Archive for the ‘ **BEST OF TRAILS AND WALKS** ’ Category

Cross Town Trail – Groton

  • Groton Cross Town Trail
  • Depot Road, Groton, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°20’8.29″N, 72° 1’58.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 2, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate with some hills and rugged areas. Navigation can be difficult in areas.

 

The town of Groton offers a trail that connects several properties while it traverses quite literally cross town. The trail, six miles in total one way, starts at Bluff Point State Park, winds through Haley Farm State Park, meanders through the Mortimer Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest before coming to a half mile of road walking, climbs through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands, and finally to Town’s End Preserve. Starting at the parking area for Bluff Point, the trail starts to the left by the composting toilets. Follow the main path ahead through areas of ledge, pass a gate and you will soon be parallel to the Amtrak tracks. To the right are some spectacular views of the upper reaches of Mumford Cove. The trail then veers slightly to the right and uphill. At the top of the hill turn left at the wooden steps and left again to cross the bridge. After crossing the bridge you have entered Haley Farm State Park. Just ahead is a gate to the right. Take the turn here, pass the gate and follow this trail. Following this trail will lead you to the main parking area for Haley Farm. Along the way you pass several small boulders and old farm stone walls before the trail turns into a stone dust path. A massive, and quite impressive stone wall will be to your left before coming to the open field just before the parking area. The trail continues to the left (north side of the parking area), however, though not technically part of the Cross Town Trail, it is well worth checking out while here. At the composting toilet is an opening at the wall. Follow the trail here and straight at the next intersection. The trail then turns to the left and back southerly. This small additional stretch is grass mowed through a field with an abundance of birds and thickets of berries and sumac. At the next intersection, continue pass the grass mowed trail to the left, pass the wood post with remains of a gate, and turn right following the trail slightly uphill flanked by a stone wall on the right. At the end of the stone wall there is a narrow trail on the right. Take this trail and follow it first through a cedar grove before passing a few stone walls. There is a trail split ahead just as a catch a glimpse of a pond. Stay to the right here and continue to follow the trail over a few boardwalks and pass Gibson Pond before exiting the State Park at Groton Long Point Road. It does not seem that blazes for the Cross Town Trail were allowed on State Property. At the time of this hike orange dots were observed at several points along the way. They were helpful, however it is very advisable to use GPS (particularly through State lands) in the event you may need to backtrack. Good news! The remainder of the trail is blazed blue through all of the remaining properties and there are trail maps at all the major intersections. Just be sure to keep an eye from blaze to blaze to assure you are on the right trail. Continuing ahead across Groton Long Point Road and slightly to the right you will come to the first blue blaze at Mortimer Wright Preserve. The trail winds up and down hill for the next couple miles passing beech groves, several stone walls, “frog crossings”, an esker and moraine, and streams as it passes the Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest. This stretch is absolutely beautiful and is well populated by deer, songbirds, and squirrels. The next half mile is road walking, crossing Fishtown Road, turning onto and following to the end of Rhonda Drive, right onto Farmstead Avenue, then right onto Judson Avenue. After Somersett Drive (on the left) start looking for the trailhead at Beebe Pond Park on the right. Follow the blue blazed trail once again through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands. This stretch can be a little rugged with rocky and root bound trails, so it is advisable to watch your step while walking and stop to take in the scenery. On the way out of the Beebe Pond Park is a massive stone wall to the right. It looks as it might have been part of a mill or dam. The trail then comes out to 850 Noank Road. This is a good spot for a second vehicle if you are going to car spot this hike. The Cross Town Trail then continues by turning left and following Noank Road for a couple hundred feet and the turning right at the gated Town Ends Preserve. The trail then ends about a tenth of mile into the preserve at Beebe Cove.

 

Map can be found at: Cross Town Trail.

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Mumford Cove at Bluff Point.

