Blackstone River Greenway

Massachusetts, Rhode Island

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Blackstone River Greenway Facts

States: Massachusetts, Rhode Island
Counties: Providence, Worcester
Length: 26.6 miles
Trail end points: McKeon Road, just east of Blackstone River Road (South Worcester, MA) and Tockwotton Park (Providence, RI)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk, Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017102
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Blackstone River Greenway Description

Throughout history, the Blackstone River has been an important waterway, from its use by American Indians who fished its once-abundant salmon to its role as a major artery for the transportation of raw materials and manufactured goods along its canal and riverways. Its widespread use during the Industrial Revolution earned it a reputation as “the hardest-working river” in America, though that legacy came at a cost, as the river would later be regarded as one of the most polluted in the country. The cleanup of the river is ongoing—and communities along its banks are embracing tourism and recreation as new industries, with the Blackstone River Greenway (also known as the Blackstone River Bikeway) as a major draw. The greenway is envisioned as a 50-mile network of trails and pathways along the riverbanks from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Providence, Rhode Island.

In Massachusetts completed off-road sections include a 3.5-mile segment that begins in South Worcester and ends in Millbury, and a tranquil 3.6-mile canalway in Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. Currently, the longest off-road segment connects Woonsocket and Pawtucket in Rhode Island.  

Just north of the Massachusetts–Rhode Island state line, the trail will one day connect to the Southern New England Trunkline Trail. On the southern end of the trail, you can continue on bike lanes and shared roadways into Providence, where you can connect to the East Bay Bike Path in India Point Park.

Visit the Blackstone Heritage Corridor website for greenway updates and maps with suggested on-road routes that connect the off-road trails.

South Worcester to Millbury (Massachusetts)

This 3.5-mile section begins at the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center, where McKeon Road crosses Middle River.  

The paved pathway heads south into Millbury, passing a railroad and winding under busy highways as it offers serene river views under a pleasant tree-lined canopy. A parking lot at Millbury Street has maps and information placards, a bike repair station, and bike racks. As you continue south, you’ll see several forks that connect to nearby roadways—stay to the right to continue along the main trail. 

The most picturesque portion is the trail’s last 2 miles on its south end. Here, a small bridge carries you to the other side of the Blackstone River. Shortly after, the railroad makes an appearance again as you cross an intersecting branch of the river, revealing an interesting side-by-side view of a rail-with-trail. The trail continues to follow the railroad as you move toward the center of Millbury. One last underpass and a bend in the trail put you along Main Street and back across the river. The trail follows Main Street and ends at a small parking lot just off the road.  

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park (Massachusetts)

The 1,000-acre Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park offers a series of connecting, multiuse trails totaling 3.6 miles that wind through a lushly wooded corridor, mostly along the historical canal towpath. The park allows equestrians, in addition to walkers and cyclists, to enjoy the scenic setting.

The natural-surface trail begins at the Plummer’s Landing trailhead on Church Street in Northbridge. From there, you’ll follow the Plummer’s Trail to the Canal Towpath, then take the Goat Hill Trail at Goat Hill Lock and continue south. Along the way, you’ll find picnic tables, kayak and canoe access points, and opportunities for fishing and viewing wildlife.

Be sure to visit the River Bend Farm Visitor Center for exhibits on the history of the canal and more information about the Blackstone River corridor. The trail ends 0.75 mile later at the restored 19th-century Stanley Woolen Mill on Cross Street in Uxbridge.  

Woonsocket to Providence (Rhode Island)

The Blackstone River Greenway in Rhode Island spans 19.5 miles, including some on-road riding. The paved pathway begins at the Rivers Edge Parking Area on the western bank of the Blackstone River in Woonsocket, a city that borders the Massachusetts–Rhode Island state line. From the trailhead, you’ll travel south through the heart of the river’s industrial past.  

The trail is fairly wide with excellent wayfinding signage. After briefly following along a park access road, the trail crosses the road and continues through the Rivers Edge Recreation Complex, where you’ll have access to putting greens, a playground, restroom facilities, and multiple sports fields. Traveling out of the park, the trail parallels an active rail line as you make your way south, leaving Woonsocket behind and entering the community of Manville. There are multiple places to stop along the way to take in the beauty of the river and read interpretive signage about the trail’s history.

Eventually, the rail-with-trail crosses the Blackstone River, allowing for an unusual view of this side-by-side configuration of trail and rail over the water. Now on the other side of the river, the trail snakes down and under I-295, which surrounds Providence. The path crosses over the Blackstone River at the impressive Ashton Mill. Once producing cotton fabrics, this vast industrial complex has been converted into riverside apartments and lofts. The Ashton Mill and its surrounding homes were one of four mill villages that lined the river in this area—built and owned by the Lonsdale Company in the 19th century. Here, you’ll also pass the Captain Wilbur Kelly House Museum. Housed in the historical residence of a canal boat captain, the museum displays the history of transportation along the Blackstone River and canal, from prehistory through the Industrial Revolution.  

You can roll or stroll along portions of the crushed-stone canalway that intersect the paved rail-trail. A branch of the trail also heads north to the large Blackstone Valley Visitor Center, off I-295. In addition to drinking water and restrooms, the center has a gift shop, a gallery, and exhibits about the Blackstone Valley river corridor. Don’t miss the vast terrazzo floor map of the valley, complete with the Blackstone River Greenway.  

