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Potter Hill Dam

41° 24.832' N    71° 47.812' 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 a take-out from the Pawcatuck River above the Potter Hill Dam. Do not try to run this 10 foot high dam! People have died doing so. The take out is at the Flora Whiteley Preserve on the left about the dam. For more about paddling down river from this area see the listing for the put in off Post Office Lane.

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


Town: Hopkinton

Nearest Town Center: Potter Hill

Driving Landmarks: From Interstate 95 take Exit 1 in Rhode Island for Route 3. Go south on Route 3 for 1.8 miles and turn right onto Route 216 (High Street) in Ashaway. Go 0.2 miles and turn left onto Laurel Street/River Road. Go 1 mile to the bridge over the river above Potter Hill Dam and turn left to go over the bridge. Just beyond the bridge there is a single parking space on the side of the little garage, away from the bridge. If this parking space is in use you can also park at the end of Post Office Lane, a small dirt road, across Potter Hill Road, that leads north about 1/10 mile to a public parking area.

Access & Waters:

Water 'Features' At Site: 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: short, steep embankment next to River Road above bridge, and a similar embankment below the fish ladder, below the dam

Float/Dock: no

Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 50 feet

Portage Length: 50 feet


Parking: on street

Nearby Amenities:

Public Restrooms: No

Sources for More Information:

AMC River Guide: 4th Edition, page 137

AMC Quiet Water Canoe Guide: 2nd Edition, page 214

Other Guidebooks: Paddles 28 and 29 in "Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island"

Website: How to order the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association's River Guide

Website: USGS River Gauge on the Pawcatuck River at Westerly

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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 June 1, 2020

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