WOONASQUATUCKET RIVER GREENWAY:

JOHNSTON-PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      May 16, 2024

Length:                Woonasquatucket River Greenway; 5 miles 

                               Buttonhole Golf Course Trail-Merino Park Trail; 1.4 miles                                          

Difficulty:            Woonasquatucket River Greenway; Easy. Paved, flat trail. 

Directions:

To start from Providence [Eastern End]; 

From Routes 6 & 10; Head east on Route 6. Take the Dean St exit. Head left (north) on Dean St and turn right onto Providence Place ( one-way eastbound) heading towards the Providence Place Mall

From I-95; Take exit 37D to Providence Place (one-way eastbound) and turn right, heading towards the Providence Place Mall

You can park at the Providence Place Mall (parking fee). Commercial parking lots available off Promenade St (one-way westbound). These two streets are divided by the Woonasquatucket River. A BIKE LANE is utilized from Providence Place to Riverside Mills Park. Not recommended for kids on bikes.

To start from Riverside Mills Park [Central Section]; From Route 6, take the Hartford Ave exit and travel east. Turn left onto Manton Ave and then your next left onto Aleppo St. The Park will be on your left. This is the recommended starting point if biking with kids.

The Woonasquatucket River Greenway follows the Woonasquatucket River from Providence Northwest to Johnston. Future plans will extend the trail to Smithfield line for a total of 8 miles. Part of the trail follows the rail bed of the former 1873 Providence & Springfield Railroad which was the acquired by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad around 1900. For more information Check out; WOONASQUATUCKET RIVER WATERSHED , BIKE RI or  EAST COAST GREENWAY .    

Starting from the Providence Place Mall in Providence [Eastern End]; The BIKE LANE section of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway starts at the entrance to the Providence Place Mall parking garage.

Note; Plans are underway to create an off-road path from the Mall to Eagle Ave (where a paved trail exists). See; Project Plans . Construction planned for 2024.

Note; Before you head out, I would suggest a quick detour to check out downtown Providence and the River Walk area. Just head up the ramp that travels under the mall and it will bring you up to Francis St, in the front of the mall. To your left is the State Capitol. Straight ahead is the River Walk. Great views of the downtown skyline from here.  

From the parking garage exit, the Woonasquatucket River flows underneath the mall. You need to head along Promenade St (one-way Westbound) using the BIKE LANE

Note; On your return trip you'll use the BIKE LANE along Providence Place (one-way Eastbound).

The Woonasquatucket River flows between these two streets, with several crossing points along the way. Come to Acorn Street at 0.6 miles.

Note; Alternate Route; From *Acorn Street turn left and cross the river to Kinsley Ave. Head right utilizing another BIKE LANE (both ways). This is an industrial area with old mills and even an old railroad trestle bridge over the river. Cross *Eagle Street at 1 mile to a paved section of the trail. 

From *Acorn Street continue straight along Promenade St where it becomes Hemlock St at a sharp curve. Cross the grass medium & sidewalk to a parking lot and continue straight. You'll pick up the trail as it  travels between the Woonasquatucket River and the old brick Alco mill buildings. Pass by 2 old RR bridges that crossed the river to service this old mill. This trail consists of stone-dust, paving, pavers stones and sidewalk. It continues past several parking lots before coming to *Eagle Street at 1 mile.

This section winds through old mill buildings, now converted for retail space. Small brown route signs along the trail. Turn right when you reach the double-wide sidewalk. Eagle Square Plaza parking lot here. Cross Ericson PL to the paved trail which travels alongside the river. When you reach the green bridge turn right and cross over the river. Then turn immediately left. This is the Price Rite parking area. Follow the paved trail South out to **Atwells Ave at 1.3 miles

Note; Heading left, across a pedestrian bridge over the river to a crosswalk, turn right over Atwells Ave and you'll come to the paved Woonasquatucket River Greenway. Map Board. This section will also serve as a future connection to the Washington Secondary Bike Path . The trail travels alongside the Woonasquatucket River, passing by the Gotham Greenhouses on your left and a small overlook on your right with an informational sign. Past the greenhouse building look left to spot the old shipping containers now transformed into a building. Come to De Soto St after 0.25 miles where it currently ends. I would assume that future plans will continue the trail right along the river to **Valley Street.

Current Detour; From **Atwells Ave a cross-walk takes you over to Tuxedo Ave. Travel down Tuxedo Ave, then right up Amherst St (residential streets) to **Valley Street. Cross over Valley St and enter Donigian Park (Map Board, sports fields & courts, playground) where the wide paved trail travels West

Note; A narrow paved path Loops around Donigian Park.

