizations across the state of Rhode Island and nearby parts of Massachusetts. We have done our best to make sure the data are accurate and up to date, but any information critical to the success of your trip should be confirmed before you start. The maps and information on this website should not be substituted for nautical charts, topographic maps, or other more detailed maps and guides. We welcome corrections and additions. To send a correction or provide other feedback, please use our feedback form (see link above).
This site report was last updated on September 12, 2012