Archive for November, 2021

Moshassuck River Preserve – Lincoln

  • Moshassuck River Preserve/MacColl YMCA
  • Sherman Avenue, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°54’52.26″N, 71°26’32.76″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 24, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Moderate.

The newest of the publicly open Nature Conservancy properties, Moshassuck River Preserve catapults to the top of the list of trails in Rhode Island you must hike. The property offers two blazed loops, a historic cemetery, old stone dam, a ridgeline, boulder field, a vernal pool, several stream crossings, and the Moshassuck River itself. The trails traverse over the property known once Camp Conklin, a former Boy Scout property, and the abutting property of the MacColl YMCA. For this three mile hike start at the parking area at the bend in Sherman Avenue at the Fairlawn Golf Course. There is a sign here indicating the entrance to the hiking trails. First you will pass the open lawn of the golf course on the left before coming to a river crossing. This is your first glance of the Moshassuck. To the right is an old stone dam. The craftsmanship of the stone work is quite impressive. Next your will bear to the left. There will be a large boulder on the hill to the right. Make note of this boulder as you will need it later in the hike to find the access trail to the parking area. After bearing to the left you will notice the first of the blue blazes. Shortly on the left is the Hayden Memorial, placed here when this was a Boy Scout property. From here you will begin to slightly climb uphill. Turn left at the intersection with the yellow blazes and continue to climb uphill. Soon you will reach the top of a ridgeline with a great view of the forest below. Continuing ahead the rail goes downhill quickly first bending to the left and then to the right. You come to the first of several stream crossings here. This crossing is fairly easy as the placement of stones make for a good crossing. Just ahead on the left is a historic cemetery. The grave markers are small and scattered throughout the area. Next you will come to a significant stream crossing. The Nature Conservancy has plans to build stream and river crossings where needed, but for now choose your stones to make the crossing. The trail now winds through a boulder field before entering onto the YMCA property. The narrow trail comes to a dirt road. Continue straight ahead and follow the dirt road. It bends to the right over a culvert, narrows a bit and climbs uphill. Look for the turn to the right onto a narrow (yellow blazed) trail near the top of the hill. After making the turn the trail dips downhill through an area of boulders, crosses a bridge, then climbs uphill once again and comes to a stone wall. Follow the wall keeping it to your right ignoring side trails through the wall. The trail then bends to the right back onto Nature Conservancy property, descends to a muddy stream crossing. It was in this area we came upon a rather fearless deer. It was well aware of our presence but did not seem to fear us. The trail then climbs uphill passing more scattered boulders. Soon we passed the white blazed trail to the right and shortly after that turned left onto the blue blazed trail. The blue loop winds through the northern part of the property. First passing another small area of boulders the trail climbs up and down several small hills, crosses another small stream, and passes what appears to be a manmade well or spring on the left. The trail from here climbs significantly uphill to the highest reaches of the property before making a turn to the right and descending for quite a while. Keep an eye to the left for a vernal pool. Approaching the bottom of the hill you will come to a stone wall and private property to the left. With a slight turn to the right the Moshassuck River is now to your left. The trail then turns first to the right, then to the left, winding around private property, before rejoining the river briefly once again. A small bridge crossing is just ahead and then you will enter another small boulder field with the river on the left once again. This is a great spot to sit and listen to the water trickle by. The trail then climbs slightly uphill as the river winds away from the trail. Look for a large boulder on the left balancing on a significantly smaller stone. This is the boulder you observed when you entered the property. Just after the boulder turn left and follow the access trail pass the old stone dam back to the parking area.

Trail Map: Moshassuck River.

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Trail Along The Moshassuck River

Old Harbor – New Shoreham

  • Old Harbor Walking Tour
  • Water Street, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°10’23.58″N, 71°33’27.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 16, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

This walk, based on an on-line in town walk (see link below), covers quite a bit of the sights within a reasonable walking distance of the ferry landing at Old Harbor – Block Island. Starting from the ferry walk straight towards the restrooms then turn left and make your way out to Water Street as if you were heading to Ballards. Turn left onto Water Street and almost immediately across the street is the entrance of the Ocean View Trails. Follow the entrance trail slightly uphill. To the left is a narrow trail that leads done to the beach. Follow it to get some impressive beach views. Return back uphill and make your way up to the pavilion. This was the site of the Ocean View Hotel that stood here up till 1966 when it burnt to the ground. There is a narrow trail behind the pavilion that leads to a small garden then downhill and wraps around the backside and then west side of the property before reconnecting with the main entrance trail. Turn left back onto Water Street and then left onto Spring Street. Follow Spring Street uphill about a thousand feet and then turn right at the 1661 gardens. Follow the access road down to the farm. Here you will see emus and ostriches running about for a rather unique zoo experience. From here follow Spring Street back to the intersection with Water Street and turn left onto High Street and then right onto Weldons Way. There are several rental shops for mopeds and bicycles along the street. You will be approached to rent a moped!! At the end of the street turn left onto Chapel Street. You will pass Saint Andrews Church before coming to Old Town Road where you will turn right. The big white building on the left at the next intersection is the Block Island Historical Society. There is a small fee for a tour of the building. Take a left onto Ocean road and a few feet down is Poor Peoples Pub. This is an island staple and a good spot for lunch. Return back to the intersection and take a left onto Corn Neck Road. Follow it to a small park on the left called Solviken Nature Preserve. There are a few picnic benches here. Cross the street and you will find a set of stairs leading down to the beach. At the bottom of the stairs turn right and follow the beach to its end at the left of the Block Island Beach House/The Surf Restaurant. There is a set of stairs that lead back up to Water Street where you find several shops and eateries opposite of the ferry terminal. This makes for a good day trip walk while visiting the island without means of renting other modes of transportation.