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Autumn at Merritt Family Forest

Sunset Farm Trail – Narragansett

  • Sunset Farm Trail
  • Point Judith Road, Narragansett, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’24.97″N, 71°28’48.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 15, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

Tucked away behind Sunset Farm is one of the newest trail systems in Rhode Island. A working farm, you must first make your way past the gate and follow the signs along the dirt road through the farm area. Be sure to close the gate behind you!! The trail is to the left just as you approach a stone wall at the northern edge of the property. The trail is flanked by the wall to the right and a wire fence to the left. Along this stretch are sweeping views of the farm fields. At the next intersection, and for this hike, turn left and follow the trail into a wooded area. A stone wall will now be on your left. Look for a very distinctive and obviously out of place stone in the wall. At the end of this trail turn right. The path to the left is blocked with a gate. From here you will gently descend downhill through an area with old apple trees and grape vines. The scent of grapes was rather strong at the time of this hike, and with the fruit, the birds. There were many of them singing in the nearby shrubs. At the next trail intersection there is signage. Turn left here, cross over a boardwalk, and then slightly uphill to a small knoll with a bench. There is a small view corridor (likely larger when the leaves are off the trees) of Point Judith Pond. From here retrace your steps back to the intersection. Continue straight ahead and slightly uphill. At the next intersection continue straight and then retrace your steps back to and through the farm. Be sure to check out the farm stand for fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, sauces, and meats. Around the other side of the barn are pens. You may catch a glimpse of a cow or goat.

 

Map can be found at: Sunset Farm Trail.

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The Trail Flanked by Fence and Wall

Washington Secondary Bike Path – Cranston/Warwick/West Warwick/Coventry

  • Washington Secondary Bike Path
  • Cranston, RI to Coventry, RI
  • Last Time Hiked: 2018/2019
  • Approximate Distance: 18.8 miles (open sections)
  • Fairly easy.

Spanning 19 miles from a stones throw of the Providence border in a bustling and busy northern Cranston to the nearly desolate western end of the state, this bike path offers glimpses into central Rhode Island and its vast history and natural beauty. The Washington Secondary Bike Path, part of the East Coast Greenway, follows the former Providence, Hartford, and Fishkill Railroad as it winds through industrial areas, by shopping plazas, through suburban neighborhoods, pass old textile mills, along the Pawtuxet River with dams and waterfalls, and into the heavily wooded and secluded stretches of Western Coventry. The bike path was first opened in Coventry in 1997 and several sections in Cranston, Warwick, and West Warwick were added over the years. The western most 5 miles are under construction and is expected to open in 2020 making the total length 24 miles. There are a few rules to follow; walk on the left, bicycles stay to the right, and dogs must be leashed. This walk, like the Washington Secondary itself, is broken into six sections as to highlight each greenway along the way.

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Along the Washington Secondary Bike Path in Cranston

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  • Cranston Bike Path
  • Approximate distance: 5.6 miles
  • Easy, entire leg is a paved bike path.

The first leg of the Washington Secondary Bike Path is the Cranston Bike Path. Built in three sections between 2000 and 2003, it winds nearly 6 miles along the former railroad. It starts from a parking area (41°48’4.65″N, 71°26’34.74″W) along Garfield Avenue just south of the Cranston Police Station. The bike path, well flanked by trees, follows the old railroad line south passing an office building on the left before coming to Tongue Pond. The pond, not visible from the bike path, is accessible via a paved path on the left. The bike path then passes behind the Lowes building before crossing Garfield Avenue. Use caution here (and at all street crossings) as it tends to be quite busy. Soon you will cross your first of several bridges. This bridge crosses over Burnham Avenue leaving behind the bustling shopping plazas of Garfield Avenue for quieter suburban residential neighborhoods for a bit. The next major crossing is Gansett Avenue. This time you will go under the road. Just after the bridge and on the left are the Cooney and Tate Fields, a city park with recreation fields and a walking path. There is parking here (41°47’14.82″N, 71°27’12.87″W) on Oak Street. Continuing ahead, you soon cross Dyer Avenue where there is a large “Cranston Bike Path” sign with all the info needed to know. The next bridge crosses the Pocassett River which starts in Johnston by Dame Farm and Snake Den and winds to the Pawtuxet River. Using caution, you will cross Park Avenue into the Knightsville neighborhood. The bike path now traverses through a neighborhood of light industrial, apartments, and commercial buildings before paralleling Cranston Street by the Public Library. Here you will cross Uxbridge Street back into mostly residential neighborhoods with some apartment buildings, then pass under the beginning of Oaklawn Avenue into the Meshanticut neighborhood. You will notice now that the bike path is in a valley between neighborhoods now. Keep an eye out to the right side, from this point forward as you will be able to catch a glimpse of an old telegraph pole once and again. These were typical alongside railroads back in the day. After passing the Greek Orthodox Church on the left (famed for its Greek Festival) you will pass under Dean Street continuing to parallel both Cranston Street to the right and Oaklawn Avenue to the left passing by their neighborhoods. Next you will cross Sherman Street, pass under the Route 37 overpass into the Oaklawn neighborhood, and meander along the backside of several strip malls and businesses on the left along Oaklawn Avenue. You are approaching Oaklawn Village just before the  next bridge where parking (41°44’48.93″N, 71°28’46.64″W) is available. The bridge crosses Wilbur Avenue and shortly on the right is a trail head for the Woodland Trail. This trail leads back down to Wilbur Avenue. Continuing ahead you will soon cross over the Meshanticut Brook in a fairly wooded area. Take a peek along the right side of the bridge. There is an old railroad marker/signage here at the bridge. The brook down below is quite pretty and the wooded area offers a haven for many birds. Ahead the bike path crosses under New London Avenue (Route 33) into another wooded area west of the Pontiac neighborhood. Just before the large metal building on the left you leave Cranston. From here to the parking lot under Interstate 295 (and beyond to the Pawtuxet River), the town line between Warwick and West Warwick follows the former railroad right of way, Warwick to the left, West Warwick to the right. At the bridges that carry Interstate 295 over West Natick Road are two large dirt parking lots (41°43’45.14″N, 71°29’4.18″W). This is the end of the Cranston Bike Path.

