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Pawcatuck River in Rhode Island

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

Launched at put in point on Switch Road just before 95 overpass. There are more upstream launches but we chose this one due to ease of access. We pulled out at Alton Pond just before the dam. There is a parking lot and boat ramp at the pull out point. We shuttled, using two vehicles, and the vehicles were only about 10 minutes apart from one another.

The trip took 6 hours, with approx a 45 minute break for lunch. The first 3 hours, from the launch point to the Woodville Rd dam, the river is fairly narrow and quick moving. Numerous obstacles, mostly fallen trees, make it a slow going but ultimately enjoyable trip. some skill is required here to keep your boat from getting caught up in the obstacles or high centering on barely submerged tree trunks. The overhanging trees shade most of the river for this portion of the trip also adding to the overall enjoyment.

The Woodville Rd dam is an easy portage. You will pull out on the right side of dam and essentially walk across the street to re-launch. This is about the halfway point of the trip so we took the opportunity to eat lunch before continuing on.

After the dam, the river opens up a bit and slows down considerably. The last two hours of the trip required constant paddling through marshland and wide riverways to get to Alton pond. There are two different rope swings along the river with sandy access points to pull out. We stopped at both and enjoyed a plunge from the rope swing. Another hour downstream we pulled out after a very enjoyable day on the river.


Tree lined shores with a few houses along the shore.




Launch at the Switch Road launch right before the 95 overpass.

Pull out at Alton Pond Launch right before Alton Bradford Rd.


Google Maps.

Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location