The trail travels to the back of the park and South alongside the river. Cross a bridge over the river (look left to spot a dam & fish ladder) and you'll come to Sonoma Ct. Follow this short Dead End street out to Delaine St at 1.8 miles. Turn left on Delaine St (low traffic) BIKE SHARROWS. Check out the converted Cuban Restaurant and apartments in the old mill complex at the end of Delaine St. Look up and spot the artwork attached to the old chimney. Turn right on Valley St and follow the BIKE SHARROWS to San Souci Dr on your right where you'll pick up the paved path heading West at 2 miles. This brings you alongside the river again. Come to Manton Ave and head right Northwest (Caution; no shoulder/sidewalk available) detouring around the river. After 1 block you'll pick up a 2 WAY SEPARATED BIKE LANE along the left side of the street. Slight hill as you pass by an old mill on your left with two domed towers before a double-wide sidewalk brings you to Aleppo St. Head left on-road (BIKE SHARROWS) down this road and you'll quickly pick up the paved trail on your left at 2.5 miles. Nice murals. Map Board. On your right is the Riverside Mills Park parking lot. The wide, paved trail now travels through Riverside Mills Park . Past here the trail is all off-road the rest of the way. Pass by a platform overlooking a dam & fish ladder, a playground, community garden, picnic tables and the RED SHED BIKE SHOP in an old red shipping container. Check out the wild "bike" artwork. Follow the trail along the river and fields. You'll come to an intersection on your left at 3 miles. Red poles. Map Board.

*Note; This Spur Trail crosses a pedestrian bridge over Route 6 to the Merino Park Trail, from which, you can also connect to the Buttonhole Golf Course Trail via a short on-road route. The Buttonhole Golf Course Trail also connects back to the Woonasquatucket River Greenway further North of here. On my return trip, I utilized the Buttonhole Golf Course Trail-Merino Park Trail to Loop back here. See; Buttonhole Golf Course Trail-Merino Park Trail Below

The trail now travels out to and alongside Route 6. Pass by a Spur Trail on your right. Map Board.

Note; This Spur Trail brings you out to Salmon St.

You pull away from Route 6 and travel under the Glenbridge Ave Bridge along the old rail bed. This section is a bit more secluded. You'll come to another Spur Trail at 3.6 miles on the right.

Note; This Spur Trail leads uphill, past the Manton Ave Skate Park to Manton Ave, where you'll find a small memorial and Map Board.

Continue over a small bridge where, if you look right, you'll spot an old railroad bridge that was probably part of a siding to the building up ahead. Cross another bridge over the Woonasquatucket River and soon you'll come to another Spur Trail on your left at 3.8 miles.  

**Note; This is the paved Buttonhole Golf Course Trail. I utilized this trail to Loop back to the Woonasquatucket River Greenway South of here. See; Buttonhole Golf Course Trail-Merino Park Trail Below

Continuing along the wooded trail you travel alongside the river before coming to Manton Ave at 4.3 miles. A sign board and informational plaque is located here. Two cross-lights take you over Manton Ave and back along the trail. Come to Goldsmith St. 

Note; Right leads to a dam and fish ladder on the Woonasquatucket River.

Come to Lyman Ave where the trail currently ends after 5 miles. Another sign board located here.

Note; Just before Lyman Ave, a gravel trail on your right leads to another dam and overlook of the lake.

Future plans call for continuing the trail North along the river to Cricket Field in Johnston.

Buttonhole Golf Course Trail-Merino Park Trail:

**Starting from the Buttonhole Golf Course Trail access off the Woonasquatucket River Greenway [Northern End]; Follow the paved Buttonhole Golf Course Trail up a short hill alongside the golf course and past the Driving Range out to King Philip St. The trail parallels King Philip St out to Buttonhole Dr. Short on-road section to Glenbridge Ave. Turn right on-road and cross the bridge over Route 6. On your left you'll pick up the paved Merino Park Trail at 0.8 miles. Map Board. You'll also find the WOONASQUATUCKET ADVENTURE PARK parking lot here. The Woony Adventure Park shares a lot of history with Merino Park. Both sites are located near the old Lincoln Lace & Braid Company. The site was formerly a sheep farm, a factory yard, a swimming and skating pond, a soccer field and abandoned park, a landfill dump, and a road-salt storage area. The park consists or will consist of Cyclocross & Pump Tracks, Parkour & Bike Skills Areas, River overlook and rough-hewn black locust picnic tables & benches. Travel down between the Woonasquatucket River and Bike Track areas. Cross a bridge over the river and enter Merino Park. Here the trail turns left and travels around sports fields to the Merino Park parking lot at 1.2 miles. Mural, Map Board, sports court, Porto-Potty and playground here. A narrow paved trail circles the park. A ramp takes you up to a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Route 6 and the Woonasquatucket River before delivering you back to the *Woonasquatucket River Greenway after 1.4 miles

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