Posts Tagged ‘ Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park ’

Tablerock Hill – Lincoln

  • Tablerock Hill – Lincoln Woods State Park
  • Stump Hill Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°53’42.13″N, 71°25’36.62″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 23, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Moderate due to terrain, navigation can be difficult.

 

A few quick notes about this hike. Lincoln Woods is notorious for having many unmarked trails that one could easily get lost on. It is highly recommendable that you use a GPS device if you choose to embark on this hike. Although I tried to keep it as easy as possible (as far as navigation) I think improvements can be made. Some of this hike is road walking and I do believe there are other trails that can eliminate that. I fully intend on returning to this area of Lincoln Woods to explore further and finalize a route.

 

This hike starts at the dam at the eastern end of Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods. There is a parking area suitable for about 15 cars. At the north end of the parking lot is the Jodi Lussier Memorial. Pass the rock and veer left to the right of large outcrop onto a trail that leads into a small valley.  Stay to the left and follow the wider trail that approaches the pond. To the right just before the pond is a trail to the right that climbs uphill. At the top of the hill you will encounter your first experience of multiple trails to choose from. For this hike, stay to the left to parallel the pond. The trail soon dips close to the shore and is marked with red squares. The trail winds, with the pond to left and a hill with boulders on right, up and over small hills following the red square blazes. Along the way there are several spots to view pond. Ahead the trail splits. The trail to the right comes out to an old woods road that you will be on later. For now stay close to the pond. The key is to continue ahead taking lefts to continue to parallel the pond. By doing so you will turn onto a peninsula onto a trail that leads out to Sunset Point. The trail turns to the right, still following the shore, around the point and up to a rock outcrop that overlooks the pond. From here continue to follow the trails along the ponds edge and it will come back to the old woods road. Turn left here and follow the road downhill, again continuing to follow the shore. The aptly named Boulderwood Cove is now on your left. To be sure you are where you should be, you should see a single boulder emerging from the water at this point. Ahead is another multiple trail intersection. Turn left and the trail almost immediately splits. Stay to the left again following the path by the shore once again. Another split is ahead, again stay to the left. Continuing straight ahead there are a couple spur trails to the right you will ignore. Soon you will pass a large balancing boulder on the right. Continue straight ahead following the most defined trail until you reach a flat area surrounding you with large rocks. Here the trail splits again. This time stay slightly to the right (straight) and up the small hill. This trail and another merge at the top of the hill. Stay to left towards the massive boulders. Continuing ahead the trail you are on merges with another. Continue ahead to road passing through picnic site 59. Across the road is picnic site 27. To the left of the site is the trail that scrambles uphill. Cross the road and follow this trail uphill to another massive ledge. Stay to the left of the large rock and follow the base of it to the other side. Continuing the trail narrows and continues straight ahead following faded green dots. Soon the trail abruptly turns left down a rock outcrop into a small valley and crosses a stream. The trail narrows even further, then takes sharp right at a large boulder. Follow the face of the boulder, the trail turns slightly left and then continues straight to Quinsicket Road. Turn right follow road passing picnic sites 29 through 32 on the right. On the left you will notice signs indicating that the trails are used by horse back riders. Follow the paved road up and over a significant hill. As the road starts to climb up again it bends to the left. There is a parking area on the right. Turn right here through the parking area toward row of concrete blocks and rocks that block the old woods road. Grass covered at first, and blazed blue, this trail heads east. To the right is the top of Tablerock Hill. The trail then starts to descend and becomes quite rocky. At the next split the blue blazes stay to left. Here you want to stay to the right and go downhill. The next intersection, at the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow dirt road that leads to picnic sites 2 and 3. Continuing pass the picnic sites you will soon turn right onto the road that wraps around a large field on the left. On the right is the entrance of picnic site 4. At the back of the site is a large ledge with an inscription in it about Bobby Donato, a local, who served in the United States Marines. Retracing you steps back to the road. Continue to the entrance of picnic site 5. Here at the sites entrance is a large outcrop known as Pulpit Rock. It is said that Metacom, a Wampanoag leader, would address his warriors here. Just beyond the picnic site are two trails. For this hike take the one to the left. It passes a small quarry on the left and a small pond on the right before it starts climbing uphill with a stone wall on the left. The trails soon come together, stay to the left here on the more defined trail. This trail continues to climb uphill and soon bends to the right. Ignore the trail to the left and continue another 30 feet or so to the next trail intersection. It is here you will turn left and follow the trail passing a boulder on your right. Continue straight, staying to the left trail downhill as it traverses over an outcrop and then soon a wooden bridge over a stream. To your left are picnic sites 10 and 11 and Goat Rock. For this hike continue straight. The trail here is a wide dirt path that also passes picnic sites 13 and 14 again on your left. Continue straight to the next intersection then veer to left. This trail leads you to the backside of some more picnic sites. Stay on the trail as it bends to the right up and over one last hill. At the top of the hill you will see the road ahead. This trail ends at the road intersection, cross the road and continue straight. You are now on Stump Hill Road and your car is ahead on the right.

