BLACKSTONE CANAL TOWPATH:
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Last Updated: July 25, 2015
Length: Blackstone Canal Towpath Southern section; 1.2 miles.
Blackstone Canal Towpath Northern section; 2.5 miles.
Difficulty: Blackstone Canal Towpath South; Easy. Flat, hard packed gravel & stone-dust trail.
Blackstone Canal Towpath North; Moderate. Parts of trail are flat, hard packed dirt, while others are narrow, winding Mt bike trails with roots & rocks. Mt bike recommended.
To Start from the Stanley Woolen Mill parking lot (Southern section); From Route 146 take exit 3 to Route 16 east. Pass through Uxbridge and across Route 122 and follow Route 16 out of town. Look for the Stanley Woolen Mill sign on your left and turn left down Cross St (third left from Route 122) to the parking lot behind the old mill.
To Start from the Hartford Ave parking lot (Northern section); From Route 146 take exit 3 to Route 16 east. Follow to Uxbridge and head left (north) on Route 122. After 1.3 miles turn right on Hartford Ave. Travel 1.1 miles. The parking lot will be on your right just before you cross over the river. Continue 2.6 miles north on Route 122, then right on Church St to park at the Plummer's Landing parking lot on the right.
The Blackstone Canal Towpath travels through the Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park. This park is operated in conjunction with the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor which extends from Worcester to Providence, Rhode Island. Straddling the town line between Uxbridge and Northbridge is a 1000 acre natural area offering walking and hiking paths, canoe access, picnic areas and a broad expanse of the Blackstone River known as Rice City Pond, which is a great area for watching wildlife. The planned Blackstone River Bikeway will stretch from Worcester to Providence inside this corridor. See; Blackstone River Bikeway; RI & Blackstone River Bikeway; MA . The Blackstone Canal was built to link Central Massachusetts to the Atlantic via Providence, RI. Between 1828 and 1848, segments of the river were paralleled by the canal on which horse-drawn boats carried freight and passengers between Worcester and Providence. For more information visit; BLACKSTONE RIVER & CANAL HSP or BLACKSTONE RIVER VALLEY NHC . Part of the EAST COAST GREENWAY .
Starting from the Stanley Woolen Mill parking lot (Southern section); A map board along with trail maps is located here. Cross the wooden bridge over the canal to the Towpath, which heads left. The first of several informational signs is located here. See Below for Blackstone Canal Map. Follow the hard packed gravel towpath north alongside the old Blackstone Canal. You pass by a picnic area, then cross over a 1917 spillway that drains into the Blackstone River to your right. Here the trail surface improves. After a mile you come to a bridge over the canal that leads to the River Bend Farm Visitor Center and parking lot. There you'll find picnic tables, rest rooms, a drinking fountain and maps. Be sure to check the upstairs museum. The Visitor Center is located in a renovated barn from the old farm. Continuing along the towpath you'll come to a dam between the canal and river, along with a gate. There used to be a Lock here but it was converted to a gate when the canal was converted to a Power Canal to generate power for the Stanley Woolen Mill. Great views of a stone arch bridge carrying Hartford Ave. More picnic tables and a boat launch located here. Head left over the canal and up to the Hartford Ave parking lot at 1.2 miles.
You may continue north from the Hartford Ave parking lot (Northern section); A Mt bike is recommended as the trail is narrow and steep in spots and much less developed. Cross Hartford Ave from the parking lot and travel through the grass field past a map board. You enter the woods and follow the wide, hard packed dirt, Goat Hill Trail that starts off fairly smooth. The trail travels a ridge line along Goat Hill with the canal below and Rice City Pond and the river all merged together. The trail narrows and contains more rocks and tree roots until you come to an intersection. Turn right at the sign for the lock and travel down a short gully to a wooden bridge over the old Goat Hill Lock. This returns you to the old canal towpath at 2.1 miles. Head left along the hard packed dirt towpath which is flat but still contains many tree roots. The canal is dry along this section. You briefly come alongside the Blackstone River and cross a small bridge at 2.5 miles. Caution; the trail is narrow in spots as it fronts the rivers tributaries. At 2.8 miles the trail travels through some fields before bringing you back along the canal. Trail improves and becomes wider and smoother. You come to the Plummer's Landing parking lot next to Church St at 3 3/4 miles. Map board located here. Across the street is the old Plummer's Landing stone foundation. This was the site of an 1836 trading house built along a canal basin and Lock 26.
Note; You can return to the Hartford Ave parking lot on-road from here. Not recommended for kids on bikes as the roads have narrow shoulders. From the parking lot head right (east) on Church St crossing over the canal. You'll pass by the Spaulding Aldrich Recreation Area on your right, which has picnic tables and access to the Blackstone River. A trail also leads from the parking lot here to the towpath along the canal. After crossing over the river you'll come to Quaker St after a 1/4 mile. Turn right and ascend a small hill to an intersection at 0.5 miles. Continue straight along Quaker St which is now less trafficked. You'll encounter another long sustained hill climb before passing by the parking area for Lookout Rock at 1.7 miles. Downhill to Wolf Hill Rd where you'll turn right. Slight uphill climb around Wolf Hill before descending along Upton Rd after crossing the town line. This brings you to Hartford Ave at 2.8 miles where you turn right. This is a more trafficked road, but it also has a wider shoulder. Pass by the parking lot for the King Phillip's Trailhead which leads up to Lookout Rock and travel over a causeway past Rice City Pond then over the Blackstone River followed by the Blackstone Canal before returning to the Hartford Ave parking lot after 3.2 miles.
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