BLACKSTONE RIVER BIKEWAY-RI:
PROVIDENCE-WOONSOCKET, RHODE ISLAND
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated:July 5, 2021
Length: Blackstone River Bikeway (Northern & Central Sections); 9.9 miles.
Blackstone River Bikeway (Northern Section through Woonsocket); 1.1 miles paved, 2.5 miles on-road
Blackstone River Bikeway (Southern Section); 7.8 miles
Difficulty: Blackstone River Bikeway (Northern Section); Easy. Flat paved rail trail.
Blackstone River Bikeway (Northern Section through Woonsocket); Moderate. Partly on-road with a steep hill.
Blackstone River Bikeway (Southern Section); Easy. Flat paved trail w/some boardwalk. Moderate. On-road section.
To start from the Davison Ave parking lot in Woonsocket (Northern End); Take exit 18B off of I-295 and go north on Route 146 to Route 99 north. Take Route 122 north to Woonsocket. Just after Route 122 crosses over the Blackstone River turn left along Davison Ave. The parking lot will be on your left just before the RR bridge.
To start from Albion Road in Lincoln (Northern Section); Take exit 20 off of I-295 and go north on Route 122. Just a ways up, take a left onto Albion Rd. You'll cross over the Blackstone River and the parking lot will be on your right.
To start from the Blackstone River State Park Visitor Center in Lincoln (Central Section); Follow I-295 northbound between exits 18 & 20 and exit for the "Rest Area/Visitor Center". Located at this Rest Area is the Blackstone River State Park Visitor Center. Restrooms, information center and Dunkin Donuts. A bike trail heads around the back of the building along a paved path where you'll find a patio and picnic tables. It heads gradually downhill along switchbacks for 0.5 miles where it runs into a spur trail coming down from the right. The spur trail takes you 0.2 miles up to the Route 116 parking lot. Continue left down the trail and you'll come to a wooden bridge. The bridge takes you over the Blackstone Canal to the old towpath, so instead continue along the paved trail. After you travel underneath the Route 116 Bridge, you'll come to Lower River Road. Left brings you to the map board and the Blackstone River Bikeway after 0.8 miles. Right takes you south towards Valley Falls and straight takes you over the Ashton Mill Bridge and north towards Woonsocket.
To start from the Lonsdale Drive-In parking lot in Lincoln (Southern Section); Take exit 20 off of I-295 and go south on Route 122 to Lonsdale. Turn left on Route 123 (Front St) and just before you cross over the Blackstone River, there will be a parking lot on your left with a sign reading Lonsdale Drive-In.
To start in Providence from India Point Park (Southern End); From I-195 eastbound take exit 1A. Turn left on India St and the India Point Park parking lot will be on your right. From I-195 westbound take exit 1D. Turn left on Gano St and spot the Gano Street parking lot on your left or continue underneath I-195. Take your first left and follow India St to the India Point Park parking lot on your left.
The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor is a special type of National Park. It is a region that covers nearly 400,000 acres located from Worcester County in Massachusetts down to Providence County in Rhode Island. The Federal government does not own or manage the land, instead, along with the two state governments, local municipalities, businesses and many local organizations, they work to protect the Valley’s special identity. Located within this Corridor is the Blackstone River Bikeway and Canal State Park. The Southern Section is mostly off-road trails pieced together in Providence and on-road through Pawtucket, Central Falls & Valley Falls. The Central Section follows the corridor of the old Blackstone Canal in Lincoln. The bikeway runs adjacent to an active rail line operated by the Providence & Worcester Railroad Company between Woonsocket & Lincoln along its Northern Section. The final section through Woonsocket is a combination of on and off-road. This bikeway will eventually travel from Providence to Worcester. In Providence you can connect to the East Bay Bike Path & Providence River Trail . See; Blackstone River Bikeway-MA & Blackstone Canal Towpath for two more sections in Massachusetts. For more information check out; BLACKSTONE HERITAGE CORRIDOR & BIKE RI .
The Blackstone River Bikeway is part of the EAST COAST GREENWAY , a planned biking & hiking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. When complete it will traverse 15 states with a mostly off-road path.
Blackstone River Bikeway; Southern Section:
From the India Point Park parking lot in Providence (Southern End); From the rear of the parking lot follow the paved trail past several large granite blocks south into the park. This quickly brings you to an intersection for the India Point Park Loop Trail.
Note; From here you can also access the East Bay Bike Path & Providence River Trail .
Head left following the paved trail alongside India St. Come to an intersection just below the Washington Bridge.
