Millville Lock to Blackstone Gorge

Posted By on July 7, 2018

Millville Lock to Blackstone Gorge

5.1 miles; Millville and Blackstone, MA

Today’s first hike today was so short I decided to extend it by adding this excursion on the SNETT (Southern New England Trunkline Trail) to visit the Millville Lock, the Triad Bridges, and the Blackstone Gorge. An intrepid pair of hikers from the first hike, Rita and Jim, joined me. We even did a little bushwhacking to shorten the return trip. Fun addition to the day!

Millville Lock on the Blackstone Canal

Millville Lock on the Blackstone Canal

We started at the Central Street parking area for the SNETT (a.k.a. the Blackstone River Bikeway in this part of the state) in Millville. It’s a pretty short walk south to the side trail that leads to the old lock for the Blackstone Canal.

Back in when I was in college I put together a book as a project for a photography class that was a brief history of and guide to the Blackstone Canal. Here’s a photo of this same lock from 1979:

Millville Lock 1979

Millville Lock 1979

Of course back then there was no nicely paved bike path and no signage. I had to find this for myself by wandering through the woods. Much easier to find now! And if anyone’s interested, here is a link to a pdf file of the book. Enjoy.

View from the Lock

View from the Lock

This is a view looking down the river from the lock.

Triad Bridges

Triad Bridges

The next cool feature of this hike is the Triad Bridges. There were three separate rail lines that crossed here, one over the other. One of them, the lowest one, is still active.

The Highest Line

The Highest Line

Obviously the SNETT is the middle rail line, and there are still extant abutments where the highest line crossed.

Native Rhododendrons

Native Rhododendrons

The shoulders of the bike path have been planted with native shrubs, like winterberry, clethra, sweet fern, and these native rhododendrons, which, unlike the hybrids that people plant in their yards, bloom in early- to mid-July.

Swan Family

Swan Family

South of the Triad Bridges the bike path crosses a little loop in the river, so two more bridges. We could see a swan family in the distance from this bridge. The babies were pretty big and looked like they could almost fend for themselves.

The Blackstone Gorge

The Rolling Mill Dam at the Blackstone Gorge

At the end of the bike path we got off and did a bit of road-walking to get to the Blackstone Gorge, but it was starting to heat up and we all decided to cut the stroll down the river a bit short so we could get back to our cars.

You can find out more about the Blackstone Valley Bikeway from this website belonging to the Blackstone Valley Heritage Corridor. That same website has a nice map of the access to and trail on the Blackstone Gorge. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.

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