This substantial boat ramp provides access to the head of Pawtuxet Cove near where the Pawtuxet River empties into the cove. There is no parking right at the boat ramp, but you can often find parking on Broad Street. If there is no parking on Broad Street or if you have a trailer, turn right on Broad Street at the end of Aborn St., then right on Sheldon Street in two blocks, and then left on Commercial Street in one block, and look for the parking lot on Commercial Street.
The mouth of the Pawtuxet River is just around to the right from this boat ramp and with the recent removal of the old dam at the mouth of the river it is now possible to paddle from the cove into the river, if you time the tides correctly. Larger boats should not try to enter the Pawtuxet River. However, before we talk about the river here is some information on the cove area. 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.
If you plan to paddle up into the Pawtuxet River you need to pay close attention to the tides. 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.
At anything other than high tide you will likely have to portage around the falls on the dry ledge near the flood wall next to Hunter's Garage.
Once on the river you can paddle upriver for almost a mile to the Warwick Avenue Bridge where you will likely encounter shallow and faster moving water. If you can get past this area then you should be able to go some distance further up river. About 1/3 mile up river from the mounth is the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, where you can launch and land hand-carried boats.
If you plan to paddle upriver and then back out of the mouth of the river, pay attention to the tides. Once the tide starts to go out the current will get faster and faster at the mouth of the river.
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