Note; Left leads back out to India St where you may cross over to a ramp that leads up to the Washington Bridge and East Bay Bike Path .
The paved Blackstone River Bikeway; Southern Section travels underneath I-195 past the Gano Street parking lot and out to Gano St.Cross an off ramp for the interstate and the trail turns right after 0.3 miles. Here the trail travels through Gano Park Boat Launch and alongside the Seekonk River. After 0.6 miles you pass a bench on your right. This is where an old rail line traveled, crossing the river along the old RR bridge with its draw bridge still raised. Travel along Cold Spring Point out to Pitman St at 0.9 miles. A BIKE LANE travels right bringing you to Richmond Square at 1 mile. From here it's on-road BIKE SHARROWS along narrow East River St. Travel downhill underneath the Henderson Bridge between the river and Paterson & Blackstone Park. Follow the road left along Irving Ave out to an intersection. Bear right along Irving Ave across Blackstone Blvd where you'll pick up the off-road Blackstone Blvd Path after 2 miles.
Note; A BIKE LANE is located along both sides of Blackstone Blvd.
Head right (north) traveling along a greenway between Blackstone Blvd. Just before you reach Hope St bear right across Blackstone Blvd to Alfred Stone Rd at 3.6 miles. Here you'll pick up another BIKE LANE heading east (heading west along this road is only BIKE SHARROWS). Cross into Pawtucket where the road becomes Pleasant St after a sharp right turn. Just past the elementary school turn right on Bowles Ct (BIKE SHARROWS) then left along Taft St. Just past Tower St pick up a BIKE LANE at 4.8 miles. Pass by the Pawtucket Town Landing overlooking the river on your right before traveling underneath the brownstone arched Grace/Division Street Bridge followed by the I-95 bridge where you follow BIKE SHARROWS. Taft St becomes Roosevelt Ave Exd. Cross Main St to Roosevelt Ave at 5.4 miles.
Here you'll find Pawtucket Falls. Below the falls, the Blackstone River becomes tidal and changes its name to the Seekonk River.
I haven't checked the off road section of the trail through Pawtucket yet. [BIKE SHARROWS along Roosevelt Ave] On your right brick trails run through SLATER MILL and alongside the river. I believe you can detour off Roosevelt Ave through Slater Mill to Slater St, then back out to Roosevelt Ave continuing right. Then a quick right down Leather Ave brings you to a paved trail heading north alongside the river. Travel through Pawtucket Veterans Memorial Park out to Roosevelt Ave & Exchange St. BIKE SHARROWS continue north along Roosevelt Ave and cross into Central Falls. Come to Charles St just before crossing the river and head left. Chocolate Mill Overlook Park located here (informational signs and a promenade overlooking the river). First right on High St. Travel through a tunnel underneath a RR bridge. High St twists and turns before passing by River Island Park parking lot at 7.1 miles and traveling underneath an active RR bridge. Pass by the converted old brick "Blackstone Falls" apartments before coming to Broad St. Head right above a power canal and across the Blackstone River (Valley Falls Dam below) to Valley Falls. Check out Valley Falls Heritage Park on your right. Head left along Meeting St continuing with the BIKE SHARROWS. Then right on Chase St, left on Titus St and right on Silva St. This brings you to Jones Street after 7.8 miles and the continuation of the paved Blackstone River Bikeway on your left.
Blackstone River Bikeway; Northern & Central Sections:
Continuing from Jones Street in the Valley Falls section of Cumberland; (Re-zeroing Mileage) The paved Blackstone River Bikeway; Central Section heads north alongside the Lonsdale Marsh and over one of the widest boardwalks I've ever encountered. There are granite Mileage Markers giving you the distance from Providence every 0.5 miles, as well as interpretive signs all along the trail. After 0.3 miles you'll pass your first granite mile marker (Mile Marker 7.5). A cross-walk takes you over John St (Route 123) and then left over the Blackstone River. This brings you to the Lonsdale Drive-In parking lot at 0.6 miles in Lincoln. A sign board with Map is located here. From the parking lotthe path winds through an open field that used to be the Drive-In. You then cross over Route 122 at a cross walk and continue alongside the river with cedar fencing on both sides of you. You now get to cross the Blackstone River along a 6 span bridge that was built using the existing piers from the old railroad trestle over the Pratt Dam at 1.3 miles (Mile Marker 8.5). As you cross over the bridge you'll be leaving Cumberland and crossing into Lincoln. You then come to the Blackstone Canal. Left takes you over the canal to the Blackstone State Park parking lot. Turn right and travel alongside the canal on your left and the river out along your right.. Nice split rail fencing accompanies you on both sides of the path. Keep an eye out for sunning turtles along the banks of the Canal, we saw dozens of them. Keep an eye out for an old Canal overflow sluiceway that you'll cross over. At 3 miles you come to the Martin Street Bridge. A spur takes you up and over this beautifully built bridge with wooden trusses. However, the trail travels beneath the bridge. You then pass a rocky area with a granite bench and a granite marker calling this "Canoe Rock" (Mile Marker 10.5) followed by a spur trail on your left at 3.4 miles.