Head south of the Kelly House Museum on the main trail and you’ll pass under the Martin Street bridge, with its striking timber bowstring trusses. After 1.5 miles, you’ll arrive in Lonsdale, one of the mill villages along the banks of the Blackstone River. To the east, you’ll find a short pathway to parking near Lonsdale Mill. Cross over the churning Pratt Dam on an impressive bridge that uses the original stone piers from the trail’s railway past. About a mile away, you’ll come to another parking area—this one is marked with a restored drive-in theater sign, featuring the Blackstone River Bikeway and habitat restoration on its marquis. The trail meanders through secluded marshland over a boardwalk bridge, where it comes to an end at Jones Street.  

Signs continue for a section of on-street bikeway to reach the Valley Falls Heritage Park in Pawtucket. You can continue on-road to just under the I-95 overpass on Taft Street, where spacious bike lanes and sharrows (symbols indicating a shared bike-vehicle lane) lead the way. Take a right onto Bowles Street, then a left onto Pleasant Street. You’ll veer right onto Alfred Stone Road and cross Blackstone Boulevard onto a tree-lined pathway for about 1.6 miles. Turn left onto Irving Avenue, then right onto River Road for a pleasant ride along the banks of the Seekonk River to the end of your journey. In India Point Park, you can pick up the East Bay Bike Path, which heads southeast for just over 14 miles to Bristol. 

Parking and Trail Access

Northernmost access in Worcester: Parking will be available at the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center off McKeon Road in Worcester. At press time, the northernmost parking lot for the trail can be found just south of the intersection of Millbury and Cliff Sts. in Worcester. From I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike), take Exit 10A toward US 20/MA 146. At the end of the exit ramp, turn right to merge onto MA 122A/MA 146. In 0.6 mile exit and turn right onto Millbury St. Drive south 0.4 mile to Cliff St. The trail parking lot will appear on your right.

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park: To reach the River Bend Farm Visitor Center from I-90, take Exit 10A toward Worcester/Providence. At the end of the exit ramp, turn right, then turn right again onto MA 146 S toward Millbury/Providence. Merge onto MA 146 S, and continue 12.1 mile. Take Exit 3 for MA 16 toward Uxbridge/Douglas, then turn left onto MA 16/Douglas St. After 2.3 miles, turn right onto MA 16/MA 122. Take the next left onto MA 16/ Mendon St. In 0.3 mile turn left onto Oak St., and the entrance to the state park will be on your right in 1.1 miles.

Woonsocket: To reach the Rivers Edge Parking Area on Davison Ave. in Woonsocket from I-295, take Exit 9B for RI 146 N toward Woonsocket, then in 0.3 mile take the exit for RI 99 N. In 2.8 miles, turn left onto RI 122/Mendon Road toward Woonsocket. In 1.5 miles, turn left onto Hamlet Ave. Just after crossing the river, turn left onto Davison Ave. The parking lot will be on your left, just past the Veterans Memorial. The trail begins at the south end of the parking lot.

Lonsdale: To reach the parking area and trail access point near the Pratt Dam in Lonsdale from I-295, take Exit 10 for RI 122 toward Cumberland. Turn left onto RI 122/Mendon Road. In 3.25 miles, turn right onto RI 123/Front St. After a slight bend in the road, in 0.2 mile, turn right into the entrance of Blackstone River State Park.

Blackstone River Greenway Reviews

Serene and peaceful

Nice ride. It can longer than what is listed

Dateline: Tuesday, June 26, 2018.
Beautiful sunny day, about 85 F.

I started from the Traillink suggested parking lot in the East Providence. The first 3 to 4 miles were in suburban street bike lanes until I got to Lonsdale. Then the trail became wonderful and completely off-road. So choose your parking area carefully. This trail is definitely worth a long drive (3.5 hours for me) and a repeat visit. As much as I love the ocean views of the East Bay Bike Path, I liked this trail better. Nice job Rhode Island.

Caution. After visiting many bike trails thanks to TrailLink, my only complaint is that some of the parking areas need to be reviewed more carefully. Always take the address/directions/GPS to more than one parking lot and visit the TLink site just before departing for any updates. I drove 2.5 hours to Windsor Locks, CT to find out the entire trail was closed temporarly, and my only parking lot address closed for the entire year. But I will go back, because the trails themselves have not let me down.

Accordion

June 2018. Trail Link has 2 trails detailed for the Blackstone river when there are at least 3 or more. The first one is from 287 Oak Street Uxbridge which is separately detailed on this site - it's a dirt track and you need at least a hybrid or off road bike to ride it. This is not connected with the one below, and to do so is a 2-3 mile road ride through central Uxbridge, heading south on route 122 then south on rte 146A.

With this review I cover the two sections starting at south Uxbridge, Massachusetts and riding to Providence RI. The first section in Massachusetts is not detailed on the Trail Link site.

The Massachusetts part of this trail starts near rte 146A on the far southern outskirts of Uxbridge, MA where it meets rte 146. The trail heads south towards Woonsocket, RI between here and St Paul Street in Blackstone village is very new, paved and in great condition, a pretty ride and downhill as you head south. It stops abruptly near St Paul Street, and if you've gone past the parking lot, you've already gone too far. It's about 4 miles long.

At this point you need to take Canal Street and River Street into Woonsocket, RI through the industrial areas where most of the route is marked, until the markings disappear near Front Street, Woonsocket where you need to follow Hamlet Avenue, bear right on Manville Road and left on Willow Street to the river edge parking lot.

This is where the Rhode Island part of the Blackstone Bikeway truly begins. From here its about 16 miles to the park at India Street, Providence, RI. The first 8 miles as you head south to Providence are alongside the river, with the track in mostly good condition and some great views as you trace the river towards the sea.