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The Cranston Bike Path passing under Gansett Avenue.

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  • Warwick Bike Path
  • Approximate distance: 1.6 miles
  • Easy, entire leg is a paved bike path.

Continuing beyond West Natick Road and under Interstate 295, the Cranston Bike Path becomes the Warwick Bike Path. This section, just over a mile and a half, was built in 2003. The bike path for the next couple hundred feet is flanked by post and rail fence before coming to a steel truss bridge that crosses the Pawtuxet River. This is the first of several crossings of the river along the Washington Secondary Bike Path. After crossing the bridge you are now in the East Natick neighborhood of Warwick. Just ahead on the left is Tirocchi Field complete with ball fields, a canoe launch, and a trail that leads to the river. Parking is available here at the park (41°43’22.7″N 71°29’07.4″W). Beyond the park is a row of mill houses on the left and then the East Avenue crossing. After crossing the busy street take note of the sign explaining the history of the Village. The bike path then continues southerly through mixed industrial, commercial, and residential neighborhoods paralleling Bald Hill Road before passing a trailer park. From here the bike path slowly curves to the west, again flanked by post and rail fence as well as some small areas of ledge. At the next street crossing, Providence Street (Route 33) is the city line. This is where the Warwick Bike Path ends.

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Crossing the Pawtuxet River

 

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  • West Warwick Greenway
  • Approximate distance: 2.6 miles
  • Easy, entire leg is a paved bike path.

After crossing Providence Street you are now on the West Warwick Greenway. The first section from Providence Street to Hay Street was built in 2000. The remaining 2 miles through West Warwick was built in 2003. The Greenway first passes the backside of small industrial and commercial businesses along Providence Street on the left and a small residential neighborhood on the right before coming to the Bradford Soap Works complex. The newer factory building is to the right, but the much older and historic mill building is on the left at another bridge that crosses the Pawtuxet River once again. Technically this is the South Branch of the Pawtuxet, as the river joins with the North Branch slightly downstream. The mill building, with a date of 1889 inscribed on it, is a multi story stone structure with an adjacent dam and waterfall clearly visible from the bridge. Being a manufacturer of soap, the air in the general area smells quite pleasantly “soapy”. After crossing the river Hay Street is just ahead. This is the entrance to Riverpoint Park where parking (41°42’56.6″N 71°30’56.9″W) is available once again. Also here at Hay Street, it is worth taking a peak to the left a couple hundred feet to check out the New Haven Caboose. Continuing ahead, the tennis courts of Riverpoint Park will be on your right and the backside of the West Warwick Public Works Facility will be on your left as the bike path starts to turn to the south and then cross over East Main Street. Passing through a neighborhood first, the bike path will come to Providence Street once again at Arctic. Just after crossing the street is a kiosk on the left with information about the East Coast Greenway, complete with distances to the terminus at Calais, Maine and Key West, Florida. From here the bike path flanks the South Branch Pawtuxet River once again briefly before turning toward the west, passing through areas of ledge,  and then under Main Street. Continuing ahead through a narrow area you soon cross Brookside Avenue. After crossing the street the bike path continues straight flanked by post and rail fence for a little over a half mile before reaching a mile marker at the town line between West Warwick and Coventry. Just after the West Warwick Avenue (Route 117) overpass is the Coventry Greenway sign.

