Archive for September, 2015

Sculpture Trail – South Kingstown

  • Sculpture Trail
  • Green Hill Beach Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°22’57.35″N, 71°36’11.01″W
  • First Time Hiked: September 27, 2015
  • Last Time Hiked: March 4, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.4 miles
  • Easy.

This trail is wedged onto a small South Kingstown Land Trust property at the northeast corner of Matunuck School House Road and Green Hill Beach Road. The short trail, opened in 2014, features sculptures from a variety of artists that are placed throughout the property. There are trail maps at the entrance of the property.

"Sir Loin" at the Sculpture Trail.

“Sir Loin” at the Sculpture Trail.

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Bowdish Reservoir – Glocester

  • Bowdish Reservoir – Angell Loop Trail
  • Putnum Pike, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°55’23.14″N, 71°45’29.73″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 26, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

To say that this hike is easily one of the best in Rhode Island is a tremendous understatement. Just long enough to spend enough time in the woods and just short enough for beginners and folks with younger children. The one and a half mile loop trail has two diverse parts to it. The first meanders up and down over small hills in the remote part of the George Washington Campground and the second winds along the picturesque southern shore of the Bowdish Reservoir. To access the trailhead use the main entrance of the campground on Putnam Pike. There is currently a $2.00 visitor entrance fee that you must pay at the entrance. After paying and passing the gate, take your third left and use the parking area here behind the brown Civilian Conservation Corps cabin. From here walk along the dirt road, passing the Walkabout Trail trailhead on the right, toward the beach at the reservoir and follow the road as it turns to the left. There will be a kiosk for the Angell Loop Trail on the right. The trail, blazed white, first passes some boulders before passing a couple campsites on the left. Just ahead is a trail split with two boardwalks that cross a seasonal stream. Take the one to the left, this will lead toward the remote campsites first and leave the best part of the hike for the end. The trail then climbs uphill for a short distance. Ahead is a trail junction, be sure to follow the white blazes and ignore the side trails. Soon you will be near the top of the hill and notice a lot of ground cover shrubs. The trail then starts slightly downhill and comes to a service road. Turn right here and follow the dirt road. The road leads by the five remote campsites. These sites each have a picnic table, fire pit, and tent platform, but are for campers only and must be reserved to be used. Along this stretch is also a restroom if you feel so inclined. Just after the fifth campsite the service road becomes visibly less used and starts to look like a wide trail traversing through the tall oaks and pines. The trail continues to slightly climb uphill as it passes an area with some boulders in the woods. Near the top of the hill to the right is an unusual formation of stones. There is no indication to what they represent. The trail then leads over the last hill and the down toward the shore of the reservoir. The trail along the shore is narrower and has plenty of spots to view the reservoir. This is quite possibly one of the prettiest stretches of trail in Rhode Island. The next half of a mile is a haven for small woodland critters such as chipmunks and squirrels, waterfowl such as geese and ducks, and has an abundance of birds as the trail winds along the reservoir. If the breeze is blowing just right you will smell the campfires off in the distance. The trail then passes through a grove of hemlocks and mountain laurel just before coming to the boardwalk. After crossing the boardwalk, turn left and retrace your steps back to the trailhead. For the more experienced hiker that would like a longer walk, head over to the Walkabout Trail. There is the option of adding an additional 2, 6, or 8 miles to your hike.

Trail map can be found at: Bowdish Reservoir.

Along The Angell Loop Trail

Along The Angell Loop Trail

Bowdish Reservoir

Bowdish Reservoir

Fogland Beach – Tiverton

I was in the area just around sundown and thought I would take a stroll along the beach here at Fogland. The crescent shaped beach, overlooking the Sakonnet River, is short, less than a half mile in length from one end to the other. Looking to the south you will see a house that looks like a lighthouse up on a hill. To the west is the shore of Portsmouth. There is also a cove across the street with another small beach. There are no actual trails here, but there are several access points to the cove.