At about mile 8 the bikeway turns away from the river and through the backstreets of Central Falls, then Pawtucket all on the regular road. While the signposting is generally good, the state of the roads isn't and it's not a nice ride. This continues for a few miles until you get to Blackstone Boulevard in Providence. It's another nice section, however you are in a bike lane sharing the road with cars. Turn off here (marked - follow the signposts) and for the last mile or two and you head to the river again rejoining the bike path for the last half mile or so.

All of the sections can be ridden with a road bike, there are some sections in the last 8 miles that you certainly need to take more care. Would I ride this again? Woonsocket to Central Falls, yes, perhaps. Central Falls to Providence RI? No.

I’ve been walking the millbury Worcester trail since it opened. It’s so sad what’s become of it. Loaded with trash and broken glass. The trail is now under construction to include a center and lengthening the trail! Why bother if it’s not going to be maintained.

What a difference a year makes. I reviewed this trail back in June 2016 with only nice things to say. The ride has nice views along the Blackstone River. The few bumps that I encountered last year has definitely increased. The only work done on these very large bumps is spray paint them so you see them before you get injured by hitting them. I found that the area with the biggest problems are between the 2 overpasses (rt116 and rt146). But they are really everywhere.

Parked at Silva St, thinking there would be a lot. There wasn't but the neighbors didn't seem to mind with parking along the road. Once we got on the lovely trail, realized there were several parking lots, but I'm glad we didn't miss a minute of the walk from the beginning (next time, and there will be a next time, as this is one of my favorite rail trails and just 30 minutes from my home) will park in a lot so we can walk the while way to the museum. Saw several deer with babies, and the babies were as fascinated by us as we were by them. Also saw the largest turtle in the water I have ever seen, it was massive! someone said it must be 100 years old. As we walked closer to the dam, we saw the old Mill site, which are fascinating to me! in the midst of the mostly falling down mills there was a fabric store OPEN! Was fabric heaven! enough to make me take up sewing so I can make a quilt like one of the many beauties on display. Looking forward to the next time when we travail to the other end of the trail!

This is a great trail but notice it is starting to need some work that's not being done..on or about the 11.5 mile point there are tree roots buldging out of the path that really need to be addressed. It is quite a large area and there are other areas that are becoming a problem as well.
It is marked with orange paint but that does not fix the issue!

This trail is fantastic. Very scenic with plenty of photo-op stops along the way on bridges over the river, etc. A few of the shady spots have some tree root growth that disrupts the pavement, but otherwise it's a really great trail with ample parking. There were no bathrooms that we could find so make sure you plan ahead for that. Definitely worth exploring!!!

I really enjoyed my ride. The trail was well labeled and easy to follow. The scenery and wild life were entertaining! I highly recommend this trail!

Very nice ride with varied scenery. The only thing I would add to what has already been written is that there isn't much of a canopy of tree cover for much of the ride so on a really sunny day, wear your sun block. Also, the trail continues a bit more after the Lonsdale entrance. It eventually goes on-road and spills you out in a little park near the Cumberland Town Hall. I would skip this section entirely and just end your ride at Lonsdale. The trail is a little narrower towards it's northern terminus as well.

Just walked six miles this morning.the millbury side is worse then the Worcester side..trees and brush are taking over the whole trail.There was straw all over the trail, not good for bikers to slip on.I don't understand why you would lay down asphalt in the woods and then walk away without doing any maintenance.Someone there told me it's between the CD-R and someone else always fighting over who is responsible for the up keep,that should have been thought about beforehand.....it's a nice trail to have but to let it go is a disgrace....next time you go bring your brush cutters

This trail could not be nicer, I highly recommend for anyone!

Such a beautiful trail. Very well maintained. Do the round trip and you get to see beautiful scenery both ways. So many places to stop and take in the views. Thanks to RI for funding and maintaining such a recreational treasure.

I found this to be a very scenic, well-maintained, and user-friendly bike trail. Varying views and terrain made for a pleasant ride from Lonsdale to Woonsocket & back (a ~24 mi RT). As mentioned below, there is a brief section where sub-pavement roots are prevalent south of Ashton, but otherwise the surface is great. Restroom facilities just south of the northern terminus were open on a Tuesday afternoon (below the soccer fields around the back of the building) - which was a pleasant surprise.

On the return I biked a bit south of the Lonsdale Drive-In parking area, but a passerby mentioned that the trail went on-road, and signage was easy to miss, so I decided to call it a day. More details to help navigate this section would be appreciated.

After riding (and getting spoiled on) the Upper Charles Trail for weeks, I decided to start exploring other local trails via TrailLink. First stop was what I thought would be a short, pleasant trek from Uxbridge to Northbridge on the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park Trail. Good news is that at the last minute I left the road bike home and took my kids mountain bike; bad news is that I followed the trail to the end and didn't turn around about 10 minutes into it.

After a relatively pleasant start from behind the old Stanley Woolen Mill (despite the smelly, stagnant, algae-covered canal), the trail quickly disintegrated into a non-maintained mess of huge roots, rocks, and bridges which you had to dismount to go across. Markings were minimal, and there were several areas where river erosion reduced the "trail" to less than a foot or two across. The Northbridge end the path is overgrown with vegetation and appears to be poorly maintained until you're within sight of the Plummers Landing parking area. I decided to return via Rt122 - which I considered a much less dangerous alternative to retracing my steps.

