Lowell National Historical Park | GUIDED TOURS

Ranger-led boat tour on the Lowell canals

Ranger-led boat tour on the Lowell canals

The National Park Service offers a variety of guided tours at Lowell National Historical Park. However, while the park Visitor Center and museums are open year-round, the tours are only held from Memorial Day weekend through late November, and even then not all tours are held every month or on a daily basis. For a schedule, check the National Park Service’s official Guided Tours web page for the park. I recommend visiting the park when tours are being held, otherwise you are missing out on much of the fun.

You can explore the canals at Lowell by attending the Working the Water Canal Boat Tour. The boats are not wheelchair accessible, but disabled visitors who can make it down three steps with assistance are welcome on the tour. Collapsible wheelchairs can be stored on the boat.

Fee-based tickets are required for the Working the Water Canal Boat Tour. These can be purchased at the Visitor Center on the day of your visit, or you can make a reservation in advance at Recreation.gov. Each tour is limited to 18 people. I took my tour on a Monday in mid-August and had no problem getting a ticket at the Visitor Center, but there were seventeen passengers on the boat, not far from being full. If you know for sure when you plan to visit, be safe and make a reservation. You can get the current ticket prices on the National Park Service’s official Fees and Passes web page for Lowell National Historical Park.

There is are two land-based tours. The Suffolk Mill and Trolley Tour takes you by trolley to Suffolk Mill (now called Wannalancit Mill) where you can see a water-powered turbine that is still in use, as well as the River Transformed Exhibit located inside the building. There is no charge, but you must sign up at the Visitor Center. The trolley bus can accommodate one wheelchair, and while the building is accessible to disabled visitors, there are some rough surfaces to travel over. If you are in a wheelchair and plan to attend, make sure you mention this when making a reservation so that enough trolleys are arranged for.

The second land-based tour at Lowell National Historical Park is a Ranger-guided walking tour of downtown Lowell. I did not attend this, so I can’t comment more on it. As with the Suffolk Mill and Trolley Tour, it is free. Meet at the Visitor Center if you want to attend.

Rangers are on duty at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum to give short lectures. Furthermore, there are a variety of special events held throughout the year. See the Calendar web page for Lowell National Historical Park to find out about upcoming events.

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Last updated on June 28, 2022
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