Note; This spur trail leads to the Historic Towpath. This hard packed dirt & stone-dust trail brings you alongside the Blackstone Canal, with lots of informational signs before joining Towpath Rd and passing by the yellow "Kelly House", which contains a museum about the canal and Blackstone River area. You come to Lower River Rd after 0.4 miles. Right returns you to the paved Blackstone River Bikeway. However if you continue straight, through the Lower River Road parking lot and underneath the Route 116 Bridge you may continue along the old towpath. This hard packed dirt & gravel trail travels between the Blackstone Canal & Blackstone River, passing a small wooden bridge over the canal that leads to the Blackstone River State Park Visitor Center. The trail ends after 0.2 miles (0.6 miles total) where the river is diverted into the canal. There are some granite steps here leading down to the canal for a canoe put in. There is also a walkway for carrying your canoe around the dam.
The paved trail heads away from the old towpath and passes through a meadow. This brings you alongside the river. You'll come to an intersection at 3.8 miles (Mile Marker 11). The trail continues right across a bridge over the river. Straight ahead is a Map Board.
Note; Heading left brings you to the yellow "Kelly House", which contains a museum about the canal and Blackstone River area. During the summer its open 7 days a week and is free. This is also where the Historic Towpath comes out. If you continue over the bridge a paved trail on your right leads 0.8 miles uphill to the Blackstone River State Park Visitor Center. A spur trail part way up also leads to the Route 116 parking lot. Heading straight past the Map Board brings you through the Lower River Road parking lot and underneath the Route 116 Bridge to another section of the Historic Towpath. This hard packed dirt & gravel trail travels between the Blackstone Canal & River, passing a small wooden bridge over the canal that leads to the Blackstone River State Park Visitor Center. The trail ends after 0.2 miles where the river is diverted into the Canal. There are some granite steps here leading down to the Canal for a canoe put in. There is also a walkway for carrying your canoe around the dam.
Right takes you over the Blackstone River via the Ashton Mill Bridge to the Ashton section of Cumberland where the trail continues left underneath the Route 116 Bridge.
Note; Right will take you over the railroad tracks to the Ashton Mill parking lot.
Continuing north the paved Blackstone River Bikeway; Northern Section runs alongside an active railroad line. A black fence separates you from the tracks on your right, with the river over to your left. Next, you'll pass below I-295 and at about 5.1 miles you'll cross over the RR tracks, complete with a railroad crossing signal. The trail travels up and over a slight hill, with the tracks below on your left. You cross over the Blackstone River on a new bridge parallel to the railroad bridge back into Lincoln. Note the nicely restored old mill on your left. You cross over Albion Road at 5.3 miles (Mile Marker 12.5) and through the parking lot. Map Board located here. A low dam crosses the river here. Now the river is on your right and the tracks to your left. Keep a lookout to your left for a stone arch bridge with a small waterfall and stream on the opposite side of the tracks at about mile 6.3. At 6.8 miles (Mile Marker 14), you pass through the Manville parking lot. Map Board. After passing underneath a bridge, you come to the Manville Dam with a nice overlook. As you travel alongside the tracks, watch for a couple of RR Mileage posts. The first will be P13, which means, 13 miles to Providence. The other side reads W, showing the distance to Worcester. At around 8.2 miles, the trail travels underneath Route 99. I believe the waterway on your right that follows the trail is part of the old Blackstone Canal. You cross into Woonsocket. At 8.8 miles the trail passes by the Woonsocket Water Treatment Plant. Route 126 (Manville Rd) is on your left. The trail heads up a hill (possibly a reclaimed landfill) and out into the open. Nice views of the river below. You'll pass by a soccer field and Par 3 golf holes before coming to a gravel access road at 9.4 miles.
Note; Head left to the Rivers Edge Recreation Complex, which has a snack bar, restrooms and parking. There is also a canoe launch located here.
The trail follows this access road past (Mile Marker 17) out to the Davison Ave parking lot in Woonsocket after 9.9 miles.
