your paddlesports destination

Blackstone River in Rhode Island

Trip Overview

The Blackstone River winds 46 miles from Worcester, MA to Pawtucket, RI, through urban developments, historic villages, farmlands, and forests. The Blackstone drops an average of ten feet per mile, steeper than even the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Various mills began to appear in the 1670's and the first successful cotton mill in the new world, Slater Mill, was erected at the mouth of the river in 1793. The almost wholly-preserved 19th century landscapes, buildings, and villages along the river give it national importance, recognized in 1986 when Congress created the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The Blackstone canal was opened in 1828 and ferried passengers and freight between Worcester and Providence for twenty years. The canal was replaced by the Providence and Worcester Railroad in 1848. While most of the canal's locks were dismantled, evidence of the canal still exists in many locations.

Many sections of the canal and river are navigable by canoe and kayak. However, some sections require greater skill than others, and portages are sometimes necessary.

A nice afternoon of paddling can be found on the Blackstone. Don't forget your camera, lots of cool historical photo ops.


Only a few formal picnic sites have been developed along the river, though more are in the works. Trash cans are few and far between, so don't forget a plastic bag to take out what you take in.


Take Interstate 295 to Rt. 146 towards Woonsocket, RI. Follow the signs to the Visitor Center for detailed info.


Information on the Blackstone is available at:

and also here:

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip