Posts Tagged ‘ Waterfalls ’

Parker Woodland – Coventry/Foster

George B. Parker Woodland
Maple Valley Road, Coventry, RI
Trailhead: 41°43’00.3″N 71°41’52.5″W
Last Time Hiked: September 28, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 7.1 miles
Moderate due to distance with difficult terrain in areas.

 

Parker Woodland is a large Rhode Island Audubon Society property that straddles the Coventry/Foster line. The property features two loop trails, one in each town, with a connector trail. There is quite a bit of history on this property as well. Some is well known and some is still unsolved. I did this hike with a group from the Providence County Hiking Club. We started from the main parking area (Lot 1) by the nature center on Maple Valley Road. There is a kiosk here with information about the property as well as trail maps. We then preceded to follow the orange blazed trail into the property. This trail meanders downhill passing the first of several stone walls, turns right, and then crosses a series of boardwalks. The trail also crosses Turkey Meadow Brook before coming to the blue trail. Here we turned left following the blue blazed trail, named the Paul Cook Memorial Trail, through areas of boulders, more stone walls, and an area of pines. When soon reached Biscuit Hill Road. You will probably miss it if you are not looking for it. The road is flanked by stone walls on each side. Apparently, during the American Revolution, a supply wagon overturned here. The wagon was carrying biscuits for the troops, hence giving the name to the road. Immediately after Biscuit Hill Road on the left is a large cellar hole of a farm house. It is part of the Vaughn Farm Site. There is a sign here with a brief description of the site. We then continued along the blue blazed trail traversing through a rather rocky area weaving around ledges. This stretch is about a mile long before coming to a massive boulder where the yellow blazed connector trail is. We then followed the yellow trail mostly uphill as it starting rising above a ravine. Below in the ravine is the Pine Swamp Brook. Be careful along this stretch as the trail is very close to the edge at times. The trail then crosses the brook at a wood bridge. You are now in the Foster parcel of Parker Woodland. At the time of this hike the brook was rather dry (but not empty). There is an area here that appears to have a small waterfall. The trail then continues uphill a little longer coming to the next loop trail. This trail is also blazed blue and named for Milton A. Gowdey. Here we turned left and followed the trail passing even more stone walls before coming to an old farm site. Here there is a rather large cellar hole. There is also a sign labeled “Table Rock” for a short spur trail. We followed it to the rock, stopped, and took a short break. We then retraced our steps back to the blue trail continuing to follow it as it crossed Pig Hill Road. This stretch of the trail wanders through areas of boulders and quarries. One of the ledges has the apparent evidence the quarrying was done here. The blue blazed trail crosses Pig Hill Road once again and the loop completes at the yellow trail that we came in on. Here we turned left and retraced our steps back to the massive boulder along the Coventry loop. When we reached the boulder we turned left back onto the blue blazed trail. The trail first follows the Pine Swamp Brook before bearing to the right. Then it crosses Biscuit Hill Road, follows the Turkey Meadow Brook, passing the yellow trail intersection, and starts to climb and descend a series of small hills before coming to the cairns. No one knows for sure who built these piles of stones or better yet, what the purpose for them are. There are several suggestions. Some believe they are Native American, others suggest pre-Columbus age explorers using them as markers. Regardless, there are about a dozen or more of them along this stretch. There is also a sign here explaining (or more so suggesting) the history of the cairns. We then continued along the blue trail completing the loop. We turned left onto the orange trail and retraced our steps back to the parking area. Being an Audubon property, no hunting is allowed. It can not hurt to wear orange regardless in case hunting is allowed on nearby properties. Also no dogs or horses are allowed on this site. We did not come across much of wildlife other than the occasional squirrel and chipmunk. There were plenty of birds here however.

 

Trail map can be found at: Parker Woodland.

Trail Along A Ledge

Trail Along A Ledge

Mysterious Cairn

Mysterious Cairns

Melville Park – Portsmouth

Melville Park
Bradford Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
Trailhead: 41°35’2.48″N, 71°16’17.67″W
Last Time Hiked: September 10, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

Went to Aquidnick Island for a mid-week after work hike at Melville Park. The park is former Navy property now open to the public and it features several ponds, streams, dams, as well as waterfalls. I started this hike from a small parking lot by Upper Melville Pond. Directly across the street is the trail head for the green trail. This trail, very narrow at first, passes a residential property to the right before turning left and into the wooded area. The trail is challenging for footing at first traversing over roots, stones, and logs before coming to raised boardwalks. The green trail passes several small ponds with dams and follows a babbling brook before coming to an open grass cart path. I then turned left on the cart path (blazed orange) and followed it until I came to the bulletin board. Here I turned right onto the yellow trail, then left by Crockett Pond. Here over the pond is an old standpipe from yesteryear. Further along the yellow trail is a small picnic area that overlooks a gorge and waterfall. From here I followed the yellow trail a few more feet then turned onto the blue trail following the shore of the Lower Melville Pond. After passing the dam at the lower end of the pond the blue trail turns left at the Croll Crossing. The crossing is an interesting series of stepping stones across the spillway of the dam. From here I picked up the red trail along Mott Farm Road and followed it to an area that has been cleared. Here there is a bat house perched high above the ground. I turned left here following the red trail a little further after checking out the view of the bay by the railroad tracks. The red trail turns back into the woods following the shore of the pond and eventually to the blue trail once again. I continued following the blue trail along the south side of the pond, past the gorge again, then back to the cart path and finally to the bulletin board. Be sure to follow the trail blazes along this stretch. From this point I retraced my steps along the orange and green trails back to the car. I saw several rabbits, ducks, and a pair of swans on this hike as well as several birds.

