Explore the Park: Williams Island

Things to do Here

Bird Watching
Paddle Sports
Hiking & Walking

Williams Island is a 95-acre blend of nature, history and serenity. The island has been home to black bears and, at one time, an albino deer.

Surrounding the island are two distinctly different channels created by dams built to help divert water into the city’s purification plant. On the south side, is the highly visible Z-dam, rebuilt in 1932 to replacing a dam of loose rocks. Z-dam is known as a low-head dam, with dangerous hydraulics, and should be respected by even the most experienced paddlers. It was altered with a 30-foot notch in 1993 to allow migratory fish species such as shad, river herring and striped bass to swim upstream. The north channel is much more peaceful and calm, with the serenity broken up only by the occasional train. The dam was constructed in 1905 and begins at the northeast shore of the island and runs across the river to a portion of the north bank known as “Dead Man’s Hill.” The island is frequently used to portage around the dams.

Fast Facts


Located across from the Riverside Meadow Greenspace.


Water access only.


Open from sunrise to sunset every day.

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