PROVIDENCE RIVER TRAIL:
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: July 11, 2015
Length: Providence River Trail; 4.4 mile Loop
Providence Spur; 1.6 mile Loop
Collier Point Park Spur; 1.5 mile Loop
Difficulty: Providence River Trail; Easy. Mostly flat paved and brick trail. Providence Riverwalk; Cobblestone trail.
Providence Spur; Moderate. Some hills and on-road sections.
Collier Point Park Spur; Moderate. On-road section not recommended for kids on bikes.
Starting from India Point Park parking lot; From I-195 eastbound take exit 2. Turn left on India St and the India Point Park parking lot will be on your right. From I-195 westbound take exit 3. Turn left on Gano St and travel underneath I-195. Take your first left and follow India St to the India Point Park parking lot on your left.
The Providence River Trail is a series of paved paths that travel alongside the Providence River in Providence. It also includes the Providence Riverwalk, which allows biking, but is a narrow cobblestone path and can be crowded at times. Starting from India Point Park a paved trail brings you out to the southern end of the Providence River, then travels north along the eastern side of the river to downtown Providence. From there I've created a loop path that will take you past the Roger Williams National Memorial, State Capitol and Providence Place Mall (Access to the Woonasquatucket River Greenway). You'll then travel south along the western side of the river looping back to India Point Park. I've created another side excursion that will bring you out to Collier Point Park where you can check out the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier. From India Point Park you can also check out the India Point Park Loop Trail , Blackstone River Bikeway; RI and East Bay Bike Path .
Starting from India Point Park parking lot; 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; Heading left will bring you to the Blackstone River Bikeway.
Turn right and follow the paved trail to another intersection and continue straight. You'll pass a tunnel and start of the East Bay Bike Path on your right before coming to an intersection. Head right along a wide paved trail that will take you up to the India Point Park Bridge after only 0.2 miles. A ramp takes you up to the top of the pedestrian bridge that crosses over I-195. Nice views of Providence Harbor and the windmills further south. Cross the freeway and head left via a wide sidewalk alongside George M Cohan Blvd. Pick up a paved trail on your left at 0.5 miles and follow it out along Benefit St. Beautiful stone church here. Come to Wickenden St and turn left crossing S Main St. At S Water St a cross-light will take you over Wickenden St where you head left over S Water St.
East Side of Providence River:
A wide paved trail now travels north along the East Side of the Providence River between the Providence River and S Water St. Come to the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge after 1 mile.
The Providence River Pedestrian Bridge connects the East Side to the Innovation District on the West Side utilizing the old I-195 piers where the highway used to cross the river. There are 2 levels with the lower level leading to a promenade overlooking the river.
Informational boards and sculptures line the trail. The trail consists of boardwalk, paved surface or a wide brick lined sidewalk. You pass by a boat launch and another short boardwalk. Pass by the South Water Street Pedestrian Bridge, which crosses the river and come to the S Water Street Bridge where you'll find a crosswalk over to a set of stairs leading into Memorial Park. If you bear right at the stairs you'll come to a ramp that leads into the park. A brick lined path takes you past water fountains, picnic tables, benches and all the Veteran Memorials. Cross College St past two pedestrian bridges and the College Street Bridge. Continue along the brick lined path with a lower level below. Cross Washington St and you'll come to Steeple St. A cross-light will take you diagonally over to the Steeple Street Bridge to a brick courtyard in front of One Citizens Plaza at 1.7 miles. This is where the Moshassuck & Woonasquatucket Rivers meet to form the Providence River.
Note; From here you can take a detour to check out the Roger Williams National Memorial, State Capitol & Providence Place Mall, where you can access the Woonasquatucket River Greenway, before Looping back to here. See; Providence Spur Below.
From the front of One Citizens Plaza [Continuing mileage]; Follow the brick path past the left side of the building and down to the cobblestone Providence Riverwalk. The trail is narrow and not recommended during busy times. This is where the WATERFIRE takes place. Travel underneath Exchange St and past a pedestrian bridge over the river and you'll come to Waterplace Park. Come to another pedestrian bridge (General Pershing Bridge) at 1.9miles and cross over. Straight leads to a set of stairs that take you up to the Providence Place Mall. You'll need to head right, the left to access a ramp down to the Riverwalk. Travel back along the southern side of the Riverwalk, passing by a tunnel underneath Memorial Blvd to Union Plaza on your right. Travel underneath Exchange St again and you come to a paved trail that will take you out of the Riverwalk and up to Memorial Blvd. turn left over the Steeple Street Bridge and you'll return to One Citizens Plaza at 2.2 miles. Retrace your route back along the East Side of the Providence River to the S Water St Bridge. Cross the South Water Street Pedestrian Bridge over the river (spot the old granite Custom House straight ahead) to the West Side of river.