I wonder if these towns could solicit assistance from the Blackstone Valley Historical Foundation to make improvements so this can actually be used for non-extreme, family biking? The potential is certainly there. Until then, it was an interesting ride; however, this trail is now off my list.

I had been away from the trails for some time, last I rode it it stopped short of the Manville Dam. Well a few weeks ago, when I picked back up on the road bike after a long illness, I was pleasantly surprised that the trail now goes to Davidson Avenue in Woonsocket. I usually start by the Ashton Mill which up and back is around 12 miles. This is great for my out of shape body. There are a total of 3 minor hills which makes it nice, one just before the river overpass just north of the RR crossing and one going into the Football Field at the top of the hill. All of these are totally manageable.

My only complaint? The major "Root Bumps" in the trail in areas...but then again, it's just like riding on Rhode Island Streets and Highways...

The trail(s) are HIGHLY recommended!

I just did this trail yesterday and absolutely loved it. I parked at the lot on Chamber St/John St. If you start here, you have to go through a busy intersection within 1/2 mile. No problem as there is a crossing button. Once by this, the trail runs along the Blackstone River for most of the way. The first 5 miles is pretty nice as there is a lot of shade, views and benches to stop. I didn't encounter many hills at all. There were a few areas with "tree root bumps". But this is the case with any paved bike trail. I ended at the Vet Memorial in Woonsocket. Overall, this was a very nice ride.

Love going here, it's clean, mostly level, paved, lots of places to stop and view the scenery. Some hills keeps the ride interesting.
Highly recommended!

I wasn't sure what to expect based on the other reviews. On one side of the trail is the Blackstone River, on the other side is 146. I parked in the Millbury lot and ran to the other end (about 3 miles). The trail stops behind Walmart so that is another place to park in addition to the MIllbury lot and the one in the middle. Overall, I am grateful for another place to run. I hope that someday the trail connects to the more southern branch.

Great Scenic Trail along a river. Easy parking access at multiple locations. Wish it was longer

I biked and walked the trail from Davison St. Woonsocket , to the Slater mill and beyond.I wasn't too crazy about the street riding after you leave Lonsdale ,(Lincoln) as you have to pay close attension to the bike signs.But the off road part was great.I did it in stages , 'cuz I'm getting old , but I did consider it a good experience , and I'll probably do it again.

Absolutely beautiful. Lots of turtles and fish too.

I run this pathway once a week from the Millbury to Worcester parking lots. It's not a terrible pathway but it could stand for some TLC. It is overgrown in many areas, dirty, and people don't clean up after their dogs. It runs along a major highway, which is not my favorite, and the river smells pretty bad in some spots.

Walked this trail to Worcester today and actually saw two blue heron. Trails are well maintained and I loved the bridges over the waterways. Great place to walk

What a beautiful trail and ride from Lincoln to Woonsocket and all the people we met along the way made the day and ride even much better. We will definitely do this trail again next year and this trail makes #1 on our 2015 rides.

my son an I start at the Lincoln trail head off rt 116 and go to woonsocket.IT was great ride going and back again it was a warm sun filled day.the bumps from the trees were not too bad. with that i whold have to rate it 3 stars.

1 Davidson avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895

Today I completed my third or fourth ride on this trail. From Route 123 in Lincoln, I parked my car in one of the park's lots, unloaded the bicycle and rode for 2 hours: about 10 miles each way from Lincoln to the Woonsocket trail head. Be sure to visit the Kelly House Transportation Museum closer to the Lonsdale trail head. On a recent ride, I spotted a young deer! The waterfalls are attractive and a good place to stop for a break. Some long but not terribly steep inclines and curves to consider. Watch out for young families with carriages, strollers and children on bicycles with training wheels, teenage skateboarders, and rollerbladers. Nonetheless, it's possible to get a good workout and some consistent mileage.

Great trail to ride! Places to stop and take pictures along the Blackstone river. Great day!

unpaved, bumpy and roots. My 6yr old had a difficult time

A Rail to Trail conversion from Lincoln to Woonsocket R.I. Six of us met up to ride this most awesome bikeway on a warm Friday morning.

"The path follows the Blackstone River wherever possible, including on the tow paths of the historic Blackstone Canal. This highly scenic bikeway crosses the river many times, offering views of waterfalls, marshes and wildlife. Many old mills line the river too, evidence of the impact of the Industrial Revolution that earned the Blackstone the title of the “hardest-working river in America.”

Click the link to see the video.

http://amidnightrider.com/2015/05/15/blackstone-river-bikeway/

I frequent this trail often for a 2 hour roundtrip walk. Starting at the Stanley Woolen Mill entrance in Uxbridge, the trail winds along the canal and river up to Plummers Landing. I see an occasional red tail hawk near Rice City Pond. Watch for the tree roots in the upper section of trail. It can get buggy in the summer, being close to the water.

A friend and I ran the Millbury to Worcester portion and enjoyed it. I'm a new mom and can't wait to take the stroller and baby out on it. It's all paved and even though parallels a highway had relatively nice views and was quiet.

i am from rhode island and knew this trail from childhood. at that time, it was not a bike trail but a great place to hang out.since it has been turned into a bike trail many more rhode islanders have had the chance to explore our state using the wonderful bike trail.
while most of the trail is level and well maintained, there is a section that has frost heaves and places where tree roots have come up causing the ride to be bumpy.most of the bumps have been painted yellow so that it is not a complete surprise when you come upon one.

I recently went to visit my 80 yr old in Woonsocket. And I found that they have trails about 3 miles from his home. I was so happy that I went the trails are very clean and awesome to ride. Enjoy!!!

