Blackstone River North – Woonsocket/North Smithfield/Lincoln

  • Blackstone River Bikeway – North
  • Davison Avenue, Woonsocket, RI
  • Trailhead: 42° 0’2.26″N, 71°29’54.91″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 6, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.1 miles
  • Easy.

I’ve decided to walk the Blackstone River Bikeway and take in the sights along the way. I’ve broken it up into three sections, all around 3 miles in length. The route I describe will be a one way route, therefore, if you are not doing a car spot you must double the distance listed. I also decided to start in Woonsocket and work my way south for this walk. Starting from the parking area on Davison Avenue, the bike path first follows an access road to the athletic complex. Soon we were passing a soccer field and then following the bike path that lies between the Blackstone River and the Providence & Worcester railroad tracks. Along the bike path there are mile markers. The distances listed are the miles to Providence. Interesting enough there are mile markers along the railroad as well. The “P” stands for Providence and the “W” stands for Worcester. We came across some ducks and swans in some of the inlets of the river. The trees were in spring bloom and the colors were reminiscence of autumn. Next we came to a granite marker with the names of the three towns that converge here. Soon we were passing under the highway bridge that carries Route 99 over the Blackstone. From under the bridge you can get a sense of how deep the valley is here by how high the bridge is. We then came to an area along the river that had a channel next to it. This is one of the sections of what is left of the Blackstone Canal. The canal was built in the 1820’s to connect Providence and Worcester. It would remain in operation until the late 1840’s. By then the railroad had become the primary means of transportation. Most of the canal today has been filled in or is covered in thick brush. The final highlight of this portion of the walk is the Manville Dam. It was built in 1868 and a few years later a mill was built at this site. The mill at the time was the largest textile mill in the United States. We then continued passing under Manville Hill Road and making our way to the parking lot off of New River Road. A couple weeks later we would continue our walk onto the next section of the bike path.

Trail map can be found at: Blackstone River North.

Manville Dam.

Manville Dam.

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