North Branch Pawtuxet River

Scituate, Rhode Island

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The North Branch, with its exceptionally clear water, offers an exceptional paddling resource amid many interesting plant species. Extensive stands of mountain laurel, especially in the upper reaches, put on a glorious show, typically in mid-June. The North Branch Pawtuxet River is unlike any river we’ve paddled in Rhode Island in one major respect: it has extremely pure water. While most Rhode Island rivers suffer from heavy industrial pollution that began as far back as the 1700s, that’s not the case here. The North Branch flows out of the Scituate Reservoir, the rigorously protected water supply for 60 percent of the state’s population. Upper sections flow with exceptionally clear water that lacks any chemical smell. Some development occurs along the shore, particularly in the river’s lower portions, but somehow it doesn’t seem too intrusive.
Quiet Water Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island: AMC's Canoe and Kayak Guide, 3rd Edition

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Quiet Water Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island: AMC's Canoe and Kayak Guide, 3rd Edition

by Alex Wilson & John Hayes (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

The North Branch, with its exceptionally clear water, offers an exceptional paddling resource amid many interesting plant species. Extensive stands of mountain laurel, especially in the upper reaches, put on a glorious show, typically in mid-June. The North Branch Pawtuxet River is unlike any river we’ve paddled in Rhode Island in one major respect: it has extremely pure water.

While most Rhode Island rivers suffer from heavy industrial pollution that began as far back as the 1700s, that’s not the case here. The North Branch flows out of the Scituate Reservoir, the rigorously protected water supply for 60 percent of the state’s population. Upper sections flow with exceptionally clear water that lacks any chemical smell. Some development occurs along the shore, particularly in the river’s lower portions, but somehow it doesn’t seem too intrusive.

©  Alex Wilson & John Hayes/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Scituate
Distance: 5
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 3 hours
Class: Class I
Season: Spring through Fall
Local Maps: Connecticut/Rhode Island Atlas & Gazetteer, Map 67: G19, H20; USGS Crompton, Kent
Driving Directions: Directions to North Branch Pawtuxet River

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Apr 2018