Great bikeway. Very scenic along river. My fav so far.

i'm riding alot while rehabing my shoulder. got to pay attention while checking out the scenery

My wife and I took our 2-year old (in a bike seat) on the path today and had a great ride!! Good signage, easy terrain and great accessibility parking-wise.

I used this trail from Woonsocket down to Providence.
First couple of miles are rather boring, and it gets a little bit scenic, then somewhat boring again.
The views get repetitive and not really a lot of fun. However, the trail itself is well maintained and very flat. If you are looking for a fast ride, it's very good. If you are looking for a scenic ride, it's not as good as other RI trails.

There are 5 bike trails in New England on which I ride on a regular basis. This is my favorite one! There is so much to see. For a stretch there are two bodies of water on each side of the trail, the river and the canal. What other trails can make that boast? When the trail ends at Jones St. in Cumberland you can reward yourself with a pastry treat at the Colonial Bakery on Broad St. near the intersection of Broad and Jones Streets. That's what I did today!

Nice views..clean bike path. Only Con...Too short. Toliets at Field House.

Rode my bike the whole trail to the end and back. Very relaxing trail. It took me 4 hours to do the whole trail from Woonsocket to the end and back.

Another great ride with friends from Bike Fall River.

Rode all but the farthest south 3 miles this morning. Lovely trail with ample parking at trailheads. Largely shaded and smoothly paved, with some roots coming up in the shadiest areas, but any bumps are largely marked with spray paint. The river and the canal make for pretty scenery. Even saw 2 great blue herons!

Great ride, did it with wife. Very senic ride to go on with partner.

The day was perfect and I have to say, this trail completed my experience. From the beautiful scenery to the awesome sounds of running water and the sounding around.

Trail had some bumps, but nothing to break up the mood. Parking was a little tricky to find for me, a little further up there is dedicated parking though. Just follow the trail and pick the first location. The very first part of the trail there isn't much to miss, but after the second parking lot, it gets a whole lot better.

I wanted to try a new trail as an avid runner, biker and skater. On my first trip in October of 2013, I took my bike because I wasn't sure how good it would be for skates. This path has 2-3 waterfalls. Overall the path is very well maintained and I look forward to skating it very soon.

Rhode Island has three decent length rail to trail conversions. The East Bay Bike Path, Washington Secondary Bike Path and the Blackstone River Path which is the subject of today's post.

All three of the Rhode Island trails are a short drive from each other, 10-20 minutes. After all Rhody is the smallest state, but it's a great bike riding state. The longest is 30 miles round trip and the shortest is around 19 miles. All three are rail trails so they are flat.

The fall is a great time for a solo ride on this trails. It's often cool and crisp but the view never lets one down. On this day there were not many people on the trail at the start of my ride. Cumberland and Lincoln R.I. sections meander through more suburban sections. The North Smithfield and Woonsocket sections are a little more small city urban and consequently there is more use of the trail with dog walkers, couples walking and runners. A smidgen of bikes shared this day but in general the traffic was very light.

Read the full bicycle blog post of "amidnightrider" by copying and pasting the link below.

http://amidnightrider.blogspot.com/2013/11/blackstone-river-bike-trail.html

Just discovered this in Fall 2013, after biking the East Bay Bike Path several times over 12 years. It felt a little wider than the East Bay Bike Path, and had several more easy hills. Remote, woodsy, and a greater chance for wildlife sightings.

What a beautiful path and well maintained. Just discovered it this fall and can't get enough ( even though we live 35 minutes from there) I even took my 7 year old who loved it and pedeled through for 9 miles. Love the scenery, waterfalls, river, trees, lawns, etc.

Can't believe I used to live near this rail trail and never knew it was there. One of the most picturesque bike trails I've ever been on. Manicured landscape, plenty to see along the way in terms of scenery. If you're looking for the Southern end, put 111 John St. Cumberland, RI into your GPS. There's a nice bit South of that but the parking is sketchy. Met a nice homeowner who let us park in front of his house so it would look like we were visiting.

This 3.5 mile trail can be divided into several sections. The southern portion between Hartford Ave. and the Stanley Woolen Mill has been extensively improved by the state park with the watered canal alongside. This is heavily used. The Visitors Center is in this section.
North of Hartford Ave. to Goat Hill Lock, the canal and towpath pass along the west edge of Rice City Pond. While the canal is watered by the river and pond, the towpath is impassable. Instead, the trail follows an old woods road over the shoulder of Goat Hill west of the canal.
At Goat Hill Lock, the trail regains the towpath and follows it north for about ¾ of a mile. Other than clearance of blow downs, no improvements have been done in this section. While walking is easy and level, the surface is rough. The canal is dry.
Finally, the trail reaches a section where the river has breached into the canal and cuts off the towpath from access. The canal is watered from here to Church Street, but it cannot be paddled due to blow downs. Instead, the trail follows a sewer line easement near the west bank. This is a nice, level woods road.
Improvements are proposed. To help, access the web site BlackstoneCC.org for a schedule of workdays.

