BLACKSTONE RIVER BIKEWAY; MA
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: Sept 26, 2020
Length: Blackstone River Bikeway: Millbury-Worcester section; 3 miles
Blackstone River Bikeway: Worcester On-road section; 2.3 miles
Blackstone River Bikeway: Blackstone-Millville section; 3.7 miles
Middle River Trail; 0.6 miles
Difficulty: Blackstone River Bikeway: Millbury-Worcester section; Moderate. Paved trail, but hilly.
Blackstone River Bikeway: Blackstone-Millville section; Easy. Paved rail trail.
Middle River Trail; Easy. Stone-dust & boardwalk.
To start from the Millbury Street parking
lot (Worcester/Millbury); From I-90,
take exit 94. Take Route 146 north to the Ballard St/Millbury St exit
and head south down Millbury St. The parking lot is located on your right,
across from Cliff St.
To start from the North Main Street parking
lot (Millbury); From I-90, take
exit 94. Take Route 146 south to the Route 122A exit. Turn right
at the end of the ramp head east on McCracken Rd to the parking lot which is
located just down from the exit ramp on your right. Coming from Route 146
northbound, take the Route 122A exit. Turn right at the end of the ramp
and the parking lot is located on your right.
To start from the Adams Street parking lot
Route 146 take exit 1 to Route 146A. From the Northbound Exit turn right
to Route 146A and take your first left onto Providence St, then left on Adams
St. From the Southbound Exit turn right to Route 146A and take your second right onto Providence St, then left on Adams
To start from the Millville
Lock parking lot (Millville);
From Route 146 take exit 1 to Route 146A and head south to Route 5
(Central St). Turn left and travel 1.1 miles to Hope St and the parking lot.
To start from the Canal Street parking lot
(Blackstone); From Route 146 in RI take
exit 14 to Route 146A and head southeast. Turn left
on St Paul St and travel 1.5 miles into Massachusetts turning left on Canal St.
The parking lot will be 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. The Blackstone River Bikeway traverses this corridor running from Worcester to Providence. See; Blackstone Canal Towpath & Blackstone River Bikeway; RI . For more information visit; BLACKSTONE HERITAGE CORRIDOR .
from the North Main Street parking lot in Millbury;
The trail currently only heads north, so cross over the off-ramp for Route 146.
A cross light has been installed. Travel across Route 146 via the pedestrian bridge that
runs alongside auto bridge. Notice the bridges color
scheme of purple. All along this trail, the bridges have a color scheme and some
interesting iron work. The bridge takes you over Route 146 and the Blackstone River,
then underneath Route 122A and down alongside the river. On your right is where the old McCracken
Bridge used to cross the river. A new blue access bridge is now in its place. A blue metal fence guides you between the river
on your right and the active railroad tracks to your left. Lots of River
Birch trees along the river. Next, you'll cross over the Worchester Flood
Diversion Channel flowing into the river via two blue painted trestle bridges at
0.5 miles. An active railroad
bridge crosses here as well on your left. Cross another blue trestle bridge over the river. After passing through open
fields you travel underneath I-90
and then a second blue overpass where the trail heads down
next to the river. If you look left you can see the large
rail yard for the Providence & Worcester Railroad. After
passing under Routes 20 & 146 (green bridges), you travel up to a spur trail at 1.2 miles.
The trail currently only heads north, so cross over the off-ramp for Route 146. A cross light has been installed. Travel across Route 146 via the pedestrian bridge that runs alongside auto bridge. Notice the bridges color scheme of purple. All along this trail, the bridges have a color scheme and some interesting iron work. The bridge takes you over Route 146 and the Blackstone River, then underneath Route 122A and down alongside the river. On your right is where the old McCracken Bridge used to cross the river. A new blue access bridge is now in its place. A blue metal fence guides you between the river on your right and the active railroad tracks to your left. Lots of River Birch trees along the river. Next, you'll cross over the Worchester Flood Diversion Channel flowing into the river via two blue painted trestle bridges at 0.5 miles. An active railroad bridge crosses here as well on your left. Cross another blue trestle bridge over the river. After passing through open fields you travel underneath I-90 and then a second blue overpass where the trail heads down next to the river. If you look left you can see the large rail yard for the Providence & Worcester Railroad. After passing under Routes 20 & 146 (green bridges), you travel up to a spur trail at 1.2 miles.
Note; Right takes you up to Route 20 east.
You'll cross over a boundary marker separating Millbury and Worchester and come to a second spur trail at 1.4 miles.
Note; This trail takes you up to Route 20 west.
You'll reach the Millbury Road parking lot at 1.5 miles. A map board is located here but only shows the section of trail located in Worchester. A Bike Station is also located here. Next you'll cross a green iron bridge over some wetlands and follow a nice wooden fence with the Blackstone River on your left. After traveling underneath Route 146 (green bridge), the trail then parallels Route 146 on your right and railroad tracks to your left.. This area is full of wildflowers and other plantings. Travel underneath the green Blackstone River Road Bridge and come to an intersection at 2.3 miles.
Note; A spur trail right takes you up to Blackstone River Rd.
Continue straight alongside the river past the shopping plaza to a crosswalk over the access road. Continue north alongside the access Rd which crosses over the river. Just before you come to McKeon St a paved trail comes in from the right.
Note; Straight brings you to McKeon St where you'll have to use a cross-light to get over to the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center at Worchester.
Instead head right along the paved trail which travels underneath McKeon St, alongside the river and up to the BLACKSTONE HERITAGE CORRIDOR VISITOR CENTER at WORCHESTER where the paved trail ends after 3 miles. Restrooms, water fountain here and picnic tables. Free. This is the start of the Blackstone River, where Mill Brook and the Middle River merge.
