Blackstone River and Canal near Front Street
This is a site for launching hand-carried boats and it is also a portage. This typically means that to continue paddling down the river past this site you will have to portage your boat around a dam or other obstruction.
Description & Overview:
This site offers multiple choices. You can put into the canal and paddle north for up to 2.6 miles, where the canal ends at the Blackstone River State Park. You can also put in below the dam and paddle downriver on the Blackstone River. However, this put-in is 1/3 mile walk from the parking lot.
To get to the canal from the second parking lot go 150 feet up the bike path and put-in along the grassy shoreline just to the right of the green bridge over the canal. To get to the put-in below the Pratt Dam continue on the large green bridge over the river and dam. Near the end of the bridge the bikeway makes a sharp right turn. The take out above the dam is to the left here, through a small gap in the fence. To get to the put-in below the dam continue to the end of the bridge and go another 850 feet down the bikeway and look for steps on the right leading down to the river.
Below Pratt Dam the river is broad and slow and in a 1.5 miles you will come to the scenic Lonsdale Marsh. Turn right into the marsh to explore and look for wildlife, or continue for another half mile to the take out at Broad Street.
CAUTION: Do not attempt to paddle through the stone arches of Pratt Dam. Paddling through the arches is not recommended for anyone.
This site provides access to the following water bodies in the Blackstone River watershed: Blackstone River.
Alternate Site Name: Pratt Dam
Nearest Town Center: Lonsdale
Driving Landmarks: From Route 146 North or South:
- Take the exit for Breakneck Hill Road/Route 123. From 146 North, turn right onto 123. From 146 South, turn left.
- Go east on 123, straight through the intersection with Route 126. Route 126 is about 1.5 miles from Route 146.
- Turn left into the Blackstone River Bikeway parking area marked with blue RI DEM signs. This turn is about 2.2 miles from Route 146.
- Go 0.3 miles, past the first parking lot, and park in the second, smaller lot if there is space here, or at least unload your boat and gear here and then go back and park in the first lot. See the description above for details on how to get from the parking lot to the canal and river.
(These directions were adapted in part from the very useful Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor guide to the river and the bike path in this area)
Access & Waters:
Water 'Features' At Site: dam, whitewater, flatwater/slow moving river, canal
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: Grassy shoreline along canal. Gravel shoreline at Blackstone River.
Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 150 feet
Portage Length: 1200 feet
Parking: parking lot, 50 spaces
ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? yes
Sources for More Information:
Other Guidebooks: Paddle 31 in "Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island"
Ecological, Cultural & Recreational Attractions:
The Blackstone Valley Bike Path runs right past this site.
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 July 1, 2012