Dighton Rock State Park
This is a site for launching hand-carried boats such as canoes or kayaks.
Description & Overview:
Dighton Rock State Park provides good access to the Taunton River for hand-carried boats at about the point where the river starts to become broader and thus more prone to wind and waves, as well as heavier boat traffic. Upriver from the park the river narrows down to about 300 feet wide and winds between salt marshes up to Berkley Bridge and on to Taunton. As you get closer to Taunton forests start to replace salt marshes along the riverbanks and the river starts to feel more river-like. From Dighton Rock it is 1.8 miles upriver to Berkley Bridge Village Heritage Park and 5.9 miles to Weir Village Riverfront Park in Taunton. Both can be used as to put-in or take-out.
Heading downriver from Dighton Rock the river is broader and motorboats are common so caution is advised, especially on a windy day when the open waters of the river can get choppy, especially if the wind is blowing against the tidal current.
When planning a paddling outing on this part of the Taunton River the tides should be considered. When the tide is coming in the water flows "upriver" towards Taunton and when the tide is going out it flows "downriver" towards Fall River. While the tidal currents are unlikely to be strong enough to be impossible to paddle against, they can certainly slow you down a lot and make your paddle much harder. So, if you want to paddle upriver try to plan your trip so you can go upriver with the incoming tide, and vice versa.
The best access to the river at Dighton Rock State Park is just downriver from the museum, which is a small white building sitting on a stone pier that juts out into the river. You can drive down close to the museum to unload your boats and gear but you should then move your car back up to the parking lot.
Note that the park has somewhat limited hours and the gate at the entrance to the park is locked when the park is closed so check the current hours before planning a visit.
Click here for a printable map and guide (in Adobe Acrobat format) to paddling the Taunton River between Weir Village Park and Dighton Rock State Park.
This site provides access to the following water bodies in the Taunton River watershed: Taunton River.
Nearest Town Center: Dighton Center
Driving Landmarks: From MA Route 24 north or south take exit 10 (N. Main Street). At the end of the ramp turn right. In about 0.7 miles turn left on Friend Street. In 0.7 miles, at the T-junction with Bay View Avenue turn left. The entrance to the park is 1/4 mile ahead on the right. It comes up quickly just after you come around a bend in the road. Once in the park, follow the road to the end and the parking lot. There is a dirt road on the right here that leads to the shore where you can unload your boats and gear before moving your car back up to the parking lot.
Access & Waters:
Water 'Features' At Site: 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: Salt marsh and sand, with some mud at low tide
Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 60 feet
Hours of Operation: 10am to 4pm (confirm current hours before planning a visit)
Parking: parking lot, 40 spaces, no overnight parking
ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? yes
Public Restrooms: Yes
Sources for More Information:
AMC River Guide: 4th Edition, page 153
Website: Dighton Rock State Park
Ecological, Cultural & Recreational Attractions:
Dighton Rock State Park is an 85-acre state park on the east side of the Taunton River. The rock from which it takes its name is a boulder covered with petroglyphs, most likely of Native American origin. The rock is now housed in a small museum that is open by appointment only, but the park also has picnic tables, grills, and nice views of the river as well as good shore access for fishing.
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 August 20, 2010