Note; You can also access BLACKSTONE GATEWAY PARK and the Middle River Trail (pedestrian trail) along the Middle River. Exit the Visitor Center out to McKeon Rd and head right across the RR tracks to the start of the trail. [I walked my bike along the 0.6 mile trail] Benches, informational boards located along this trail. You cross over the Middle River on a small bridge. To your right is a small dam and RR bridge. A series of boardwalks travel along the river and marsh with overlooks. Other sections are stone-dust. Two different bridges cross the river but all lead to the boardwalk that travels the opposite bank. Finally the stone-dust trail winds out to McKeon Rd after 0.7 miles.
Cross McKeon Rd to the College of the Holy Cross campus. Here you can explore the college. Note; The campus is on a hill so some uphill climbs lie ahead. See; Campus Map Below.
WORCESTER ON-ROAD SECTION:
Note; A new route is currently under construction as of April 2021. This route will utilize the BIKE LANE along Quinsigamond Ave before turning right on Lamartine St and left on Hermon St out to Francis McGrath Blvd. Right will follow a CYCLE TRACK to Green St where the cement and brick path is complete to Front St. Right brings you to Union Station.
To continue to Union Station in Worcester and the start of the Blackstone River Bikeway, you'll need to travel on-road. From the north side of the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center at Worchester travel across Route 146 via the red pedestrian bridge to Vernon and Millbury Streets. Travel right (north) on-road along Millbury St (shoulder gets wider/sidewalk available). Millbury St parallels Route 146. Travel up and over a hill past 5th Ave. Just past Whitney Ave you'll come to a crosswalk at 4 miles. Head left across Millbury St to a wide sidewalk that takes you underneath I-290 to Quinsigamond Ave. Head right underneath the off-ramp and you come to Old Millbury St. Travel on-road along Old Millbury St. When you pass Ashmont Ave at 4.2 miles you continue along a BIKE LANE through an urban corridor. Use Caution when you reach Kelly Square. A couple of crosswalks will get you across this heavily traveled traffic circle to Water St. This is a one-way street, so the BIKE LANE is on the left side of the street. Come to another busy intersection after 5 miles for Grafton and Winter Streets. A couple of crosswalks on your right will get you over Grafton St to a sidewalk underneath I-290. Continue straight (north) on-road along Grafton St. Travel underneath a RR bridge and you'll come to a traffic circle at 5.3 miles. To your left is Union Station in Worcester and the start of the Blackstone River Bikeway. Be sure to check out the interior of this 1911 granite structure with its marble walls and domed ceiling. MBTA Station that travels to Boston.
Note; If you are starting your trip from Union Station in Worcester, Travel west along Front St underneath the RR Bridge, past the bus depot to Foster St. A wide sidewalk then heads left along Foster St past the WRTA . Brick crosswalks over Franklin St where you'll pass a Dog Park before coming to Green St. Head left underneath the RR Bridge along a BIKE LANE. Just before Kelly Square turn right onto Harding St (One-way). Here you'll find an informational board about the Blackstone Canal. Continue along Harding St passing by Crompton Park before merging with Old Millbury St and Quinsigamond Ave where you travel left underneath I-290 to Millbury St. Head right up Millbury St until you come to the red pedestrian bridge that will take you over Route 146 to the BLACKSTONE HERITAGE CORRIDOR VISITOR CENTER at WORCHESTER . See Above.
Starting from the Canal Street parking lot (Blackstone); This section of the Blackstone River Bikeway follows the old rail bed of the former New Haven Railroad's Midland Division and is part of the Southern New England Trunkline Trail .
Note; Heading south the trail crosses an old RR bridge over St Paul St and another over the old Blackstone Canal and Canal St towards the RI border. The trail currently ends here as of Sept 2020. The next section will traverse a 7 span viaduct to RI border in 2020/21.
Heading north you immediately cross an old RR bridge over the Blackstone River. To your left an active RR crosses the river. Cross another old RR bridge over Canal St followed by a bridge over an access path/road? Another bridge over Main St brings you past a small pocket playground. Here you can access the town of Blackstone. Travel through a tunnel underneath Church St followed by two more bridges over a fork of the Blackstone River (Head Pond). Another tunnel takes you underneath Main St at 1.3 miles before coming to the Triad Bridge at 1.5 miles. Here you cross over the Blackstone River and an active RR bridge on an old RR bridge. Looking right you'll see the old abutments for a third RR bridge that would have crossed overhead (Built in the late 1800's, this tiered bridge crisscrosses the Blackstone River at three different heights to allow three railroad lines to intersect and cross the Blackstone River. The third tier, however, was never built as the Titanic Railroad went out of business before it was completed.). Come to a bike rack and benches at 1.9 miles.
Note; Here a gravel path leads down to the old stone Millville Lock (1828) next to the Blackstone River.
Continuing along the trail you'll pas by an old cement RR Whistle marker before coming to the Millville Lock parking lot at 2.4 miles. Cross Central St where the trail travels through a more residential corridor. Pass through a deep rock cut underneath some power transmission lines at 3.3 miles before crossing a high berm. The trail then turns off the old rail bed bringing you down to the Adams Street parking lot and the end of the trail at 3.7 miles. The old SNETT crosses Route 146A before terminating at Route 146.
Note; Future plans call for continuing the trail north to eventually connect into the Millbury section. As of June 2019 it is in the Design Phase.
Note; Future plans call for connecting to the SNETT. As of June 2019 it is in the Design Phase.
CLICK HERE FOR MA MAP
CLICK HERE FOR MA-RI MAP
CLICK HERE FOR HOLY CROSS CAMPUS MAP
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JULY 4, 2016
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT