Clear River at Harrisville
This is a site for launching hand-carried boats such as canoes or kayaks.
Description & Overview:
In the spring, when the river is high, you can launch canoes and kayaks into the Clear River here and take on Rhode Island's only real whitewater paddling run. From this put-in there are 5.8 miles of mixed Class I-II whitewater, flatwater and quickwater paddling on the Clear River and then the Branch River before you reach the take out on Slatersville Reservoir. Since this is a paddling run for experienced paddlers only, no more details will be provided here. The AMC River Guide or "Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island" is highly recommended for paddling the Clear River. It has details about the various rapids and portages along the route and specific hazards that must be avoided. Don't paddle the Clear River without this information!
See the driving directions below for details on how to find this put-in. It is somewhat hidden, as it is tucked in beyond the southeast end of the clock tower building. The driving directions also explain where to park.
Note: The old put-in at the town park by the dam and the south end of Harrisville Pond is now fenced off. You could put into the pond there but the boat ramp at the north end of Harrisville Pond (see seperate listing) provides much better access to the pond.
This site provides access to the following water bodies in the Blackstone River watershed: Clear River.
Alternate Site Name: Clear River
Nearest Town Center: Harrisville, RI
Driving Landmarks: This put-in is near the Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library, which is by the junction of Route 98 (Main Street) and Route 107 (East Avenue), in the middle of Harrisville. The road entrance into the library is off Route 98, about 400 feet south of the junction with Route 107. The road that leads into the library parking lot is called Tinkham Road, and there is a large sign at this turn for the library. Once you turn onto Tinkham Road the recommended parking for paddlers starts almost immediately, along both sides of Tinkham Road, and in the first ("upper") parking lots: the lots further from the library. Please do not park in the parking area immediately in front of the library as this is reserved for library patrons. Also, do not park in the parking lot for the clock tower building ("Stillwater Mills") as this is a residential building and parking is by permit only. But, you may want to pull into that parking area to unload your boats and gear. The actual put-in is at the far end of the clock tower building. To get there on foot stay on the side of the clock tower building that is away from the river. After you pass the base of the clock tower it will look like there is a wing of the building blocking your way, but where the low wing joins the main building there is a covered outdoor passageway that takes you through to a second parking area. At the far end of this parking area is a gravel path leading down to the river and the put-in. If you have much gear to unload you may want to drive around into this second parking lot. The entrance to it is off Route 98 and while there is no sign at the entrance it is not that hard to find. But once you have unloaded your boats and gear please move your vehicles up to the parking areas noted above! Please respect the residents of this building and park in the appropriate lot and keep the launch area clean so we can continue to have access to this put-in.
Access & Waters:
Water 'Features' At Site: dam, whitewater, The Clear River below the Harrisville Dam is Rhode Island's only real whitewater paddling run. See the description for more details.
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: gravel path leading into river
Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 150 feet
Parking: parking lot, 75 spaces, no overnight parking
ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? yes
Sources for More Information:
AMC River Guide: 4th Edition, page 147-148
Other Guidebooks: Paddle 30 in "Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island"
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 March 17, 2013