Along the Blackstone River-Woonsocket, RI


Along the Blackstone River in Woonsocket, near the MA border. On the left is a remnant of the Blackstone Canal

I had heard of a new section of railtrail at Coldspring Park, off Harris Avenue in Woonsocket, but last we looked, it was not obvious where the trail might be. When we stopped by today, it was easy to find the trail, and quite easy to walk alongside the river for about a half mile, all the way to the Massachusetts line.

The Blackstone River Bikeway has been in existence from Woonsocket south to Lincoln for a number of years. North of Woonsocket, the completed Bikeway travels from Blackstone to Uxbridge. But the two trails presently do not connect, except by traveling through congested city traffic in downtown Woonsocket.


From Coldspring park, the trail travels through an industrial section of Woonsocket

While this new section of railtrail still does not link the two longer trails, it is a big step to bringing the trails together, getting closer to making the north-south connection that is still in the works.


The new bridge offers great views of the river

The trail offers river views for the entire way, along with an attractive bridge over the Blackstone River just south of the MA border.


Large numbers of turkey vultures circled over the river

As we walked, we startled a group of turkey vultures,


After circling, some vultures settled down on a nearby light pole next to the ball field adjacent to the trail

perhaps fifty or more of the big birds, which rose up from a nearby industrial building and began circling over the river.


Great blue heron perched at the top of a tree next to the river

Nearing the bridge, we spotted a great blue heron settle into the top branches of a tree next to the river. The rain was keeping lots of us hunkered down, but while we walked the rain let up and the sun did its best to peek out from behind the clouds.


The present trail end for this new section of trail. Just north, beyond this marker is the SNETT in Blackstone,  the eastern portion that will connect back to Bellingham, still awaiting development. But the right of way is intact, and plans are in the works. The trails will connect…some day. North-south and east-west will someday be linked very near to where the trail ends right now.

We reached the end of the new trail in its present configuration, but as we looked just beyond the trail, we spotted a steep embankment just north of us. A quick check on our phone with Google earth confirmed that the SNETT trail was just ahead of us–that east-west railtrail that will someday intersect with the north-south Blackstone River bikeway. The two trails are now in sight of each other!


Crossing the bridge, going from North Smithfield to Woonsocket

A lot of work remains for the connections between the trails to become a reality, but it has been talked about for years. It is exciting to realize that this newest section of railtrail, while not everything we are hoping for, is bringing the dreams of many one step closer to becoming a reality.


From the bridge, looking back towards Woonsocket


beech cliffs 2018

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

5 responses to “Along the Blackstone River-Woonsocket, RI

  1. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

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