Note; The trail currently ends here as of June 2021. Two other paved sections in Woonsocket are complete, but require an on-road connection. I'm not sure of the exact route the next section will take, but I believe it may follow the Blackstone River berm you'll spot along your right.
Blackstone River Bikeway; Woonsocket Section:
Continuing from the Davison Ave parking lot in Woonsocket; [Re-zeroing Mileage] You'll need to travel on-road 1.3 miles to reach the next paved off-road section. Not recommended for kids on bikes. Continue through the parking lot and travel right along Davison Ave (low traffic) passing by the Armed Forces Memorial Park on your right. Come to Hamlet Ave (Route 122). Cross road and continue straight along Florence Dr (low traffic).
Note; You can also head left following the official signs, but you'll miss the next paved off-road section.
The Blackstone River berm is along your right and Woonsocket Middle School on your left. Come to a pedestrian bridge over the river on your right after 0.4 miles.
Note; I believe the trail will continue along the river berm before crossing the river further north?
Cross the pedestrian bridge over the river to Cumberland St (no shoulder/sidewalk available) and head left. Cross Clinton St (One-way/utilize from opposite direction) and come to Social St (one-way). Travel left (narrow shoulder/wider sidewalk available). Come to Worrall St (just before Monument Square) and turn left. (No shoulder/sidewalk available). Come to Truman Dr and cross over to east side (Clinton St side). Follow the sidewalk and you'll quickly pick up the paved Blackstone River Bikeway; Woonsocket Section at 1.3 miles.
Note; I believe the trail will continue left out along the river berm to connect to the Davison Ave parking lot?
The wide paved trail follows alongside Truman Dr, traveling underneath a RR bridge and Court St and past some historic brick & mill buildings before coming to the Bernon St traffic circle at 1.7 miles.
Note; Straight across Bernon St brings you to River Island Art Park which fronts the Blackstone River. A trail brings you alongside the river, bandstand, gazebo and picnic tables.
Follow the crosswalk right over Truman Dr where the paved trail continues. Another crosswalk over Main St.
Note; From here you can take a side trip to check out Woonsocket. Head right on-road along Main St through the scenic downtown. Come to Court & High St after 0.3 miles. On your right is the Main Street Mini Park with expansive views of Woonsocket and the Blackstone River. Down below is the Truman Dr portion of the Blackstone River Bikeway. Left just up High St on the right is the brick Woonsocket Depot, built by the Providence & Worcester RR in 1882. This now houses the headquarters of the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. For more information visit; NPS and Blackstone Valley-RI . Also home of the THE POLAR EXPRESS . The Blackstone Valley Polar Express is a special local holiday attraction because the author of the book, Chris Van Allsburg, lived in Rhode Island. This train ride leaves from here. Right takes you across the Court Street Bridge high above the Blackstone River. Beautiful stone mill buildings along your right. Across the bridge at Court Square (0.5 miles) you'll find another beautiful old stone building.
The paved trail now travels above the Market Square parking lot and out to River St at 1.8 miles.
Note; Lots to check out here. The Blackstone Canal opened for business in 1828 here. Spot the brick Market Square pavilion across the parking lot (historical information). To the left of the pavilion and across Main St is a converted mill (now a restaurant) next to the river. Next to that is the brick MUSEUM OF WORK & CULTURE . Across River St is an overlook for the Blackstone River Thunder Mist Falls (dam).
To reach the final paved off-road trail section in RI you'll need to travel on-road 1.2 miles. Head right on-road along River St (low traffic/sidewalk available). The Blackstone River is across the street. Cross some RR tracks. Cross a 2nd set of RR tracks and turn right up Blackstone St (residential) just before the river. This is a steep hill that levels out when you reach Harris Ave. Continue left on-road (wide shoulder) up a slight incline to Highland St. On your left is Cold Spring Park. Travel downhill alongside the park to Katherine Rd and the park's entrance on your left. Follow the road into the park, past a playground, ball field and tennis courts to the Cold Spring Park parking lot after 3 miles. The paved Blackstone River Bikeway; Woonsocket Section picks up here next to the Blackstone River.
Note; I believe the trail will continue left along the river?
The trail travels north alongside the river atop the dyke past old mill buildings. Pass by (Mile Marker 19.5) and cross Singleton St (bridge over river) and continue north where a pedestrian bridge will cross the river to North Smithfield. The trail continues alongside the river, past (Mile Marker 20) to the Massachusetts border after 3.6 miles. Nice shaded spot here along the river.
The next section in MA is currently under construction, as of June 2021 and involves the restoration of a seven-span viaduct to connect to the finished section in Blackstone, MA. See; Blackstone River Bikeway-MA .
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