Get on the River
Cheryl Thompson Cameron
Enjoying the Blackstone
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.
There are several ways to get on the river and canal, including:
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.
Join the Blackstone River Paddle Club and enjoy an evening on the River with other paddlers. For more information please visit their website.
Find out more about getting involved in the efforts to revitalize the Blackstone Watershed and join one of the many groups in their activities on the River under Zap! the Blackstone.
Enjoy a paddle down the river in a canoe or kayak. You can download a Google Earth file showing river features. Or, you can download any of the information below to find out more about paddling the Blackstone River and take one of the following suggested trips that are based on your skill level and preferences.
Please note, some tours are listed as both 8×11 and 11X17. This refers to the paper size the tour is designed for. Tours listed as 8×11 will print out on four 8×11 sheets of paper while 11×17 tours will print out on two 11×17 sheets of paper. Both formats include identical tour information and maps.
BLACKSTONE RIVER GUIDE ON GOOGLE EARTH
BEGINNER TOURS / MASSACHUSETTS
Did You Know?
Children as young as age six were hired to work in the textile mills of the Blackstone River Valley. These adolescent workers were employed by the Lonsdale Company, c. 1912. Photos such as this helped lead to the passage of child labor laws.