 

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Bradford Soap Works Building Along The South Branch Pawtuxet River

 

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  • Coventry Greenway
  • Approximate distance: 4.3 miles
  • Easy, entire leg is a paved bike path.

The next section of the Washington Secondary Bike Bath is the Coventry Greenway which was built in three sections between 1997 and 2010. The Greenway starts at the West Warwick line and continues to a point 4.3 miles west. It is maintained by the Town of Coventry. Continuing from the end of the West Warwick Greenway at the town line you will first pass on the left the Matteson Pond Recreation Area. Here along the bike path is a small park area with a short path and park benches. Beyond the park area through the woods is the actual pond. The bike path then crosses three streets (Whitford, Pulaski, and Quidnick) passing the Rhodes Pharmaceuticals factory on the left. Continuing ahead the bike path crosses the South Branch Pawtuxet River once again, this time at Clarion Falls (to the left). Just after the river crossing, also on the left is the famed Nathanael Greene Homestead. There are trails here to explore if you care to and are accessible from the bike path. A kiosk has been recently installed here. On the right just before crossing Laurel Avenue is the former Anthony Mill along the South Branch Pawtuxet River. It is now a residential complex. On the left is a former platform from yesteryear when this was a railway. There are some tracks at the other-side of the platform. After crossing Laurel Avenue there is a parking area on the left (41°41’40.5″N 71°32’51.4″W) and a kayak launch for the South Branch Pawtuxet River on the right. An old railway station platform is here as well between the bike path and the parking area. Continuing ahead, the bike path crosses the South Branch Pawtuxet River one last time via another steel truss bridge before passing a couple streets. On the left is the entrance to the Merrill Whipple Conservation Area, which offers trails to the river. Also on the left is a cemetery just before the bike path crosses Main Street (Route 117) via another old railroad bridge. Pushing forward, The bike path passes behind the Coventry Police Station and the Cornerstone of Faith United Methodist Church. Here, up on the small bank, is a nice little spot to rest if so inclined. Next, the bike path crosses Holden Street and Station Street where there are parking areas on the right (41°41’32.6″N 71°33’52.4″W). After the parking area is another section of old railroad track. Along the way you will pass several sections, but this one is of interest because it is a switch. The bike path then passes Paine Field where more parking is available (41°41’34.4″N 71°34’05.4″W). Paine Field offers tennis courts, baseball fields, and basketball courts. The bike path then crosses Main Street once again. Be sure to use the crosswalk here as this is a busy crossing. Also, to the left at Main Street is an ice cream shop (Udder Delights). Next, the bike path passes behind the Coventry Senior Center before coming to another parking area (41°41’49.1″N 71°34’46.5″W) where the bridle trail begins. From this point westward the stone dust trail parallels the bike path occasionally crossing it and switching sides. Just before the Flat River Reservoir is a spur path on the right that leads to parking at the Coventry Library (41°42’04.7″N 71°35’36.7″W). You will get your first glimpse of Flat River Reservoir to the left by the Ayoho Campground. The bike path starts to move into a much more rural area of Coventry, well wooded on both sides. At Ayoho Road there is limited parking (41°42’03.5″N 71°36’00.6″W). After Whitehead Road, the bridle trail climbs uphill on the left for a bit before rejoining the bike path. Along this stretch the bike path passes through a some area of ledge. The remaining section of the Coventry Greenway is flanked by post and rail fence as it pushes westward toward the Trestle Trail which starts at a sign indicating that you are leaving the area maintained by Coventry Parks and Recreation Department.

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The Coventry Greenway and The Bridle Path.

 

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  • Trestle Trail East
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.7 miles
  • Easy, entire leg is a paved bike path.

