Ash Swamp – Cumberland

  • Ash Swamp
  • Nate Whipple Highway, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°58’57.94″N, 71°25’32.16″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 4, 2022
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Moderate due to lack of blazes and mapping, Some Elevation.

In the thickly wooded area behind the North Cumberland Middle School are a series of trails that meander across lesser known town owned land. Some of these trails are used by the schools cross country team and the remainder reach to Tower Hill Road. For this hike, I ventured into the woods with a map from “OpenStreetMaps” with the intention of finding and completing the two loops in the middle of the property. The first challenge was getting to the trail head. Passing through the main parking area for the school, drive behind the school to a smaller parking area at the back of the school. There is enough room for 2 or 3 cars here. From here follow the tree line around the bend and you will encounter a sign for the schools cross country program. This the trailhead! After entering the woods stay to the left. The trail to the right will lead you to Schofield Farm. In a little bit you will come to a four way intersection with some park benches. Turn right here. The trail winds northerly toward the first of the two loops. There will be a trail to the left just before a stream. Ignore it and continue ahead crossing the stream. Soon on the left you will get a glimpse of a boulder strewn landscape. At the next intersection stay to the right and you will cross a stream. A short distance ahead a trail comes in from the right. Ignore and stay on the main trail that veers to the left and starts a climb uphill. At the top of the hill the trail splits. Stay to the left and pass through the stone wall. The trail starts to turn to the left before straightening out. At the next split, stay to the left again. You will pass another stone wall before coming to the next trail intersection. Stay to the right here and continue ahead about sixty feet or so and there will be another intersection. Continue straight here and ahead to the next trail intersection. Ahead the trail is slightly overgrown. The main trail turns abruptly to the left. Follow the main trail as it starts a climb uphill. The trail turns to the right and levels out a bit, then turns left again and again uphill. There will be a trail to the left, ignore it and continue the climb uphill. At the top of the hill will be the next intersection. Turn left here and in about twenty feet or so will be another intersection, turn left once again. There will be a trail on the right, ignore it and continue ahead. You will now start a long descent downhill. Next, a trail comes in from the left, stay to the right and follow the main trail. And yet another trail to the right to ignore. Continue to follow the main trail downhill. At the end of the trail at the bottom of the hill turn right. Follow this trail about sixty feet to the next intersection. Turn right here and follow the main trail slightly uphill. Again a trail comes in from the right, and again ignore it. Near the top of the hill and on the left there is a narrow trail that leads to a footbridge. Take a moment to check this out. There is a babbling brook that cascades over the rocks here. Return to the main trail, it will turn slightly to the left and cross a stream. Shortly after the stream there will be another trail intersection. Stay to the left here. The trail descends downhill passing boulders and outcrops before ending at the next trail intersection. Turn right here and continue ahead to the four way intersection with the park benches. At the intersection turn left and follow the trail back to the trail head. During this hike, we encountered some chipmunks, squirrels, and a lone deer. A few suggestions and notes about this hike. Use GPS! You could easily get lost here and you will likely do some backtracking if you take a wrong turn. The map that I had used only showed the main trails. There are many other trails here that are not shown on the map. Some of the trails were blazed at intersections. These blazes are for the cross country team and are not typical “hiking blazes”. Also, it may be a good idea to tackle this hike on a weekend or holiday when the school is closed.

Trail map can be found at: Ash Swamp

TWRI-AshSwamp

Trail and Stone Wall at Ash Swamp

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