- Blackstone Canal
- Interstate 295, Lincoln, RI
- Trailhead: 41°56’22.58″N, 71°26’39.25″W
- Last Time Hiked: June 4, 2015
- Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
- Easy with some slight elevation
Long before highways and even before the railroad came through these parts, the Blackstone Canal was the primary means of transporting goods from Providence to Worcester. The canal and its several locks ran along side the Blackstone River and was in use in the early 1800’s. Today most of it is long forgotten. It has been either covered over or nature has taken it back. But here in Lincoln a long stretch of it has survived the test of time and is well preserved for all of us to look back at yesteryear. It seems very fitting that this walk starts from the visitor center along Interstate 295 North. There is a 0.8 mile long stretch of bike path that winds gently down to the Blackstone River Bike Path. Following this stretch of bike path the roaring sound of the interstate soon vanishes and is replaced by the sound of the water falling over the Ashton Dam. I first came to a spur of the bike path that led to the right. I continued straight following it further downhill and the canal soon appeared on my left. I soon came to a path on the left with a wooden bridge. I continued straight again. I would return over that bridge toward the end of the walk. After walking under the large arched bridge that carries Route 116 over the Blackstone River I turned left and crossed a bridge toward the Kelly House Museum. This area features several granite bollards with inscriptions on them of structures that stood years ago including the Kelly Mill, the barn, and the 1825 Towpath Bridge. I then turned right, keeping the house was on my left and the canal on my right. After passing the barn site the “road” turns to the left. I continued straight (bearing slightly right) onto the towpath the follows the edge of the canal. The towpath ends at the Blackstone River Bike Path. Here I turned left following the bike path back to the large arch bridge. I then turned left and made a quick right passing through a parking lot under the bridge that leads to another trail. This trail first passes the Kelly Mill site and then the wooden bridge (on the left) before dead ending. At the end on the right is the Blackstone River as it cascades over the Ashton Dam, on the left is one of the old locks on the canal. From here I retraced my steps back to the wooden bridge. Take a moment to look at the canal from the wooden bridge. Here is the best vantage point to look at the stone work of the canal walls. After crossing the wooden bridge I then turned right following the bike path back to the parking lot at the visitors center.
I did not find a map on-line.