 

Trail map can be found at: Melville Park.

Lower Melville Pond

Lower Melville Pond

Esmond Park – Smithfield

Esmond Park
Farnum Pike, Smithfield, RI
Trailhead: 41°52’51.66″N, 71°30’11.32″W
Last Time Hiked: September 4, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
Easy.

 

Esmond Park is a combination of a short trail on a former railroad bed and a small town park. The two distinctly different parts are separated by an arch bridge that crosses the river at a small waterfall. The park itself, complete with World War I monuments, paved paths, and park benches is at the corner of Farnum Pike and Esmond Street. The parking area is a little further north along Farnum Pike at the end with the trail entrance. I came across a few people walking dogs here.

 

Trail map can be found at: Esmond Park.

The Bridge At Esmond

The Bridge At Esmond

Georgiaville Dam And Gorge – Smithfield

Georgiaville Dam And Gorge
Stillwater Road, Smithfield, RI
Trailhead: 41°53’20.52″N, 71°30’27.83″W
Last Time Hiked: September 4, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 0.8 miles
Easy.

 

Another “Seven Scenic Walks” of Smithfield, this short walk has a little bit of everything. Starting from the parking area, you first come to the town beach. The beach at the time of this walk was quite active. Several small children were cooling off from the late summer heat. After passing the beach, the path turns into a dirt road following the top of an earthen dam. From the dam you have sweeping views of Georgiaville Pond over the banks of wildflowers. Other than swimmers there were kayaks, tubers taking advantage of the pond. At the end of the dirt road is the dam. Much like Hunts Mills, it is a combination of a manmade dam and natural waterfall. To the right there is a short trail to a small area that overlooks the gorge. Here I saw a great blue heron traversing through the gorge. From this point you retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Georgiaville Gorge

Georgiaville Gorge

Green Fall Pond – Voluntown

Green Fall Pond – Pachaug State Forest
Green Fall Road, Voluntown, CT
Trailhead: 41°31’22.96″N, 71°48’30.96″W
Last Time Hiked: August 30, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
Moderate with rocky footing and root bound trails in areas.
Difficult and at times challenging in the gorge. Use caution along steep banks.

 

This would be my first of many planned ventures into the Pachaug State Forest in Eastern Connecticut. Green Fall Pond I found to be one of the more tranquil hikes that I have taken thus far. It was also a perfect summer day. From a parking area on Green Fall Road (not on some GPS units), a fellow hiker and I started by following the blue blazes of the Narragansett Trail into the forest. The immediate first part of this hike is very easy as the trail winds through an area covered with fern. We then came to a rather large cairn. The fairly wide trail that we were following appears to go uphill and into an area of pines. I will refer this trail (which is not shown on the map I’ve linked) as the “high road” aptly dubbed by a fellow blogger (who was ironically here today as well). We would return on that trail. At this point we veered to the right continuing to follow the blue blazes into the gorge. This part of the hike is rather challenging as the trail leads you through an area where you must jump for boulder to boulder, do some rock scaling, and even some little bit of climbing in areas. The Green Fall River runs through the gorge adding some more challenge to the hike. It has been a tremendously dry summer in Southern New England this summer and the river at the time of this hike was almost just a trickle. I did, nonetheless, slip at crossing the river at one point. Good thing for waterproof boots. At the end of the gorge there is a 40 foot high dam. The trail leads you uphill to the right of the dam. From here we got our first glimpse of Green Fall Pond. There is a loop trail that follows the perimeter of the pond that is blazed blue/orange. There are several areas that have scenic views of the pond. We started by going to the right (if you are facing the pond) following the blue/orange blazes. Along this stretch we came across a couple walking their dog and a few people fishing. I chatted briefly with the people fishing. They informed me that there were bass and pikes in the pond but had only caught some sticks thus far. Continuing along the loop trail we saw some chipmunks and squirrels as well as dragonflies and crickets as the trail passed areas of stone walls and an earthen dam that had field like features along the top of it including several shrubs with berries. The blue blazed Narragansett Trail then continued straight. We continued following the blue/orange blazed loop trail the veered off to the left and along the banks of the pond. The trail crossed a small stream at a footbridge before eventually coming to a dirt road at a camp site. The camp site is a “first come first serve” camp and fees are collected in the morning. We turned left onto the road stopping briefly at the beach area. (Swimming is allowed at this beach). Following the road, turning to a paved road and uphill for a bit, we passed the trail heads of both the Pachaug Trail and the Nehantic Trail. We also passed the boat launch for Green Fall Pond and another parking area before we found the sign for the trail to head back into the woods. The trail, still blazed blue/orange, then followed the west shore of the pond. This section of trail was rather rocky and root bound. We found ourselves scaling some rocks in areas here. The trail eventually came back to the dam. We then followed a stone covered road to the right uphill as it arced to the right. Near the top of the hill we took a left onto the trail I referred to earlier as the “high road”. This lead us back to Green Fall Road just to the west of the gorge. It eventually merged with the blue blazed trail. From here we retraced our steps back to the car.