Trail Map: Old Harbor Walking Tour.

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Ocean View Pavilion

Tri Town Ridgeline West – North Stonington/Preston

  • Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve West
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.07″N, 71°54’15.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 15, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Moderate, significant hills.

This hike would be the third of three planned routes to cover most of the trails at the Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve. This hike covers the western portion of the property. Starting at the parking area at the bend in Miller Road follow the red trail (known as the Axis Trail) into the property. It first is blazed only red but soon the blue blaze loop comes in from the left and joins the red trail. Continue ahead and the yellow blazed Fenway Trail will join from the left just as the blue blazes veer to the right. Continue ahead here now following the red/yellow blazes. Soon the yellow trail veers to the right. Continue ahead and follow the now only red blazed trail as it cuts through the property. You will soon leave North Stonington and enter into Preston. (For this hike you will not cross into Griswold). Ahead the yellow blazed Fenway Traill will cross the Axis Trail. Still continue ahead and you will start to get a glimpse of some of towering ridges and ledges the property is so known for. The red trail ends at the northern reaches of the blue loop trail. Here turn left and start climbing the incline to Lamberts Peak. This stretch can be a bit challenging due to the steady upward incline. Along the way to the peak you will pass beautiful stone walls and climb stone stairs. At the peak there is a bench to take a short break. The view from here is spectacular. Continuing ahead you now will mostly be declining down the hill passing small boulder fields with some rather impressive larger boulders, ledges, more stone walls, and stream crossings. The trail hugs the western edge of the property for a while before turning east and coming back out to the red blazed Axis Trail. Turn right here and follow it back to the parking area.

Trail Map: Tri Town Ridgeline West.

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Ridges and Ledges

O’Donnell Preserve – Attleboro

This hike is a little over a mile out and back with a short loop at the end. Parking is available at Finberg Field, then walk up Bishop Street a few feet to the trail entrance. The trail winds through a canopy of mostly maples and is blazed at every intersection. Be sure to follow the arrows as other trails leave the property and dead end. At the end there is a small loop that passes a small grove of beech trees. From here continue the loop and return on the access trail back to the street.

Trail Map: O’Donnell Preserve

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The Trail at O’Donnell Preserve

Dean Mills Preserve – Stonington

  • Dean Mills Preserve
  • Jerry Browne Road, Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°21’53.28″N, 71°56’12.72″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 8, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

This is a short mile long out and back with a short loop at the end. The trail on the way in is mostly gradually uphill and the short loop is relatively flat in comparison with two small stream crossings. The trail crosses over outcrops, areas of pines, and pass stone walls.

Trail Map: Dean Mills Preserve

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The Access Trail at Dean Mills

Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center – Stonington

  • Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
  • Pequotsepos Road, Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°21’46.34″N, 71°56’47.63″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 8, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center offers several miles of trails. For this hike, start at the backside of the Nature Center. First make a loop around the duck pond. From there follow the boardwalk to the red blazed trail. The boardwalk turns to the right and becomes part of the red blazed trail. It crosses over a small stream before bending to the right and coming out to a field. Stay to the left here and continue ahead. The trail will soon turn left back into the forest. From here follow the red blazes as the trail loops around the southern end of the property passing several impressive boulders along the way and crossing the stream once again. Ahead on the right is the white blazed Ledge Trail. This trail winds through the dense forest first up and along a ridge before meandering down to Hidden Pond. The trail turns to the left before the power lines and descends downhill eventually coming out to the back of the Pre-School. From here make your way around the school to the parking area.

Trail Map: Denison Pequotsepos

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Boardwalk Along Red Trail

Coogan Farm – Stonington

  • Coogan Farm
  • Greenmanville Avenue, Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°22’0.89″N, 71°57’43.95″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 8, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

Part of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Coogan Farm sits on the western end of the property. This hike starting at the farmhouse and art center first follows a dirt road into the property up to a storage building. Pass the building and bear right. The trail, blazed blue, steadily climbs up hill at first flanked by stone walls. There will be a few trails that bear to the left. Continue to follow the blue blazes. The trail eventually comes to and follows power lines. When you get to the intersection of power lines look for the purple blazed trail. There will be a sign here directing you to the Stillman Mansion. This trail is much narrower and climbs back uphill passes stone walls and boulders before coming to the foundation of the mansion that was never completed. Take some time here as the structure is quite interesting. From here at the opposite end of the foundation follow the trail slightly downhill and turn right. There will be a large pavilion in the field. Following the grass mowed trail do a short loop keeping to the left into the orchard. Turn left here and follow the connector trail downhill to an opening in the stone wall. From here continue straight downhill and back to the storage building. Here turn right and retrace your steps back to the parking area.

Trail Map: Coogan Farm

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Signage at Coogan Farm