Rhodes on the Pawtuxet
This is a site for launching hand-carried boats such as canoes or kayaks.
Description & Overview:
NOTE: The dam at the mouth of the Pawtuxet has recently been removed. This has significantly changed the river conditions on the lower Pawtuxet River. The normal river level at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet has dropped 2 to 3 feet so access to the river is a little more challenging but this should improve once the riverbank landscaping has been completed. Read on for more details about the paddling conditions.
The put in at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet provides easy access to the lower Pawtuxet River, which is a broad slow-moving river in this area. However, the removal of the dam has made it a bit harder to paddle very far upstream against the current. You should have no problem going 1/2 mile or so upriver but when you get to the Warwick Avenue bridge you will likely find more current pushing against you and the river may also be very shallow. If you can get past this area then you should be able to go further up river. Much of the shoreline of the river in this area is wooded, giving it a surprisingly remote feeling for its very suburban setting.
You can also paddle down to Rhodes on the Pawtuxet from the new Howard Conservation Area Canoe Launch off Knight Street in Warwick. For more details see the information on the Howard Conservation Area canoe launch.
Heading down river from Rhodes on the Pawtuxet it is about 1/3 mile to the mouth of the river. Until you get to the mouth of the river the current should be very slow moving. At the mouth of the river, where the dam used to be, there are rapids except when the tide is high, so, it is important to pay careful attention to the tide.
The falls change with the tide from flat and pond-like with ripples (high tide) to a drop of up to three feet and fast white water (low tide). The natural bedrock of the falls continues under the Broad Street Bridge a ways, so be alert until you have passed through. There is plenty of clearance under the bridge at all tides.
For the smoothest ride from the river to the cove, it is best to pass through the falls on the right side of the river as close to high tide as possible. If you plan to paddle back up the river make sure to pay attention to the tide because once the tide starts to go out the current will get faster and faster at the mouth of the river. You should have no problem paddling into the river right at high tide, but at other times the current may be strong enough that you will need to portage over the dry ledge near the flood wall next to Hunter's Garage. If you can't get back up into the river, an alternative take out in the cove is the ramp at the Aspray Boat House in Pawtuxet Village Park. On foot it is only about 0.6 miles from there back to Rhodes on the Pawtuxet.
At anything other than near high tide paddlers who are not experienced at paddling in whitewater or who do not have a boat suitable for whitewater should plan to portage around the falls on the ledge dry ledge near the flood wall next to Hunter's Garage.
To get the times of high and low tide at Pawtuxet Cove see this website.
The 1/2 mile of shoreline south of Pawtuxet Cove is protected by a breakwater, so large waves are unlikely, making this a good area for less experienced paddlers as long as you keep an eye out for boat traffic as the area is very popular place to moor power and sailboats. Heading beyond the breakwater puts you in the Providence River, where caution should be used both because this is a large body of water that can easily become rough and because the river is traveled by large commercial vessels going to and from the Port of Providence.
Please note that Rhodes on the Pawtuxet is a private facility that very kindly allows the public to access the river from their property. Please respect the fact that this is private property and don't abuse the site so that we can all continue to paddle from here.
This site provides access to the following water bodies in the Pawtuxet River watershed: Pawtuxet River.
Nearest Town Center: Pawtuxet Village
Driving Landmarks: From I-95 take exit 16 to Route 10 east. At the end of Route 10, turn left onto Route 12 east (Park Avenue). Follow Park Avenue across Route 1 and on to Broad Street. Turn right on Broad Street, go 1/2 mile, and then turn right on Rhodes Place at the sign for Rhodes on the Pawtuxet. Go to the end of the road. The access to the river is at the lower corner of the lower parking lot.
Access & Waters:
Water 'Features' At Site: flatwater/slow moving river
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: The shoreline here is a low, stabilized, grassy bank that provides easy, open access to the river.
Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 30 feet
Hours of Operation: 24/7, year round
Parking: parking lot, 100 spaces
ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? no
Public Restrooms: No
Sources for More Information:
Other Guidebooks: Paddle 22 in "Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island" and Site 46 in "Kayaking Narragansett Bay"
Ecological, Cultural & Recreational Attractions:
There is a 1 1/2 mile walking trail along the river that starts near the put-in.
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 October 29, 2011