The adventure of finding a thrilling and scenic bike path so close to home.
I have been on many bike paths all over this area and as far north as NH.
This bike path stands out as it was built and done right with lots of thought behind it. Imagine seeing the raging river the bridges along this trail are amazing. Some very good hills to climb, but not a show stopper.
So many places to stop and take photos & rest when needed. From old Lonsdale Drive-in 7.5 to the end at 17.0 and then back.
I love the amount of waterfalls.....the big and wide....also the little ones seen a stones throw from the bike path.....sometimes you must listen and look to find them. A perfect day on this path you pack a lunch...stop and eat.....stop and take pictures, the birds I have seen....a white swan...swam up to me...and let me take a few photos....also a blue heron or two....hunting for fish ....stopped to let me enjoy in there splendor...and a few pictures too.
Also many turtles sun tanning on the river, a few awesome mallard ducks....swam up.
The other that I love to take pictures is the people.....especially the fly-fishing on the river. This is one special place that I am glad I get to share with someone I love my girlfriend. DJD

Blackstone River Bikeway

The Blackstone River Bikeway begins in Cumberland,RI
There is a parking lot at the entrance to the former Lonsdale Drive In Theater.

In fact the restored marque states, “NowPlaying, Blackstone River Bikeway”.

This collaboration between the RI Departments of Transportation and Environmental Management has resulted in 11.5 miles of continuous bike path being open to the public in Cumberland, Lincoln, and Woonsocket, RI.

Beginning at the southern end, in Cumberland, the ride takes one over a scenic bridge within a mile of starting out. The bridge is a dedicated bike and walkway with no vehicular traffic.

The Blackstone River Bikeway then meanders along following the historic Blackstone canal. Inspired by the success of the Erie Canal (begun in 1817) and prodded by the growth of textile manufacturing along the Blackstone River. The Blackstone Canal was built to link Central Massachusetts to the Atlantic via Providence, RI. Between 1828 and 1848. The canal used horse-drawn boats to carry freight and passengers between Worcester and Providence.

The Blackstone River Bikeway provides one a feeling of being slightly more remote than does the East Bay Bike Path, though never wandering too far from residential areas, it provides long stretches uninterrupted by intersections and stop signs. Very nice indeed.

From south (the Cumberland end) the Bikeway ends at the Rivers Edge Recreation Complex in Woonsocket, RI. Near to this end are public restrooms, and a small refreshment stand.

The Blackstone River Bikeway is slightly more challenging, in regard to elevation, than the East Bay Bike Path. That said, it is not a difficult ride, and should be enjoyed by riders of all experience levels.

We had a fantastic Memorial Day blading from Woonsocket to Central Falls and back.
Easy parking in Woonsocket in a dedicated parking lot. Then, down the trail heading South. Great pavement, lovely trail following the river, next to the active railroad tracks. Continuing along the river, past the falls. Few road crossings, keep up the momentum. Then, across the river back and forth, and on to the tow path for the old canal. Water on both sides: the river on our left, the canal to the right. The pavement here is old and worn, but not badly cracked or holed. The scenery makes up for it.
Suddenly, the trail crosses the river, runs along the South side, and rises up to civilization. Cross the street and cross the river twice more. The trail shifts onto a boardwalk suspended over a marsh. Nice scenery, but tough blading. Finally, the trail rises into a Cumberland neighborhood and really ends. You can continue into Central Falls, but there is no more trail - just cracked and potholed local roads. The subs and swarma at the sub shop were worthwhile, though. Then, back up the river to Woonsocket.
A great day!

I live a short 10 minute walk from where the trail crosses East Hartford Avenue and have hiked, biked and cross-country-skied it countless times over my 23 years in the area. Beginning at the southern terminus is ample parking near the Stanley Woolen Mill, makers of the North uniforms during the Civil War and the current Air Force Blues. The first portion of the trail up to East Hartford Avenue is used most by walkers, many with dogs, and can get quite crowded at times. Along the way you will come across a bridge that crosses one of the recently refurbished locks on the Canal, a small stone bridge abutment and several side trails that, depending on the time of year, are great to explore. Further along the tow path there is another bridge crossing over the Canal that leads to River Bend Farm and Visitor Center. Near the bridge the River takes a sharp turn to the east. During the rainy season the River overflows and floods a wide area from this point downstream for over a mile to Route 16. It is definitely worth stopping by the Visitors Center and checking out their calendar of events where they host all kinds of events throughout the year, including free concerts. There is a short section back across the bridge along the tow path that leads north to East Hartford Avenue where there is a second refurbished lock and a beautiful stone bridge. Get out yor camera for this one.

If you cross Hartford Ave a path continues along the River for approximately 2 miles to Plummer's Landing. For nature lovers who like to hike this is definitely the better part of the trail. Soon after getting on the trail there is a left turn off the main path uphill to Goats Hill where there are miles and miles of paths winding through the woods and up and down some pretty steep hills. Back on the trail you'll head downhill to the Goats Hill Lock. From here to the northern terminus the path is anything from flat to root-covered to muddy to grassy and anything else you might imagine and runs through some great areas along the Blackstone before ending in a gravel parking lot off Church Street.

This area is a wonderful hike, especially if you like to get a little lost and off the beaten path.

The trail has been extended since some of the prior reviews. We began our trip in Lonsdale at the Drive-in, (currently marked as mile 7.5) and rode north to Woonsocket at mile 17. The parking lot trail sign directed us to either Calais, ME going left, or Key West FL. going right. Let's hope they can follow through on that ambitious goal!