 

Trail map can be found at: Green Fall Pond.

In The Gorge

In The Gorge

Green Fall Pond

Green Fall Pond

Nathanael Greene Homestead – Coventry

Major General Nathanael Greene Homestead
Taft Street, Coventry, RI
Trailhead: 41°41’38.98″N, 71°32’39.51″W
Last Time Hiked: August 23, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
Easy with slight elevation.

 

On this property behind the homestead there is a small network of trails that run along and near the Pawtuxet River from the Washington Secondary Trail to a small peninsula. There is a spot to view the Anthony Trellis Bridge as well as the Clairiant Falls along the river. The falls are a manmade dam that once served a large mill building across the river. To access the trails follow the driveway to the right of the homestead. There is an opening in the stone wall here. Follow the path to the cemetery. There is an opening in the stone wall to the left of the cemetery. This is the access point to the trails. As for the homestead itself, there is a vast amount of history here. Nathanael Greene was second in command to George Washington during the American Revolution. The homestead, built by Nathanael, dates back to 1770. It remained in the Greene family for several generations. Today it is a museum. There is an admission fee for the museum. Call 401-821-8630 for hours. The cemetery on the property is that of the Greene family. Nathanael, however, is not buried here. The site also hosts a reenactment of an American Revolution battle the weekend after Mothers Day each year.

 

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Nathanael Greene Homestead

Nathanael Greene Homestead

Purgatory Chasm – Sutton

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
Purgatory Road, Sutton, MA
Trailhead: 42° 7’44.97″N, 71°42’53.44″W
Last Time Hiked: July 26, 2014
 
Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
Various difficulties, the chasm is difficult to strenuous, the remainder of the hike is moderate.
 

Indeed one of the most unique natural spots in Southern New England, the centerpiece of this hike is the granite chasm which in spots is up to 70 feet deep. It features countless boulders and some caves. Climbing the walls of the chasm is prohibited except by permit. Many injuries have occurred here and there are several warning signs throughout the chasm. In fact, I would suggest checking the forecast before heading here. A damp or rainy day could make the scaling over the rocks and boulders outright dangerous. Also the chasm itself is generally closed in the winter months. Starting early and one of the first to arrive I started today’s hike by first tackling the chasm. The chasm entrance is well marked and the Chasm Loop Trail is blazed blue. It took a little time to conquer this first part of the hike for a couple of reasons. First, scaling and maneuvering over and around the quarter mile of boulders. Second, this is a great place for a guy with a camera (that would be me) to capture the sun coming over the chasm walls. And lastly, I found myself spending some time watching the endless amounts of chipmunks in the chasm. Near the end of the chasm I turned left and continued to follow the blue blazed Chasm Loop Trail as it winded uphill. From this trail there are some impressive views of the chasm. Be sure to not get to close to the edges. I came across Fat Man’s Misery (which I choose to just view) and the Devils Corncrib before following the trail back to the chasm entrance. From here I went around the pavilion to the beginning of the trail named Charley’s Loop. It is a yellow blazed trail that winds through the southeast section of the reservation. I came across some early morning dog-walkers along this stretch. When I reached the intersection with the signage I followed the Little Purgatory Trail which was blazed green. When I reached the small chasm with the trickling waterfall I followed a trail to the right looking for the loop. After a bit I realized that there were no longer any blazes and the trail didn’t seem to loop back in the proper direction. So I retraced my steps back down the trail until I got to the “road”. Here I turned left then left again onto the orange blazed Forest Road Trail. This old stone and dirt road seemed endlessly uphill before it broke off right into the woods. At the end of the Forest Road Trail I turned left onto the Old Purgatory Trail, still blazed orange, as it wound up and down through the forest. The trail eventually end at Purgatory Road where I turned right and made my way back to the car. I did not expect to get 3.5 miles of hiking here (and I suspect it had to do with getting a little off track on the Little Purgatory), but I must say, this was a rather challenging hike on a warm summer morning. Well worth the challenge though.

Trail Map can be found at: Purgatory Chasm.

In The Chasm

In The Chasm

Chipmunk

Chipmunk

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