 

Trail map can be found at: Tablerock Hill.

TWRI-TRH02

Boulderwood Cove

TWRI-Donato

Inscription In Donato Rock at Lincoln Woods.

Barney Pond – Lincoln

  • Barney Pond
  • Table Rock Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°54’8.96″N, 71°25’34.68″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 1, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.6 miles
  • Moderate to difficult due to navigation, otherwise fairly easy.

 

Lincoln Woods State Park is a sprawling property with miles and miles of unmarked trails. Most people that come here to walk do the loop trail around Olney Pond. But for the more adventurous there are places to see that most wouldn’t. Barney Pond, to most, is accessible along Smithfield Avenue in Lincoln. There is a small bridge and parking area here by the dam that creates the pond. On the opposite side is a series of trails that most people are not aware of. For this hike we explored that lesser known shore and other highlights of Lincoln Woods. Starting from a parking area at the baseball fields, we made our way down the road back towards the entrance and slightly downhill turning right into picnic site 5. Here at the sites entrance is a large outcrop known as Pulpit Rock. It is said that Metacom, a Wampanoag leader, would address his warriors here. Just beyond the picnic site are two trails. For this hike take the one to the left. It passes a small quarry on the left and a small pond on the right before it starts climbing uphill with a stone wall on the left. The trails soon come together, stay to the left here on the more defined trail. This trail continues to climb uphill and soon bends to the right. Ignore the trail to the left and continue another 30 feet or so to the next trail intersection. It is here you will turn left and follow the trail passing a boulder on your right. Continue straight, staying to the left trail downhill as it traverses over an outcrop and then soon a wooden bridge over a stream. After the bridge, turn left at the row of wood bollards into picnic sites 10 and 11. To the left is a massive outcrop known as Goat Rock, apparently named so because a goat once got stuck in one of its crevices. From here follow the road and stay to the left passing site 9 on the left and a large cluster of boulders on the right. Soon you will pass a gate and a wood guard rail to the right. Cross over Table Rock Road towards a large outcrop. Stay to the right of it and follow the road to picnic site 66 -80. After the road bends to the right start looking for picnic site 79 which is setback off the road. Cross through the picnic site to a trail at the back end of it. From this point forward navigation becomes difficult in areas. If you are not overly adventurous and/or do not have a good sense of direction you may reconsider this portion of the hike. GPS is also highly recommendable from this point forward. From the back of the picnic site follow the less define leaf covered trail slightly downhill away from the site. After a short distance turn left onto a trail that has been partially washed out. This trail looks like an old cartpath from yesteryear. It is obvious that people still use the trail but it is also obvious that it is not many people. The trail at times become very narrow, almost to the point of non-existence. Along this stretch we encountered deer. After going downhill for a bit the trail finally widens as you catch a glimpse of Threadmill Brook down in a valley to the right. Continuing straight and downhill, you will soon pass a trail on the left. Keep going straight passing a formation of stones in the trail that are obviously manmade. Ahead you will catch your first glimpse of Barney Pond. The main trail bends to the right here following the shore to a small bridge that crosses Threadmill Brook. Beyond the bridge is private property. For this hike, as the trail approaches the pond you want to turn to the left following the shore. You will soon find a narrow trail that parallels the west shore of the pond. The trail heads in a generally northerly direction and can be quite overgrown in areas, but it offers a few areas that overlook the pond. We were greeted by ducks and swans at one of these spots. Barney Pond is a manmade pond created when the Moshassuck River was dammed at Smithfield Avenue. The pond is about 25 acres and used primarily for fishing and kayaking. After passing a makeshift log “road” and a stone wall the trail widens as it enters a canopy of the woods. There is a homemade dock at a peninsula. From here the trail continues north into an area of Japanese Knotweed. In the height of summer the trail can vanish, quite literally. If the trail has been used recently you should be able to make your way through the broken knotweed. If not, your other choices are to retrace your steps or follow a faint trail from the homemade dock in a westerly/southwesterly direction up the hill where you should find a cartpath. That cartpath will lead you back to the trail that runs along Threadmill Brook. Either way, be sure to use GPS. For this hike, continue following the trail through the knotweed. It soon comes to the northern reaches of the pond, now slightly off into the distance to the right. This trail soon comes to Table Rock Road. If you have come this far, congratulations, well done! Turn right and follow the road to the shack. Here you will see the iconic Lincoln Woods covered bridge. Turn left onto the road to the baseball fields. Soon you will come to where your vehicle is parked. Again, this hike is only suggested for those who are comfortable being in the woods, adventurous and/or have a good sense of direction.

