Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor

Quick Facts

Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor

Rhode Island

(401) 762-0250

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Blackstone River runs from Worcester, MA to Providence, RI. Its waters powered the Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI, America's first successful textile mill. This creative spark began the nation's transformation from Farm to Factory. Today, the Blackstone River Valley is a special type of National Park - a living landscape containing thousands of natural and historic treasures.

Map of Blackstone

Latitude, Longitude: 41.976338, -71.532669

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Activities

  • Boating

    Perhaps the best way to experience its history and beauty is on the waterways - the main stem of the river and its tributaries and the segments of watered canals. Throughout the watershed, the river and canal segments form an interesting and sometimes seamless exploration of the Valley and its industrial heritage where you will discover the dams, canal locks, bridges and other structures that tell the story of "America's Hardest Working River".

    The main stem of the river meanders 46 miles from Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island through urban landscapes, historic villages, farmlands, and forests. The Blackstone drops an average of almost 10 feet per mile, steeper than even the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. This drop allowed for the development of the many mills you will see along the way. Today, 18 dams are still in place and present paddlers with the challenge of several portages in certain stretches of the river.

    Providing access to the river is one of the priorities of the Corridor Commission and plans are underway to improve access points and portages. While present pollution levels allow only recreational fishing in the Blackstone River, there are strong constituencies working to build support for water quality improvement.

    Please contact the park for suggested water routes based on your level of experience and location on the river.

  • Bicycling

    Currently, 10 miles of bike path are open to the public in Central Falls, Lincoln, & Cumberland, RI. An additional 2.5 miles of bikeway are complete in Worcester and Millbury, MA.

  • Camping

    Allowed in George Washington Management Area between late spring through mid-autumn.

  • Fishing

    Stretches of the river are managed by various property owners. Be sure to check with individual property owners before fishing and make sure to follow state fishing laws and regulations.

  • Hiking

    Take a hike at one of the many state parks in the Corridor or enjoy a stroll along one of the sections of towpath at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, MA or Blackstone River State Park in Lincoln, RI. Pick up a self-guided Walking Tour of one of the communities in the Corridor and learn more about the history of the Valley and its many unique places. Walking Tour brochures can be picked up at any of the Visitor Centers throughout the Valley.

  • Picnicking

    Take a walk or have a picnic along the Blackstone River or Canal at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, MA or Blackstone River State Park in Lincoln, RI.

  • Water Sports

    Take a ride on the Blackstone Valley Explorer - a 49 passenger boat that docks at several different places along the river and offers narrated and special tours of the Blackstone River. Enjoy a paddle down the river in a canoe or kayak. Click these links for more information for getting on the river or join the Paddle Club and enjoy an evening on the River with other paddlers.

  • Winter Sports

    Please contact the park for information on seasonal activities.

Seasonality/Weather

New England weather is subject to rapid change. Temperature during the summer is 80-90s, winter 20-40s and spring/fall 50-70s. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes for outdoor activities, based on the season.

Directions

Driving

Route 146 is the main highway running north and south between Providence and Worcester having major intersections with I-95 and I-295 in Rhode Island. Exit 11 on I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) will give access to Route 122 and Visitor Information Centers in Worcester and Uxbridge. The Valley is bordered on the east by I-495 and on the west by I-395. Directional signage will point the way to visitor information centers. Visitors traveling north-south on I-95 may take exit 27 or 28 in Rhode Island for the Pawtucket Visitor Center and Slater Mill Historic Site.

Public Transportation

Both Providence and Worcester areas have access to airports, bus terminals, and Amtrak stations.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(401) 762-0250

Links