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Riverside Park

41° 49.163' N    71° 26.961' 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 is a new canoe/kayak launch on the Woonasquatucket River, at the just completed Riverside Park, a Providence city park.

At this time this boat launch is most useful as a take-out before Olneyville Square for paddlers coming down from further up the river.

Below Olneyville Square, if you want to continue downstream there is a 1/4 mile portage around Paragon Dam. So, from Riverside Park you can portage around the dam just downstream from the canoe launch and put in below the dam, and continue down to Olneyville Square, where it is possible to take out along San Souci Drive, but this will only get you another 1/3 mile of paddling before the start of the 1/4 mile portage to Donigian Park.

You can paddle a little ways upstream from Riverside Park but very quickly you will encounter moving water that is much too strong to paddle against except late in the summer when the river is low, at which point you could continue upstream but you would have to carry your boat over the rocky area that forms an area of rapids in the spring. This would get you up to Merino Park, above which there are yet more rapids.

Coming downsteam to Riverside Mills, keep an eye out for the take-out once you start seeing the park on your left. There are no warning signs marking the dam. It is just around a sharp left bend in the river. As with all small dams, the area below the dam could be a death trap, so stay away from the area around the dam!

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


Town: Providence

Nearest Town Center: Olneyville

Driving Landmarks: Riverside Mills Park is just northwest of Olneyville Square. From the west end of Olneyville Square, follow Manton Avenue north 0.2 miles to where Aleppo St. branches off to the left. The entrance to the park is just down Aleppo street on your left. At this time there is still construction work going on at the park, so it may not be accessible at all times.

Access & Waters:

Water 'Features' At Site: dam, whitewater, 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: Above the dam the shoreline is low and gentle and there is an established canoe launch that has been stabilized with broad stone steps. Below the dam access is a bit more difficult because the shoreline is stabilized with loose rocks and the current will want to carry the boat away as soon as it gets into the water.

Float/Dock: no

Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 350 feet

Portage Length: 400 feet

Hours of Operation: Sunrise to sunset


Parking: yes: no overnight parking

Nearby Amenities:

Public Restrooms: Restrooms could likely be found at one of the many stores in the area.

Town Center: Olneyville Square is 1/4 mile away.

Sources for More Information:

AMC River Guide: 4th Edition, page 145

Website: The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council website has more information about the park, fish ladder and bike path

Ecological, Cultural & Recreational Attractions:

Riverside Park is the start of the off-road portion of the Fred Lippitt Wooonasquatucket River Greenway Bike Path. At the park there is a playground, community garden, and other amenities. There is a new fish ladder around the dam at the park, providing both passage for fish around the dam and one of the better places in the state for the public to get an up close look at a fish ladder.


Riverside Mills Park Canoe Launch

Riverside Mills Park Canoe Launch

Photography by: Bruce G. Hooke

Date of Photograph: May 26, 2007

A view of the Riverside Mills canoe launch with the river in the background.

Riverside Mills Park Canoe Launch

Riverside Mills Park Canoe Launch

Photography by: Bruce G. Hooke

Date of Photograph: May 26, 2007

The Riverside Mills canoe launch from the water. The building in the background with the red and white roofed towers is the Atlantic Mills Building and is a useful landmark.


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This site report was last updated on January 16, 2009

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