 

Trail Map can be found at: Barney Pond

TWRI-Barney

Swans on Barney Pond

Jenks Park – Central Falls

 

The largest park in the city of Central Falls offers a little less than a half mile of walking paths and a playground. The park adjacent to City Hall also has significant history and a tower that offers views of the surrounding area. The property is where Native Americans, up upon Dexter’s Ledge, first spotted a company of colonist soldiers during the King Phillips War in 1676. An ensuing battle took place nearby on the banks of the Blackstone River. During the battle a group of soldiers were taken prisoner and killed at Nine Men’s Misery in nearby Cumberland. The land that the park currently sits on was donated in 1890 and in 1904 Cogswell Tower was built upon Dexter’s Ledge. The tower is 70 feet tall and is the highest point in Central Falls. From the tower you see west to the Lincoln Highlands and south to Downtown Providence. Inside the tower is a winding wooden stairway that brings you to a platform just under the clock. Below the tower is one of Rhode Islands best kept secrets. In a vaulted chamber there is a grotto that sits under the tower. The walls are the sides of Dexter’s Ledge and the brick ceiling serves as the base of the tower. Tours are offered occasionally by the City of Central Falls.

TWRI-Jenks01

Cogswell Tower at Jenks Park

Shining Rock – Northbridge

  • Shining Rock – Richard T. Larkin Conservation Area
  • School Street, Northbridge, MA
  • Trailhead: 42° 9’0.54″N, 71°38’27.29″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Moderate uphill hike.

 

A fellow hiker, and birder, led this hike for a small group up to Shining Rock in the Richard T. Larkin Conservation Area. The trail-head is just north of the house across the street from the parking area. Parking is available directly across the street from 373 School Street. The trail immediately starts to climb upward along a rocky dirt path under a canopy of beech, pines, oaks, and maples. Along this path on the left is an area that has been quarried. The drill holes are quite evident along the obvious man-made cuts. The trail splits ahead and we stayed to the right. The trail is slightly washed out in areas and could be challenging during rain events. At the next intersection we turned right passing a small cave on the left before coming to another split. Here we stayed to the right descending quickly down a few rocks before climbing back up to the trails end at the Shining Rock overlook. From here you have a sweeping view of the Blackstone River Valley below. The local teens have used the rock as an artistic canvass with some rather respectable graffiti, mostly being that of environmental concerns like “Save the Bees”. Be sure not to get too close to the edge as the rock towers over the pine forest below. From here we followed a trail westerly along the ridge of the rock downhill until we reached the trail we came in on. From here we retraced our steps back to the car. Along this hike we heard the songs of an indigo bunting, as well as oven birds, an osprey, a red belly woodpecker. The birds we saw up close were robins, a tanager. An eagle and its eaglets were observed in the distance from the overlook.

TWRI-Shining05

The View From Atop Shining Rock

Seekonk River – Providence

  • Seekonk River – Blackstone Valley Bike Path
  • Pitman Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’36.39″N, 71°23’0.49″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 13, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Easy.

