Arcadia Central – Exeter

  • Arcadia Central – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
  • Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°34’36.49″N, 71°42’13.13″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 12, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.8 miles
  • Moderate with some elevation.

This hike in the central part of the Arcadia Management Area covers portions of some of the most popular trails on the property as well as some of the least traveled. It also features several points of interests if you looking for ponds, rivers, and brooks. Many portions of this hike are on trails that are not blazed and it would be suggestible to obtain a copy of the Great Swamp Press map of the property before embarking on this hike. We started this hike from the small parking area at Appie Crossing where the Arcadia and Mount Tom trails begin. From the parking area we crossed the very busy Route 165 and walked easterly about 300 feet to the entrance of the John B. Hudson Trail. This trail, yellow blazed, starts to climb uphill for a bit as it passes under a canopy of the thick forest. About three tenths of a mile from the John B. Hudson trail head is a spur trail on the left. We turned here briefly to explore the remains of a fire tower that once stood here and then continued along the yellow blazed trail. The trail starts to pass through areas of mountain laurel , a stone wall, to the next highlight of this trail on the right. It is a historical cemetery, the final resting place of the Wilcox family. Just beyond the cemetery we then crossed the Tripp Trail continuing to follow the yellow blazes. A couple of hundred feet ahead is a trail intersection with a wooden fence that serves as a gate. The trail to the right is the continuation of the yellow blazed, east branch of the John B. Hudson Trail. The trail ahead is the white blazed, west branch of the John B. Hudson Trail. We turned onto the trail to the left, the beginning of the Shelter Trail, also blazed white. This trail led us downhill through some more areas of mountain laurel. Soon we were hearing the trickle of the Breakheart Brook to the right. The trail then came to Frosty Hollow Pond, a well known fishing hole in the management area. At the time of this hike the pond was nearly empty of water as this area has been experiencing drought conditions. Next we started following the dirt road, Frosty Hollow Road, south for about two tenths of a mile until we reached the Deion Trail on the right where we turned. This trail is not blazed and used mostly by horse back riders. We followed this trail to its end and then turned right onto a dirt road, the Midway Trail. You will notice blue blazes along the Midway Trail as it is part of the North South Trail. It is also a road that is used by vehicles. The road soon crosses the Flat River and then comes to an observation deck on the left at the Falls River. After the deck we turned left over the river and approached a gate. The dirt road, with the blue blazes, turns to the right. We continued straight passing the gate. Almost immediately after the gate the old roadway splits. You have an option as to which way to go as these two roads run parallel for a few hundred feet and then rejoin. This stretch of roadway is actually part of Old Ten Rod Road. After the roads rejoin, we then turned left onto another dirt road that led us southerly. This road passes a small area that resembles a desert. Continue straight through this area avoiding turns to other roads or side trails. If you went straight you should have come out to Route 165 opposite Mount Tom Road. We then crossed the highway, onto Mount Tom Road very briefly, and turned left onto a road that led us to the Arcadia Hunter Check Station. Here we took the opportunity to take a break before tackling the last leg of the hike. The remainder of the hike becomes much easier navigation wise as it follows the eastern most portion of the Mount Tom Trail to its end. The terrain, however, can be a bit moderate as the trail climbs a couple hills. After a short break we then crossed a newly built bridge that crosses the Wood River. Across the parking area is a white blaze on a tree. The trail enters an area of tall pines, crosses a small stream, and then rapidly climbs uphill before coming to Summit Road. Continuing straight across the road, the Mount Tom Trail climbs up hill again and comes to the seven trail intersection. The Dove Crest Trail is immediately to the right and is not blazed. The blue blazed Bald Hill/North South Trail crosses the intersection. An unnamed trail is ahead to the right. The remainder of the white blazed Mount Tom Trail, which we would follow, is ahead. The trail then passes through an area strewn with boulders and ferns before coming to the trail intersection. At this intersection the Arcadia Trail is to the right, we turned left, and followed the remainder of the white blazed trail. After crossing a small brook, the trail climbs slightly uphill, flanked by stone walls, back to the parking area at Appie Crossing. This entire hike is on property where hunting is allowed. Be sure to wear blaze orange during hunting season.

Along Frosty Hollow Road

Along Frosty Hollow Road

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