The Washington Secondary Bike Path continues through the rest of Coventry as the Trestle Trail and is maintained by the State of Rhode Island. Built in 2014, the eastern section of it pushes through Western Coventry to the Village of Summit. Seamlessly continuing from the Coventry Greenway, the Trestle Trail passes through an area of tall pines before coming to an area for equestrian parking (41°42’14.8″N 71°37’08.2″W) at Pinehaven Road. Along the way there is a dirt pathway on the right that leads to Skip’s Creamery. After Pinehaven Road the bike path crosses two more roads before coming to the Flat River Reservoir once again at the Cheese Bridge. The bridge offers a good view of the narrow portion of the reservoir below. Continuing ahead the Trestle Trail crosses Hill Farm Road where there is yet another parking area (41°42’04.5″N 71°38’04.8″W) at Coventry Center. At the crossing, a large white brick building, once used to bleach fabrics, will remind you of the villages past. Pushing forward the trail now enters a much more secluded area as the parallel Route 117 pulls further and further to the north. To the left is the first glimpse of Stump Pond at a bridge crossing. Continuing, the bike path is flanked by post and rail fence and the bridle trail zig zags back and forth. As the bike path bends ever slightly to the right it passes through an area of preserved land. On the left is the Neylon Property and shortly thereafter on the right is the Beaudoin Property. After the 7.0 mile marker, on the left there is an opening in the fence line that leads to a right of way with a trail named Comstock Path. Just off the bike path here you will find the ruins of an old mill complete with a mill race and dam. Directly across from the fence opening and on the right is the terminus of the yellow blazed trail of the Beaudoin Property (a Coventry Land Trust property off of Ledge Road). The bike path pushes ahead crossing the Quidnick Brook, passing Williams Crossing Road, and then crossing Quidnick Brook again, coming to an area of brown stone ledge before climbing up to the intersection of Camp Westwood Road. It may seem odd that there is such a hill here for a former railroad grade, but “back in the day” there was a bridge here and the railroad passed under the road. After crossing the road, take a peek to the left. You may spot a large rooster (lawn ornament). Ironically enough, you are likely to hear them as well. The bike path now descends back to the original railroad grade, levels out, crosses another brook, and becomes narrower as it approaches the Route 102 (Victory Highway) overpass. The bike path is flanked by ledge again just before the busy highway crossing. After going under the bridge, the bike path starts the descend slightly passing a small pond on the left before coming to Log Bridge Road in the village of Summit. On the right is the famed Summit General Store. This is the end of the Trestle Trail East. Just on the other side of the road is a parking area (41°41’27.0″N 71°41’57.1″W) and kiosk with the history of the village. The bike path continues a few more feet beyond the parking lot and dead ends. This is where the Trestle Trail West will continue in the near future.

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Trestle Trail East Approaching Route 102.

 

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  • Trestle Trail West
  • Approximate distance hiked: To be determined
  • Currently under construction and closed. Expected to open in 2020.

TO BE CONTINUED!!!

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The Trestle Trail West Will Continue From Here in 2020!

 

I would like to thank Auntie Beak once again for joining me in another long distance endeavor. 

 

Photos of the walk can be found on the Trails and Walks Facebook page.

 

 

Mercy Woods – Cumberland

 

The Town of Cumberland recently purchased 229 of the 243 acres of the Sisters of Mercy property for conservation and passive recreation. With the help of the Cumberland Land Trust, the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, and volunteers, Mercy Woods has become not only one of the newest trail systems, but handily one of the most beautiful in Rhode Island. The nearly six miles of trails are well blazed and mapped. For this hike, I led a group, following the Perimeter Walk, from the Sumner Brown Road parking area just off of Route 121. We crossed the road to follow the yellow blazed Mercy Loop. After crossing a field and passing a gate we were onto the trail. The trail winds pass the red blaze trail and turns to the east where it intersects with the blue blazed Ridge Trail. Look towards the right here just before the blue trail. Up on the hill is a pile of rocks, possibly a cairn or an impressive “balance artwork”. Following the blue blazes of the aptly named Ridge Trail for the next two miles leads you up and down some impressive hills, crossing a few streams, passing several stone walls, winding by large boulders and outcrops, along a ridge, and through a forest floor of ferns. The trail intersects with four red blazed trails (Stone Wall, Fisher, Fern, and Fiske) and crosses Sumner Brown Road. For this hike, we followed the blue blazes to their terminus at the Mercy Loop. The Warner Trail also joins the Ridge Trail for a bit. You will see a few white circle blazes along the way marking the long distance trail. When we reached the yellow blazes once again we turned left. Keep an eye out for the blazes as there are two trails to the left (one being not blazed). The remainder of the hike winds through the woods at the southern end of the property, passing through an open field, by power lines, then crosses Highland View Road before the final stretch that leads you back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Mercy Woods.

