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Valley Falls Heritage Park

41° 53.998' N    71° 23.288' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Map Server   Acme Maps

Google Maps is the mapping system used on the new ExploreRI mapper and shows the access site located on a terrain view, a street map or an aerial photograph. Clicking on this link will take you to the full Google Maps website, which is not part of ExploreRI.
Map Server shows a topographic map of the area. The Map Server website is not part of
Acme Maps shows the access site located on a topographic map. The Acme Maps website is not part of

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 provides access to the Blackstone River below the Valley Falls Dam for hand carried boats. However, the access is rather awkward because you have to carry down some steps and walkways to reach the river. From the parking lot on Mill St., east of Broad St. carry down the winding ramps until you get to the river edge. When you first reach the river's edge you will be looking down at it over railing from atop a high stone wall. However, if you turn left and go under the railroad bridge you will reach an area where the stone wall gives way to a low riverbank suitable for launching canoes and kayaks.

There is a small parking lot for the heritage park but the better place to park is on the other side of the river at Central Falls Landing. To get to this parking lot, go back to Broad Street and cross the river and then turn right onto Madeira Avenue and then right into the large gravel parking lot for Central Falls Landing.

The Blackstone River below this site becomes increasingly industrial but there are also views of various historic mill buildings and related structures. There is some initial quickwater but the river soon slows down. A mile downstream from here there is another dam that must be portaged on the left. Another 3/4 mile brings you to Slater Mill in downtown Pawtucket where you must take out before the final dams. The best access is a break in the wall on river right just before Slater Mill. This is the end of the Blackstone River. Below the dams it becomes the tidal Seekonk River, but it is 1/2 mile before there is access to the river.

This site provides access to the following water bodies in the Blackstone River watershed: Blackstone River.


Town: Cumberland

Driving Landmarks: The small parking lot for the park is on Mill St., just east of Broad Street.

Access & Waters:

Water 'Features' At Site: dam, flatwater/slow moving river

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: Rocks, roots and gravel

Float/Dock: no

Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 700 feet

Portage Length: 1900 feet


Parking: yes: 5 spaces

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? yes

Sources for More Information:

Website: A detailed map and guide put out by the Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor with information about the river and bike path between Ashton and Central Falls

Website: Blackstone Heritage Corridor National Park - Get On the River Page, with links to various maps and related information

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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 February 26, 2008

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