West Side of Providence River:
Head left along a cement trail. Informational boards and picnic tables located here. Pass by the RI Irish Famine Memorial and a Butterfly Garden. Just past this garden head right up the path to a road. A paved trail heads left alongside this road and above the river. I haven't checked out this new section yet. You connect to a wide cement path that brings you back to the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge. The trail now turns right out to Eddy St at 2.9 miles. Crosswalk takes you over to a BIKE LANE. Head left along Eddy St. Pass by the old brick Narragansett Electric Lighting Company and out to Point Street where you'll find a cross-light at 3.2 miles.
Note; From Point Street [Re-zeroing mileage] you can access Collier Point Park via a short on-road detour. Not recommended for kids on bikes. [Re-zeroing mileage] Continue straight along Eddy St where the BIKE LANE ends as the road splits. Bear left to Route 1A where you'll need to utilize a cross-light left over Route 1A. Continue along Route 1A following the sidewalk underneath I-195. Just past the hurricane barriers turn left on Henderson St. Blue street lamps line this street. Follow to Collier Point Park where you'll find a lookout tower and four fishing piers. A paved trail travels from the tower, past the fishing piers and past several large pieces of old machinery displayed. An electric Trolley Line used to travel here. Picnic tables and benches overlooking the Providence Harbor, where the Providence & Seekonk Rivers meet. The trail turns to stone-dust and splits with both trails leading to a parking lot underneath I-195 at 0.7 miles. Views of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier and the red tug boats across the harbor at Fox Point. Return to Point Street for a 1.5 mile Loop.
Heading left along Point Street [Continuing mileage] follow the sidewalk to the bridge. Just before crossing the bridge turn right into Point Park where you'll follow a boardwalk out to an overlook of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier. Follow the brick path back out to Point St and cross the Point Street Bridge back to the East Side of the Providence River. Continue straight past Bridge St to S Water St at 3.6 miles and turn right. Travel on-road (low traffic) to Tockwotton St (Just before I-195) and turn right. This will bring you to Bridge St where you'll find a small park alongside the river and Fox Point Hurricane Barrier. Map board and informational signs. Head left on Bridge St underneath I-195 along a wide sidewalk and you'll pass by the Fox Point Observatory. Continue left on-road along India St. Just past the Community Boating Center you'll pick up a wide paved trail on your right that returns you to India Point Park. Bear left and pass by the India Point Park Bridge and tunnel to the East Bay Bike Path on your left before returning to the India Point Park parking lot after a 4.4 mile Loop.
[Re-zeroing mileage] Follow a brick path past the right side of One Citizens Plaza and alongside the Moshassuck River. The brick path gives way to a short, narrow stone-dust path out to Park Row. Head right across the river, then follow the crosswalks over Canal St. Here you'll find brick lined paths that travel through the Roger Williams National Memorial grounds. All paths eventually lead to the Roger Williams National Memorial Visitor Center which fronts N Main St at 0.3 miles. Restrooms and water fountain located here. After visiting head left along N Main St and turn left down Smith St. A series of cross-lights takes you over Canal St where you follow a sidewalk up Smith St (slight hill) crossing over the RR Line. Cross State St where you pick up a brick sidewalk. Reach the top of the hill next to the Dept of Transportation at 0.6 miles and a brick crosswalk will take you over to the State Capitol. If you wish to tour the Capitol this is the side you enter from. After your visit head left back down Smith St along the brick sidewalk, past a parking lot to Gaspee St and turn right. Immediately to your right spot a narrow stone-dust path. Follow this path to a wide gravel path and continue left through the state grounds. Come to the intersection of Gaspee and Francis Streets. Head right up a wide brick path to the base of the State Capitol. After climbing the granite steps and checking out the view head back to Gaspee and Francis Streets along the other wide brick path. Cross-light over Gaspee St where you follow the sidewalk along the left side of Francis St before quickly picking up a wide stone trail on your left. Follow this trail across an open area to a sidewalk and follow the sidewalk right out to Finance Way. Head right to a crosswalk over Finance Way where a set of stairs lead down to the Providence Riverwalk at 1.2 miles.
Note; A crosswalk over Francis St brings you to the Providence Place Mall. If you head through the opening, where the Woonasquatucket River flows under the mall, it will bring you to the start of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway .
Head back along Finance St via a wide sidewalk and you come to a promenade on your right that overlooks Waterplace Park and the Providence Riverwalk. Continue on-road along Finance St, then take your first right down Exchange St and your next left along Stillman St. Finally take a right down Park Row to return to the short, narrow stone-dust path on your right before the Moshassuck River. This leads to the brick path that returns you to the Steeple Street Bridge and One Citizens Plaza after a 1.6 mile loop.
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT