Narrow River Names & Numbers

The Narrow River makes a great day trip for kayakers of all skill levels. Photo by Tom Richardson

Narrow River Headwaters/Gilbert Stuart Museum: Across the street from the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace Museum on Carr Pond you’ll find a dirt parking lot and a small path leading to the river. Depending on the water level, you may have to carry your kayak or canoe several hundred feet to find a spot to launch.

Indian Trail: Small put-in with limited street parking on the east bank of Lower Pond.

Woodsia Drive: Beach put-in for kayaks and canoes on east bank of Lower Pond.

Pettaquamscutt Avenue Right-of-Way: Small ramp with limited street parking just below Lacey Bridge.

Narrow River Fishing Access: Concrete-slab launch ramp with free parking for 20 vehicles. Off Middlebridge Road.

Middle Bridge: Parking available next to ramp at Narrow River Kayak.

Sprague Bridge (Rt. 1A): Good launch spot for kayaks and canoes near Pettaquamscutt Cove and the river mouth. Parking available on both side of the bridge.

Rentals & Guided Trips

  • Narrow River Kayaks (401-789-0334): Kayak rentals and guided trips. Located at Middle Bridge on the Narrow River. You can also launch your own kayak or canoe at the store for a small fee. NRK is a great source of information on kayaking the river and can offer advice on launch sites.
  • The Kayak Centre (401-295-4400): Kayak rentals and guided trips.
  • Queens River Kayaks (401-284-3945): Kayak rentals and guided trips.

Things to See & Do

  • Gilbert Stuart Birthplace Museum (401-294-3001): Gilbert Stuart was a popular early-American portraitist whose painting of George Washington adorns the dollar bill. Stuart was born in the former snuff mill at the headwaters of the Narrow River. Today, the restored mill that Stuart’s father ran, including the giant water wheel that once turned the grinding machinery, is a national historic monument and museum.
  • John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge: Bordering Pettaquamscutt Road, the refuge provides habitat for numerous bird species.

General Information

Narrow River Preservation Association (401-783-6277): The NRPA was formed in 1970 to thwart efforts by the Boy Scouts to sell off a large parcel of donated land to developers, who wanted to create a subdivision on the east bank of Lower Pond. The NRPA negotiated with the Scouts and eventually reached an agreement under which only 7 homes were built, helping to protect both the beauty and ecology of the entire river.

Like most waterways along the East Coast, the Narrow River suffers from excess nitrogen and phosphorous in groundwater and feeder-stream runoff. The nutrients enter the water largely via residential and agricultural fertilizers and septic systems.

The NRPA seeks to educate river abutters and homeowners throughout the watershed on what they can do to improve the water quality, whether through limiting the use of fertilizers, establishing buffer zones of vegetation to absorb excess nitrogen or discouraging the feeding of waterfowl, such as swans, ducks and Canada geese, whose plentiful droppings contribute to high levels of fecal coliform bacteria that have resulted in the continual closing of downstream shellfish beds.

To help pay for its efforts and to raise awareness of the river’s importance to the community, the NRPA holds fundraising events, such as its annual road race and the Turnaround Swim.

Explore RI’s Greenways and Blueways: Great website packed with information for boaters on where to launch and what to expect on many Rhode Island waterways. Also provides links to useful satellite and topo maps.