Blackstone River_s_cent.png

Welcome to the Blackstone River! Here are some fun facts and some great resources to help you explore and enjoy this great river.

Towns in the Blackstone River Watershed:

  • Attleboro

  • Auburn

  • Bellingham

  • Blackstone

  • Boylston

  • Douglas

  • Franklin

  • Grafton

  • Holden

  • Hopedale

  • Hopkinton

  • Leicester

  • Mendon

  • Milford

  • Millbury

  • Millville

  • North Attleboro

  • Northbridge

  • Oxford

  • Paxton

  • Plainville

  • Shrewsbury

  • Sutton

  • Upton

  • Uxbridge

  • Webster

  • West Boylston

  • Westborough

  • Worcester

  • Wrentham

Major Tributaries:

The Quinsigamond, West, Mumford, Mill, and Peters Rivers.

Relevant River Information

Environmental Concerns for the Blackstone


As of 2020, the biggest environmental concern for the Blackstone River is stormwater impacts, which includes excess nutrients, thermal pollution, turbidity, erosion, and flooding. To learn more about environmental challenges currently facing the Blackstone River, go to the Blackstone River Watershed Association website.




Additional Facts


History:

  • Prior to the settlement of European colonists, the Blackstone Valley was home to the Nipmuc Native American tribes.
  • A 1990 report sponsored by the EPA described the Blackstone River “the most polluted river in the country with respect to toxic sediments.”
  • The Blackstone River became a part of the National Heritage Corridor system in 1986 and was designated as an American Heritage River in 1998.
  • On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed the legislation that established the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, the 402nd park in the national park system.
Did You Know?:
  • The watershed is divided into three regions.
  • The Blackstone Headwater Coalition covers the headwaters.
  • The Blackstone River Watershed Association covers the mid-reach.
  • The Blackstone River Watershed Council covers the southern end of the watershed.
  • The river is named after William Blackstone, who built his home on the river in a town that would come to be known as Cumberland.





Click an icon below to learn more about Blackstone River activities
2.png
Swimming
1.png
4.png
Hiking, Walk & Run
Paddling
5.png
Boating & Sailing
6.png
Fishing

Please check any of these websites to learn more about Blackstone River events:

  • Blackstone River Watershed Association, click here.

  • Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone, click here.

  • Blackstone River Coalition, click here.

Blackstone_River_in_Massachusetts.jpeg

What People Are Saying...

I visited the DCR’s Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park on a Saturday morning as the summer heat was ramping up. It was clear from seeing families at picnic tables and couples walking along the path that others had similar hopes of finding reprieve from the stale indoor heat. I crossed Hartford Avenue to begin with a hike on Goat Hill Trail, a meandering path through wooded area where the sounds of cars were soon replaced by the calling of birds above. With the Blackstone Heritage Corridor’s self-guided Blackstone Canal Walking Tour in hand, I came upon a large stone still studded with the tools of a stone cutter. It was amazing to see this moment preserved and to be reminded of the river’s historical significance.

-Rachel Percy, Mass Rivers Intern

On a highly recommended place to explore on or along the river:

The Blackstone Gorge at the MA/RI state line is beautiful and has a terrific trail along the gorge.

-Donna Williams (Watershed Advocate,     Blackstone River Coalition)

Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 11.40.15 AM.pn

Swimming

Where to go Swimming

 

Swimming is not advised

Untitled design - 2021-05-14T111017.816.

Hiking, Walking, Running

Where to go on a walk, run, hike, or bike ride

 
  • Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park

    • Address is 287 Oak St. , Uxbridge, MA 01569

    • Click here for a map that shows walking trails

    • Free parking is available

  • Purgatory Chasm State Reservation

    • Address is 198 Purgatory Rd. , Sutton, MA 01590 

    • Click here for a map guide

    • Daily parking fee charged Memorial Day weekend through October 31.

     $5 for MA residents, $20 for non-MA residents

  • Accessible restrooms

  • Upton State Forest

    • Address is 205 Westboro Road, Upton, MA 01568 

    • Click here for a trail map

    • Free parking

  • Douglas State Forest

    • Address is 107 Wallum Lake Road, Douglas, MA 01516

    • Click here for a trail map

    • Daily parking fees: $9 for MA residents; $30 for non-MA residents

    • Accessible restrooms and beaches

  • Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary

    • Address is 414 Massasoit Road, Worcester, MA 01604

    • Includes 5 miles of trails and 1 mile of accessible trails. Click here for a trail map.

    • The Mass Audubon website has more information on each specific trail.

    • Trails are open daily, dawn to dusk

    • There is parking on-site

Biking

  • The Blackstone River Greenway and Bikeway

    • With over 17 miles already constructed, the vision is for it to extend 48 miles from downtown Worcester, MA, to India Point Park in Providence, RI.

    • Learn more about the construction of the Greenway and Bikeway here on the Blackstone Heritage Corridor website. There is also a map that shows parking lots along the Greenway and Bikeway.

    • Public Transportation: Take the 1, 4, or 11 bus to the Tobias Boland and Blackstone River Road stop. The bikepath is located close-by.

Screen Shot 2020-01-13 at 3.19.03 PM.png

Paddling

Where to go paddling (listed in direction of upstream to downstream)

 

DCR’s Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park:

  • Click here for a map created by the MA DCR that shows canoe access sites.

The following guides were created by John H. Chafee of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor:

Northbridge: Plummer’s Landing to River Bend Farm

  • Park in the Church Street parking area for the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park and put in on river right just below the bridge. The area around the Church Street Bridge is called Plummer’s Landing. Click here for a pdf version of the paddling guide. 

  • This is an intermediate tour

River Bend Farm:

  • Put-in is at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center in the Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, MA. Click here for a pdf version of the paddling guide.

  • Beginner and intermediate tours

River Bend Farm to Blackstone Gorge:

  • Put-in is at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center in the Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, MA. Click here for a pdf version of the paddling guide.

  • This is an intermediate tour

Blackstone Gorge to Millville Lock:

  • Follow signs off of Route 122 in Blackstone to the Blackstone Gorgeon County Street in Blackstone. The put-in is a short walk from the parking area to just above the Rolling Dam (1886). Click here for a pdf version of the paddling guide.

  • This is a beginner tour

 

The following guide was created by the Quinsigamond River Stream Team:

  • It includes paddling opportunities along the river and in lakes.

  • Click here for a pdf version of the paddling guide.

Untitled design - 2021-05-14T114258.114.

Boating & Sailing

 
Where to go Boating

Motorboats are not allowed on the river

  • Wallum Lake in Douglas State Forest allows both motorized and non-motorized boating. Access the lake via boat ramp. 

    • Address is 107 Wallum Lake Road, Douglas, MA 01516

Daily parking fees: $9 for MA residents; $30 for non-MA residents

Accessible restrooms and beaches

Untitled design - 2021-05-14T115111.162.

Fishing

Where to go Fishing
 
  • From the BRWC/FOB blog on their website: “This year (2020) opening day for fishing in the Blackstone River is April 11 beginning at 6 a.m. The season continues until the last day in February.  Please note that the Cumberland and Lincoln sections of the river are stocked with trout prior to opening day.  These newly introduced trout need to have a chance to establish themselves. Consequently, fishing in the Blackstone is off-limits from March 1 until opening day. For more state information and answers to FAQ, click HERE.

  • Motor boats are not allowed on the river

  • Learn more about the Campaign for a Fishable/Swimmable Blackstone River on the Blackstone River Coalition website.