 

The newest section of the Blackstone River Bike Path is just about ready to be opened. With that being said, I ventured out to take a sneak peak at it. The short section of bike path, six tenths of a mile one way, runs from Pitman Street opposite Witherby Park southerly to Gano Street by the end of the exit ramp from Interstate 195. This section of the bike path takes bicyclists off of the very busy Gano and Pitman Streets and puts them along the shore of the Seekonk River. Starting adjacent to the Salvation Army property the bike path winds very gently up and over a couple small hills passing behind the Wingate Residences and the Eastside Marketplace at Cold Spring Point. Soon you will get your first glimpse of the 1908 Crook Point Bascule Bridge. This structure was in operation and used by trains until the mid 1970’s. The bridge was then put into its famous upright position and abandoned. Some consider it an eyesore, others think of it as historic. Nonetheless, it is one of Providences most recognizable sights. The bike path then passes along Gano Park and its ball fields. There is an informational board along this stretch that explains the history of the park and nearby area. After being forced from his original settlement across the river, this is (actually nearby at Slate Rock) is where Roger Williams, the founder of Providence and Rhode Island, first step foot onto the shore in 1636. You can actually see the monument from this point by looking over the soccer field towards Gano Street. Looking out towards the river you can see the Washington Bridge that carries Interstate 195 over the Seekonk River. Across the river is the East Providence waterfront. You will also see two small islands, aptly named Twin Islands. Locals call them Cupcake Island and Pancake Island which they resemble respectively. The river is usually busy with canoes, kayaks, boats, and the Brown University crew teams. The bike path then passes the Gano Street boat ramp before turning to the right and ending at Gano Street. From here you can return back to Pitman Street for the 1.2 mile walk or you can follow the sharrows to India Point Park. With the grand opening soon, this bike path serves as a vital link to connect the waterfront of Providence from Blackstone Park to India Point and ultimately into downtown at Waterplace Park.

TWRI-Seekonk

Crook Point Bascule Bridge from the Bike Path.

Millville Lock/Triad Bridge – Millville

 

This walk follows the old railroad bed of the Boston and Hartford Railroad easterly to the Blackstone River from the parking area on the corner of Central and Hope Streets. Just recently this stretch has been paved and is now part of the newly opened Blackstone Greenway Bike Path. The old rail bed is flanked by trees and shrubs as it passes a residential neighborhood. At the sitting bench just beyond the mid way point of this walk is a set of wooden stairs that leads to the trail that winds down to the former Blackstone Canal along the river. Just to the left is a small footbridge that crosses Angelique Brook to the lock. The large stones that make the lock were put in place in the late 1820’s when the Blackstone Canal was being built. The lock served as a point where water levels could be controlled for the passage of barges along the canal. The Millville Lock is the most preserved along the stretch of the Blackstone River. Continuing back to the bike path and turning left you will soon come to a bridge that crosses the Blackstone River. After crossing the bridge turn around and take a good look around. To the left and slightly above is a towering concrete support of a bridge that was never built. That support, along with one behind your right shoulder and below in the river to your left were built to carry the Grand Trunk Rail over the Blackstone River. The president of that company died on the RMS Titanic in April of 1912. Though construction continued for several more years, plans for the railroad were scraped and the bridge was never built. Ahead, the bridge you just crossed, was the rail bridge that served as Boston and Hartford Railroads Southern New England Trunkline. Today it is used partly as the Blackstone River Greenway and also as a trail that runs from the state line at Thompson, Connecticut and runs easterly to Franklin. And finally, below and to the right you will see the Providence and Worcester Railroad bridge that crosses the river. That bridge is still in active use by trains. At one time in the early 20th century it was intended that three railroad bridges would cross the Blackstone River at the same spot, hence earning its name, Triad Bridge. At this point you are approximately a mile from the parking lot. For this walk return along the bike path back to your car, or you can add several more miles of walking by continuing east. The bike path continues about another mile and a half to its easterly terminus in Blackstone.

 

Trail map can be found at: Millville Lock

TWRI-TriadPano

Panoramic of the Triad Bridge

Blackall Preserve – Cumberland

  • Blackall Preserve
  • Old West Wrentham Road, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°59’36.20″N, 71°27’33.89″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 23, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Tucked away along a road less traveled in the northwestern part of Cumberland is this lesser known preserve. The road itself is dotted by historical homes that date back over 200 years and abut the property. The Blackall Preserve offers trails that wind around the property passing impressive stone walls from yesteryear. The canopy above is mostly oak and maple with an occasional beech, pine, and birch. There is a small pond on the western edge of the preserve as well. The trails are easy to follow and are well defined. However, they are not blazed nor is there currently a map for the property. There are three entrances to the property along Old West Wrentham Road. The main entrance is just north of utility pole number 53. An abundance of birds and deer tracks were observed here at the time of this hike.

TWRI-Blackall

Snow Covered Trail at Blackall