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We parked one pick up at the Blackstone Gorge, our ending point approximately 7 miles away. We estimate our paddling distance is 8 miles, factoring in the twists and turns of the river.
We started out at the launch off Hartford Avenue east near the dam. We parked in the Umass Medical Center parking lot. The launch is down a path, across a small bridge, to the left.
We paddled south with our destination ending at the Blackstone Gorge which is off Rte. 122 (there are signs directing you to the Gorge). There is ample parking in both locations.
There are several points of quick water and flat water making for a nice variety that kept us engaged in our trip.
The river splits in several locations but leads back to itself each time. This allows you to take this river without having to do the same path each time.
With four in our party, we all shared in being the lead and selecting which waterways to pursue. The river has several fallen trees but we were able to circumvent each, save one: We encountered only one obstacle that was a fallen tree that was easily crossed, though we had to get out into the water. The bottom had about 6 inches of muck and silt but washed off easily.
We passed several launch sites including the Stanley Mill launch off Mendon St. (Rte 16)in Uxbridge, Skull Rock Lock (off Rte 122 in Millville)and a smaller one off Rte. 122 in Blackstone.
Before reaching the Central St. bridge in Millville, the river spits in two. The left waterway takes you through a short class I rapid until you get on the other side of the bridge. Two of us chose this path and were treated to an exhilarating experience. It was our first rapid.
The other two members chose the waterway to the right and encountered lower water and scraped bottom in several locations. However, they did pass through with needing to get out only once.
After passing the Central Street bridge in Millville, we had only two other spots of quick water. The rest of the way to the Blackstone Gorge was flat water.
The dam at the Gorge is well marked with red buoys tethered across the waterway. Make sure you keep left and land at the launch site. From there it is a very short hike uphill to the parking lot.
To get to the Blackstone Gorge, take Route 122. There are signs directing you to the Gorge.
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