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Along The Mercy Loop

Big Lakes Trail – Providence

  • Big Lakes Trail – Roger Williams Park
  • Cladrashs Avenue, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°47’3.52″N, 71°24’44.76″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 24, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.6 miles
  • Easy.

 

The longest of the five marked trails at Roger Williams Park winds around the parks large lakes offering several nice views and plenty of opportunities to see birds. Being a loop you can start almost anywhere, but for this walk we started at the boathouse. The trail is well marked with white diamonds painted on sidewalks where posts are not available. From the boathouse, head east (away from the carousel), and cross the street at a crosswalk. The trail enters a wooded section along Cunliff Lake winding up and over a small hill before coming to the Temple to Music. This structure was built in 1924 and hosts concerts as well as other events. Continuing to follow the white blazes leads to a 600 foot section of road walking before the trail turns left into the woods and joins the yellow blazed Temple View Trail. The white blazed trail soon bears to the right and up hill coming to the back side of a baseball field, then left into the woods again before re-emerging to a grassy area at the southern end of the park. From here the trail swings around Elm Lake and begins to head north. This long stretch now follows the shores of Elm Lake, Cunliff Lake once again, and Edgewood Lake before coming to another road crossing.  After crossing the road the trail then hugs the shore of Pleasure Lake before coming to a pedestrian bridge that leads you back to the boathouse. The lakes are home to swans, geese, herons, egrets, and ducks. Several songbirds also dwell in the shrubs and bushes nearby. Turtles can be seen here as well, likely sunbathing on small fallen trees and branches stretching into the lakes. The shores are also usually occupied by people fishing for bass and sunfish. The park is also home to the Carousel Village and the Roger Williams Park Zoo. One could plan an entire day at the park!

 

Map can be found at: Big Lakes Trail.

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Temple To Music From The Opposite Shore.

Spruce Acres Farm – Portsmouth/Middletown

 

Straddling the town line of Portsmouth and Middletown on the west side of East Main Road is a former Christmas tree farm that has been preserved by the Aquidneck Island Land Trust. Spruce Acres Farm offers about a mile and a half of trails that meander about the property. It is the newest trail system in Rhode Island, opening to the public December of 2018. The blue blazed loop trail covers almost all of the property and is just over a mile long. From the parking area follow the red trail signs pass the private residence and barn to the next kiosk. This trail, the Gerwirz Trail, is the beginning of the blue blazed trail. Pass the gate and follow the main central trail pass an old structure, stay to the left, and pass another private residence to the right. At the next trail intersection turn right and follow the signs for the blue trail the remainder of the walk. The trail is very well marked as it winds through the old farm first on the Portsmouth side before crossing into Middletown. Among the shrubs you will occasionally catch a glimpse of an old sign here and there indicating former lots of Christmas trees. In the shrubs you will hear rustling of birds as it is a haven for all types from small songbirds to the larger hawks. Also dotting in and out of the stone walls are chipmunks and squirrels. There are some quite impressive trees on the property as well as a small pine grove. Bring a camera and take your time on this pleasant and short stroll as this is a beautiful property to enjoy.

 

Map can be found at: Spruce Acres Farm

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Along the blue trail at Spruce Acres Farm.

Prudence East – Portsmouth

  • Prudence East
  • Narragansett Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’11.11″N, 71°18’18.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 25, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