**NOTE: the directions say to take John Street to the trail entrance: if you are coming from Rte 123, John St. is ONE WAY, and you can't turn into it. Go to Chambers St. at the Sovereign Bank, and turn there. It will merge with John St. about 100 yards from the trail entrance. If you click the "get directions to here" pop-up, it will make the same mistake. ***

The trail was in excellent shape the entire way. Mind the road signs, as there are some spurs in the Lonsdale and Kelly House areas. Mile markers are clearly displayed on granite posts.
We rode mid-morning on an August Monday, and it was in use by a diverse group of hikers, bikers, bladers and strollers. Not as crowded as other trails, though. The signs promise views of wildlife along the way - we had barely cleared the parking lot when 3 deer bounded across the path and into the Lonsdale meadow. It seemed every log in the canal had turtles on it, and flocks of duck and Canada geese were on the river.
There is not much access to this trail: you won't be going through little towns with opportunities for "rest stops", but there are several benches, picnic spots and scenic places to stop. In the Woonsocket end it passes an athletic field complex, where there is apparently a snack bar and rest rooms (closed when we went by).

This trail is now about 12.5 continuous paved miles long, not 6.8 as shown here at TrailLink. See http://www.dot.ri.gov/bikeri/ for current maps and info.

In the last year or so (2008-2009) RIDOT has completed a bridge project, eliminating a major block in Lincoln, opened a new extension taking the path one mile southward from the old Lonsdale Drive-in and finished two new extensions adding about 1.5 miles northward into Woonsocket.

This is a great morning or afternoon ride, fully paved and generally smooth with no significant hills, except for one entirely optional spur trail. It is relatively less used, compared to RI's East Bay path. Foot traffic has been increasing since the the improvements last year, but you can have the path largely to yourself in the early am or on weekdays in spring or fall. I've ridden this trail all year round, although winter ice can make it unsafe at times.

The entire trail follows the Blackstone River through wooded countryside, with remnant sections of the old Blackstone Canal often on the other side of the path. The River or the Canal are generally in view as you ride offering many chances to see heron, turtles, rabbits and other animals. The thick vegetation offers good shade in summer and great spring and fall foliage.

Despite the rural appearance, the Blackstone River was intensely exploited for manufacturing. Artifacts of the early Industrial Age - dams, foundations, locks, millraces and mills (now mostly converted to condos) - punctuate the path and make for interesting stops and explorations on foot.

The current southern end on Jones Street in Cumberland may be hard to find. We used to park in this residential neighborhood until someone stole our rack, so now we generally use designated parking lot a mile north at the former Lonsdale Drive-in on Rt. 123 or ride in five miles from our house. However, this segment offers a very pleasant ride along the edge of a wetland, including a board walk over water, with good birding opportunities. You could park at the Cumberland Town Hall on Broad Street and bike over a couple of blocks on Jones. With luck and funding, the path will be continued to a better-supervised parking space in Central Falls or Pawtucket soon.

Heading north from the Drive-In parking lot, you soon come to light-controlled crossing at Lonsdale Ave Rt 122. Once across this undistinguished intersection, the trail gets interesting, zig-zagging along and over the river before turning north on the western bank for a long stretch of uninterrupted riding. There is only one street crossing from this point to the northern terminus in Woonsocket.

About five miles north after the Kelly House (a preserved farm house) you have the option of taking a spur trail on the left. This offers a short, steep and winding climb to a visitor center on Rt. 295, which crosses the path on a high bridge at this point. Not much up there to see, but they do have ice cream. If you've got small kids or a heavy bike, even ice cream may not make the climb worthwhile, but if you want to jump start your heart and get a fun ride back down, go for it.

Which raises my only mild complaint about this path: the lack of contact with the dense communities it runs through. There is nowhere on or within sight of the path to buy food or bike supplies except for a new food stand in Rivers Edge Park in Woonsocket at the northern end (very difficult to actually reach on a bike). I like a path that leads to town centers and people. For this, RI's East Bay path is far superior.

Note that RI observes a "walk left, ride right rule."

This trail is now about 12.5 continuous paved miles long, not 6.8 as shown here at TrailLink. See http://www.dot.ri.gov/bikeri/ for current maps and info.

In the last year or so (2008-2009) RIDOT has completed a bridge project, eliminating a major block in Lincoln, opened a new extension taking the path one mile southward from the old Lonsdale Drive-in and finished two new extensions adding about 1.5 miles northward into Woonsocket.

This is a great morning or afternoon ride, fully paved and generally smooth with no significant hills, except for one entirely optional spur trail. It is relatively less used, compared to RI's East Bay path. Foot traffic has been increasing since the the improvements last year, but you can have the path largely to yourself in the early am or on weekdays in spring or fall. I've ridden this trail all year round, although winter ice can make it unsafe at times.

The entire trail follows the Blackstone River through wooded countryside, with remnant sections of the old Blackstone Canal often on the other side of the path. The River or the Canal are generally in view as you ride offering many chances to see heron, turtles, rabbits and other animals. The thick vegetation offers good shade in summer and great spring and fall foliage.

Despite the rural appearance, the Blackstone River was intensely exploited for manufacturing. Artifacts of the early Industrial Age - dams, foundations, locks, millraces and mills (now mostly converted to condos) - punctuate the path and make for interesting stops and explorations on foot.

The current southern end on Jones Street in Cumberland may be hard to find. We used to park in this residential neighborhood until someone stole our rack, so now we generally use designated parking lot a mile north at the former Lonsdale Drive-in on Rt. 123 or ride in five miles from our house. However, this segment offers a very pleasant ride along the edge of a wetland, including a board walk over water, with good birding opportunities. You could park at the Cumberland Town Hall on Broad Street and bike over a couple of blocks on Jones. With luck and funding, the path will be continued to a better-supervised parking space in Central Falls or Pawtucket soon.