Sunset At Fogland Beach

Sunset At Fogland Beach

Basket Swamp – Tiverton

Just east of Weetamoo Woods is a property owned by the Tiverton Land Trust. Here at Basket Swamp the trails have recently been blazed and the RI Land Trust Council has created a trail map (see below). The trails here are very easy to follow, but be sure to follow the blazes as there are sharp turns and several other trails lead off of the property onto privately owned land. The trail starts at an asphalt parking area opposite the wind turbine in the open field. The trail, blazed white, first passes a large boulder before winding downhill into a fern covered forest. The trails here are soft and can be a little root bound, so watch your step. Soon I came to the first of several stone walls. Here the yellow blazed trail is to the left. I would return on that trail. For now I stayed to the right and continued to follow the white blazed trail to its end at a cleared swath of land. This cleared area is part of a gas utility easement. If you look to the right, in the distance you will see a red sign. Follow the clearing to that sign as it is the trailhead for the red trail. This trail follows the back edge of the property passing several more stone walls before coming to its end. I then turned left, followed the trail a short distance back to the cleared swath of land and saw the trail head for the yellow trail ahead. This trail follows the southern edge of the property briefly before turning north and heading back to the white blazed trail. Along this stretch is a small grove of holly and I came across some turkey. After reaching the white trail, I turned right and retraced my steps back to the car. I came across a couple of deer stands along this hike and there is signage requiring you to wear orange during hunting season.

Trail map can be found at: Basket Swamp.

Stone Wall Along The Red Trail.

Stone Wall Along The Red Trail.

Falls River – Exeter/West Greenwich

  • Falls River
  • Midway Trail, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°34’45.82″N, 71°43’8.57″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 17, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.0 miles
  • Moderate with some slight elevation.

This hike in the Arcadia Management Area loops around the lower end of the Falls River. About half the hike follows gravel roads and the other portions follows some of the most scenic stretches of trails in Rhode Island. I started this hike from a small parking area just after the Flat River bridge along the Midway Trail and followed the road northwesterly for a short distance before coming to an intersection. Here I stayed right following the Midway Trail. The road to the left with the bridge I would return on. After a couple hundred feet I came to the Brook Trail on the left. Turning here I followed the gravel road, stopping occasionally to venture onto the footpaths to the left that lead to the river. The trails to the right lead into a maze of unmarked trails. It is not advisable to explore those trails without a reliable map and/or GPS. At the Lawson Cary Fishing Area the gravel road bears to the right and climbs uphill a bit, then descends downhill, passing a couple gated trailheads to the right, before coming to an intersection of gravel roads. I turned left at the intersection following the trail that curves to the right and then to the left. Next, a trail with two boulders preventing automobile access appears on the right. This is the Over Hill Trail. Following this narrower trail, I soon found evidence that the trail is heavily used for horseback riding. This stretch I found to be particularly nice with a combination of pine and beech trees. The beech trees are just starting to turn to a vibrant yellow and some of the leaves are starting to fall. I continued to follow this trail up and down some small hills as it crossed into West Greenwich. Soon a trail merges from the right and the trail is suddenly blazed yellow. Within a couple feet the yellow blazed trail turns left onto a narrower trail. I turned here onto the western most part of the Breakheart Trail. Stop along this trail and listen. You will hear nothing but what nature has to offer. The trail winds up and down small hills, passes over a boardwalk, comes to the bank of the Falls River, and finally ends at Austin Farm Road. I then turned left at the road, entering Exeter once again, and crossed a bridge over the Falls River. Here to the right is the trail head of the Ben Utter Trail that will lead you to Stepstone Falls if you so choose. I continued straight along the road and turned left onto the blue blazed Sand Hill Trail which is also part of the North South Trail. This stretch of the hike is another tremendously beautiful section as the trail meanders through a towering pine grove. Soon the white blazed Escoheag Trail appears on the right, I continued straight until I reached a trail split. Here the North South Trail stays to the left, and a sign that says “Spur Trail” is to the right. I choose to explore the spur trail that winded uphill to a small ridge before descending back downhill. Turning right, the trail then rejoins the blue blazed North South/Sand Hill Trail and continues south. The Sand Hill Trail then continues over a section of boardwalk and slightly uphill before coming out to Barber Road. Continuing to follow the blue blazes of the North South Trail, I turned left onto Barber Road, another gravel road, and followed it nearly a mile. Along the way on the left is another spot to view the river. After passing an open gate, the road bends to the left and crosses a bridge that spans the Falls River once again. Just after the bridge, I turned right and retraced my steps back to the car, first stopping at the deck that overlooks the river.