This hike on Prudence Island starts at the ferry dock in the small village of Homestead. It covers most of the trails around Baker Farm, a Prudence Conservancy property that is meticulously maintained by a group of volunteers known as the “Trail Gang”. Staying on the well blazed and mowed trails reduces your chances of encountering ticks which are in abundance on the island. Starting from the ferry dock, walk out to Narragansett Avenue and turn left. In a couple hundred feet turn right onto Pier Road. This paved road climbs uphill passing the historic Union Church and several homes before coming to Sunset Hill Avenue on the left. The street is marked by a white post with the respective street names engrave into it. Following Sunset Hill Avenue will lead you pass a couple more homes before a vast open area with fields on each side. Ahead you will pass through the intersection of East Lane and this will lead you to the trails. There are several signs here indicating which way to the trails. Continue ahead on the trail for a few hundred feet and you will soon come to a trail intersection marked with a diamond. Turn right here to follow the Diamond Trail to the Division Wall. The trail to the left is the Diamond Trail as well and you will return from this trail. Make note of this intersection. The trail is wide here flanked by trees, shrubs, and thickets. The rustling you may here are the birds in the thick brush. When you reach the end of the trail you will come to a dirt road. Stay to the left here and pass through the stone wall. Take a look at the historic wall. This wall, running from Division Rock along the west coast of the island to Governor Payne Road to the east, was built to divide the island into two halves, delineating the properties once owned by Roger Williams to the north and John Winthrop to the south. You will also notice that you are at a major trail intersection. For this hike you will want to follow the dirt road to the south called the Heritage Trail. It is blazed with a feather and is just under a half mile to Baker Farm. When you reach the old barn site continue straight ahead. You will have an opportunity to explore it later as you will return to the farm site two more times on this hike. You will soon reach another major trail intersection. Turn to the right here and follow the School House Trail. The trail starts to descend gently for a little over a half mile and comes out to a dirt road named Broadway. This is the main east-west route across the island so do expect to see some traffic. You will want to turn left onto Broadway, but first take a peak at the Prudence Island School House to the right. The structure was built in 1896 and is the fourth (only surviving) school house built on Prudence Island. Continuing the hike, start walking along Broadway to the east. Across the way is a local landmark know as the Farm-a-cy. This honor system farm stand offers seasonal vegetables, jams, honey and home made baked goods. The zucchini muffins are outstanding. Further up the road just before the first street on the right is the southern trail head of the Heritage Trail. It is on the left and well marked with a Heritage Reserve sign. Turn left here and follow the Heritage Trail (also known as Army Camp Trail) north back towards Baker Farm. When you reach the intersection of the School House Trail you will notice an unmarked, but well groomed trail straight ahead and slightly to the right. Follow this trail and it will lead you to Baker Farm and come out between the ruins of the barn to the left and the farmhouse to the right. Both of these sites have impressive stone foundations. There was also a milk shed and an inn on the site. The inns location is marked with three rows of stones to the east of the farmhouse foundation. The farm site also offers a disc golf course. The history of the farm and the disc golf course are available on an informational kiosk board. To the south of the inn site is a large mowed lawn. At the south end of the lawn is the beginning of the Bob Clachrie Trail. This trail, marked with a hikers hat and also originally called the Christmas Trail, is named after Mr. Clachrie whom was one of the original members of the so-called Trail Gang. The trail, the first cut by the Trail Gang, winds down hill offering a nice view of the East Passage and the Melville Pier before descending to Narragansett Avenue. From here turn left and follow the paved road pass the Prudence Island Fire Station and then turn left onto Governor Payne Road. This road passes several homes and a vast wooded area on the left. About three tenths of a mile along the road and on the left look for the Old Inn Trail marked with a rocking chair. Turning left here, follow the trail over a couple boardwalks, uphill, and along a beautiful stone wall before returning to Baker Farm. Once back at the old inn site, turn to the right and look for the Diamond Trail. Follow this trail as it descends downhill passing through an area of trees that look twined and braided. You will soon pass over a few more short boardwalks before coming to the Division Wall Trail and the wall itself. Continue straight, passing through the wall. The trail first goes through an area of ferns and then becomes substantially root bound. Watch you footing here as some of the roots can be a tripping hazard. The trail soon comes to an intersection. The Diamond Trail turns to the left, but you want to stay to the right and return to East Lane. This is the trail intersection you made note of earlier. When you reach East Lane turn to the right and follow the road keeping the large field to your left. After passing the field you will see a sign for the Buzzy Rice Trail to your left. Follow this mowed trail passing the water tank. The trail then slightly descends. Ahead the trail splits. Stay to the left here, but first take a peek through the trees along the right. There is an opening that offers a great view of the Mount Hope Bridge. Staying to the left the trail continues to descend slightly and ends at Pier Road. Turn right here, passing the Union Church once again and follow Pier Road down to Narragansett Avenue. Directly ahead of you is the “Prudence Island Mall” consisting of a small general store and the post office, To the left is the ferry terminal. Note that hunting is allowed in and around some parts of this hike. Be sure to wear orange during hunting season.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

Map can be found at: Prudence East

TWRI-PI825-20

Along The Bob Clachrie Trail

TWRI-PI825-27

Along The Old Inn Trail