Heading north from the Drive-In parking lot, you soon come to light-controlled crossing at Lonsdale Ave Rt 122. Once across this undistinguished intersection, the trail gets interesting, zig-zagging along and over the river before turning north on the western bank for a long stretch of uninterrupted riding. There is only one street crossing from this point to the northern terminus in Woonsocket.

About five miles north after the Kelly House (a preserved farm house) you have the option of taking a steep spur trail on the left. This offers a short, steep and winding climb to a visitor center on Rt. 295, which crosses the path on a high bridge at this point. Not much up there to see, but they do have ice cream. If you've got small kids or a heavy bike, even ice cream may not make the climb worthwhile, but if you want to jump start your heart and get a fun ride back down, go for it.

Which raised my only mild complaint about this path: the lack of contact with the dense communities it runs through. There is no where on or within sight of the path to buy food or bike supplies except for a new food stand in Rivers Edge Park in Woonsocket at the northern end. I like a path that leads to a town centers. For this, RI's East Bay path is far superior.

Note that RI observes a "walk left, ride right rule."

If you like mosquitos, swamp water, and a sub-par riding surface, this trail is for you! There are three areas to park along the trail, but only the mid-point of the trail off of East Hartford avenue offers any type of facilities. The southern terminus of this trail also has adequate parking near a historic mill location. From this location, there is a bridge which has steps at either end, so you can not bike directly across. From here, the trail heads North for about a mile, but the surface is rutted with tree roots that really break up the integrity of the tow path. Also, when I travelled the trail at the end of July, the first 1/4-mile had stagnant, scummy water aside the tow path -- not very picturesque. As you proceed toward East Hartford Ave, the trail gets better, and you approach a second bridge that allows you to cross. My hope was that the trail would improve the more North I travelled. However, after managing to cross a third bridge via a single-track path, I arrived at East Hartford Ave, where the trail definitely is suitable for mountain bikers and hikers. The path between here & Church Street (the northern terminus of this trail), passing through Heritage Park, is meandering, rutted with tree roots & rocks, good for mountain bikers & hikers, but not for the casual rider. Also expect to pass through muddy areas and water puddles that came up to the axel on my bike!

I do not recommend this trail except for those looking for a rustic adventure.

From RIDOT : "The new path is 1 mile long and extends the bike path south to Valley Falls Heritage Park in the area of Cumberland Town Hall. The newest segment extends the bikeway to 10.3 miles in each direction, from Cumberland to Woonsocket. The most striking feature of this new bike path segment is a 14-foot wide, 540-foot long elevated boardwalk that allows the bikeway to pass through the Lonsdale Marsh in an environmentally responsible manner while offering an up-close look at the wildlife that inhabits the marsh."


the martin st. bridge work in lincoln has now been completed so it's smooth sailing, no more detours. the trail has now been extended to the woonsocket water works...about 8 miles in all. very scenic, especially the remnants of the blackstone canal and the monstrous mills along it's banks. an extra-added bonus is that this is a rail-with trail, you're almost certain to see (or at least hear) a freight train along the providence & worcester railroad right-of-way.

"My family recently went on this trail it was wonderful.
Dispite the two place inwhich you go around a jersey barrier and across some dirt, it's ok.
With changing scenary and grades of up and down. We enjoyed it. My ten yr old did it easily. The trail splits off at first. If you want a longer ride the left way is the way to go. On the weekends the Capt. Kelly house has a free tour which explains how the canal came to be. All in all 7 miles one way. "

"This is a nice trail, but note there is construction on the bridge 1.5 miles into it. Seemed very nice for rollerblading or walking. If you intend on a good bike workout you'll be disapointed.
I think it will be very nice when the bridge is done."

"Go on weekends if you want to ride the entire trail...the Martin Street construction will take 2 more years, and you can't cross the site during the week. The docents at the (free) Wilbur Kelley House Museum are outstanding, and add an interesting historical perspective to the Blackstone Valley National Park (of which the trail is a beautiful part)."

"I took this trail with my wife and daughter who was trying out her new (albeit used) trail-a-bike. We did not know what to expect, but since we were very happy with the East Bay Bike Path, I figured I'd drive down from Boston to check this one out.

We found it to be a great little trail. It is in very good condition, except for one short area that was under construction. The ride was easy for my daughter, and the surroundings changed often enough to keep it interesting.

It's definitely a good way to spend a couple of hours with your family. Write to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and they will send you a very helpful trail map for the state."

"My wife and I tried this trail not knowing what to expect and we were both very pleased. Six miles of the path are newly paved and the plans are to extend it to the Massachusetts border in the north and to the East Bay Bike Path in the south.

The entire trail is in excellent condition and is actually much more scenic than we expected. Most of it runs along the Blackstone River and canals, while the rest parallels a rail line and runs along near some old mills.

All in all it's well worth the trip."

"The Blackstone River Bike Way has something for everyone. It is rich in scenery and history. The bike path parallels the Blackstone River and its canal system. The trail is part of the East Coast Greenway and will be extended and interconnected to other trails in the future.

River views, canal views, trains, bridges, birds, fish, turtles, cyclists, joggers, walkers, and roller-bladers are just some of the sights to be seen and enjoyed. The river provides views of Great Blue Herons, egrets, and Canadian Geese. The canal is rich in birds, fish, flowers, and turtles.

The trail is shared with all types of people with all types of interests.

The trail has plenty of trailheads with ample parking. Roads crossings are minimal and well marked.

Mosquitoes are abundant due to the stagnant canal water and the river. They are most prevalent after sun-set.

The only bad think about the trail is that there are no public facilities.

All in all, this is a great trail."

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