WPWA is pleased to announce the completion of river route maps for the Wood and Pawcatuck Rivers. The Wood River maps were created through a partnership between the Rhode Island Blueways Alliance, the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, and the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association, and funded by a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. The Pawcatuck River maps were created by WPWA. The beautiful full color maps are in PDF format and can be downloaded for free below. They include information about put-ins and take-outs, parking, dams and portaging. You will also find information about the local history, both natural and human. To find other free downloadable maps for watersheds around southern New England visit the Rhode Island Blueways Alliance website.
Upper Wood River Paddle
The Upper Wood River paddle starts at Ten Rod Road (Rte 165) in Exeter and goes 7.5 miles south to Wyoming Pond in Hopkinton, with a portage at the Barberville Dam. For much of the paddle the river winds through the deep forest of Arcadia Management Area. Besides the class I whitewater sections, good maneuvering skills are required to navigate around the many twists, turns and obstacles in the river, so this paddle is recommended for “intermediate plus” and experienced paddlers. See the map for an alternate option that is all on flatwater.
Upper Wood River Paddle Map (Adobe Acrobat format)
Lower Wood River Paddle
The Lower Wood River paddle starts in Hope Valley, below Wyoming Pond, and goes 9 mile south to Alton Pond, just above where the Wood River flows into the Pawcatuck River. There are at least two portages around dams on this paddle, and a USGS gaging weir to maneuver over or portage around. One dam and the USGS weir can be avoided by putting in at the Switch Road Access, which reduces the paddle to 7.5 miles. For much of the route the river winds past wooded banks, often covered in mountain laurel, swamp azalea, silky dogwood, and swamp rose. The fast moving water and many obstacles in this section require good boat control, so this paddle is recommended for intermediate and experienced paddlers.
Lower Wood River Paddle Map (Adobe Acrobat format)
Pawcatuck River: Taylor’s Landing to Biscuit City Landing
This paddle begins at the DEM fishing access at Taylor’s Landing in Kingston and goes about 8 miles to DEM’s fishing access at Biscuit City Landing in Richmond. This paddle actually starts in the Chipuxet River upstream of Worden Pond and is very sinuous (undefined river channel) as it passes through the open marshland of the Great Swamp Management Area. WPWA does not conduct blowdown tree removal on this first section of the paddle. Be prepared to portage around fallen trees and beaver dams. The Chipuxet ends at the open water of Worden Pond for a 1.5 – 2 mile paddle, which can be a windy and difficult crossing. You may either take out at the DEM boat ramp area at the southern end of the pond, or cross the pond to the west shore where locating the beginning of the Pawcatuck River can be difficult. The Pawcatuck River to Biscuit City Landing section is also a very sinuous but interesting paddle. This entire river route is fraught with beaver dams which are dangerous to portage, the sinuosity and length of the paddle, along with the pond crossing put it in the Intermediate/Advanced category.
Taylor’s Landing to Biscuit City Landing Pawcatuck River Paddle Map (Adobe Acrobat format)
Pawcatuck River: Biscuit City Landing to Jay Cronan Fishing Access
This paddle begins at the DEM fishing access at Biscuit City Landing in Richmond and ends after about 6 miles at WPWA’s Jay Cronan Fishing Access in Richmond. It features lovely woods and wetlands, plus showcases three fish passage projects completed by WPWA and our partners: Kenyon Dam/rock ramp, Horseshoe Falls fish ladder, and Lower Shannock Dam removal. The rock ramp at Kenyon can be run or portaged, the Horseshoe Dam must be portaged, and the rapids resulting from the removal of Lower Shannock Dam should be portaged by all but the most expert paddlers. As there are the three portages in this trip, plus one section of class II rapids, it is an Intermediate/Advanced trip.
Biscuit City Landing to Jay Cronan Fishing Access Pawcatuck River Paddle Map (Adobe Acrobat format)
Pawcatuck River: Jay Cronan Fishing Access to Potter Hill Mill
This 16-mile paddle begins at WPWA’s Jay Cronan Fishing Access in Richmond and ends at Potter Hill Mill in Westerly. It features lovely forests and wetlands, and passes the location where the Wood River enters the Pawcatuck River. There is a broken dam at Burdickville which can either be run at high water or portaged. You can take out at DEM’s Bradford Fishing Access after about 8.6 miles or continue for another 7.5 miles to Potter Hill Mill. This is a very long paddle with one or two portages, so it is an Intermediate/Advanced trip.
Jay Cronan Fishing Access to Potter Hill Mill Pawcatuck River Paddle Map (Adobe Acrobat format)
Pawcatuck River: Potter Hill Mill to Westerly Municipal Boat Ramp
This paddle begins at Potter Hill Mill in Westerly and ends about 7 miles later at the Westerly Municipal Boat Ramp in downtown Westerly. This stretch of the Pawcatuck River is the boundary between Pawcatuck, CT to the west and Westerly, RI to the east. You will pass the site of the former White Rock Dam, which was removed in 2015 as a fish passage improvement project. A broken down dam at Stillman Ave. can be run down the millrace to the left, about 200 yards of class II whitewater, or portaged. The Pawcatuck River after this point is tidal, which can be challenging, and runs through downtown Westerly/Pawcatuck. It is an interesting trip, and the rapids and tidal portion make it an Intermediate/Advanced paddle.
Potter Hill Mill to Westerly Municipal Boat Ramp Pawcatuck River Paddle Map (Adobe Acrobat format)