Trail map can be found at: Falls River.

Along The Over Hill Trail.

Along The Over Hill Trail.

Miantonomi Hill – Newport

  • Miantonomi Hill
  • Hillside Avenue, Newport, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°30’32.25″N, 71°18’28.51″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 13, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

Atop the highest point in Newport stands the Miantonomi Tower. It was built in the 1920’s as a memorial to the soldiers who served in World War I. Around the base of the hill and up to the tower are a short network of well groomed trails that meander around the property. Parking is available along Hillside Avenue and the trailhead leading to the tower is just beyond the playground. The trail climbs slightly uphill a bit before coming to an intersection. The trail to the left exits the property, the trail ahead wraps around the base of the hill, and the trail to the right leads up to the tower. I took the opportunity to explore most of the trails here totaling in just about a mile. Some of the side trails lead to the edge of ledges and outcrops of conglomerate rock that are well worth checking out. The Aquidnick Island Land Trust also opens the tower at times for the general public to climb. The views from the top of the tower are quite impressive.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

The Tower at Miantonomi Hill (photo by K. Chapian)

The Tower at Miantonomi Hill

Trestle Trail West – Coventry/Sterling

  • Trestle Trail West
  • Hopkins Hollow Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°41’22.76″N, 71°44’49.57″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 11, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.4 miles
  • Fairly easy.

This is an out and back hike along 2.7 miles of the former Providence, Hartford, & Fishkill railroad corridor. For the time being the walk is on crushed stone, sand, and areas of a pine needle covered pathway. There are plans, however, to extend the Washington Secondary Bike Path through this stretch of the former railroad creating a continuous bike path from the Connecticut border to Cranston. The bike path currently ends about 2.5 miles east of where this hike begins. I started this hike in the village of Greene along Hopkins Hollow Road at a small monument commemorating the railroad. The monument is a set of railcar wheels left on a small section of track and a plaque explaining the history of the railway that came through here. From the monument I started walking west across Hopkins Hollow Road following what appears to be a driveway. In fact, there are two “driveways” side by side here. The one on the left is the former railroad corridor. Stay on this one. I first passed a home on the left with some “guard” geese and a few goats. This is private property, please do respect that and enjoy the animals from a distance. The geese will be sure you do! Continuing, the driveway soon turns into a trail. Soon the former rail bed is wedged between two small hills, Fox Hill being the one on the left. A few stone retaining walls soon appear along this stretch. Just as the wall on the right ends and the wall on the left begins, look up the hill on the right. You will catch a glimpse of some old telegraph poles from yesteryear. Next I crossed Lewis Farm Road and continued ahead on the Trestle Trail. This stretch is a small part of the North South Trail. Just under the one mile mark, I went over the trestle that crosses the Moosup River. From this point forward to the Connecticut border you are in the Nicholas Farm Management Area. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange. The blue blazes of the North South Trail turn to the right toward Spencer Rock. I continued straight and came to an area that overlooks a stream below. In the distance you can catch a glimpse of Carbuncle Pond. The remainder of the hike is fairly quiet as it traverses toward and into Connecticut through heavily wooded areas. To the right and slightly uphill along this stretch is Rhode Islands least known airport. The aptly named, privately owned Riconn airport, sitting just about on the state line, has a couple of grass runways for small planes. Soon after that you will come to a trail on the right that leads to a large farm field. This trail intersection is just after the state line, you are now in Sterling, Connecticut. The last half mile of this stretch leads you out to Route 14A (Plainfield Pike). The railroad corridor continues further west if you cross the street. However, I turned around here and retraced my steps back to Greene.

Trail map can be found at: Trestle Trail West.

Along The Trestle Trail.

Along The Trestle Trail.