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

Quandoc Conservation Area – Killingly

  • Quandoc Conservation Area
  • Brickhouse Road, Killingly, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°48’6.86″N,71°48’8.62″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 7, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Moderate.

 

Right over the Rhode Island border is a great kept secret. Though the hike here is just about a mile and a half, the property offers near solitude as it winds through woods, fields, by bogs, and over a stream. Starting from the trail head just left of the kiosk you will find yourself climbing slightly uphill following the yellow blazes. The trail, narrow at points, traverses under a canopy of tall pines as it weaves pass stone walls. The trail then crosses a babbling brook at a stepping stone array. Just after the brook turn right at the trail intersection. This will begin the loop portion of the hike. The trail here descends downhill a bit and will come to a cart path. Turn left here at the cart path and follow it downhill. A trail comes in from the right, ignore it and continue ahead following the yellow blazes. Note another small babbling brook on the left. Soon you will pass some large boulders then the trail comes to an open field. Continue straight ahead through the grassy area keeping the stone wall to your right. You are likely to see many insects and butterflies here as there is milkweed in the field. Beyond the wall you will catch glimpse of a bog. The trail continues slightly uphill, turns slightly to the right, then passes through a pine grove. After the pines the trail splits, stay to the left here. In a few feet the trail splits again. Stay to the left here and note the yellow blazes on the rocks in the ground. From here the trail climbs steeply for a bit. Your stamina and lung capacity will be tested on this hill. This is the northern most part of the trail system. From here the trail gently winds up and down small hills passing under a canopy of pine and beech trees while passing more stone walls. You will notice some white quartz stones along the trail just before your turn to the right. After turning right and crossing the brook once again you will retrace your steps back to the parking area following the yellow blazes.

 

Map can be found at: Quandoc.

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Late Spring Ferns at Quandoc

 

DeCoppett South – Richmond

  • DeCoppett South – DeCoppett State Management Area
  • Hillsdale Road, Richmond, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°30’44.97″N, 71°38’40.28″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 19, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, difficult river crossing.

 

This hike in a lesser known State Management Area offers quite a bit. Beautiful trails, boulders, a pond, cemetery, and a nearly impossible river crossing. With that last part being said, be prepared to backtrack if the river is in fact impossible to cross as conditions change over time and can drastically be affected by recent weather. For this hike, in the southern section of the property, start from a small parking area on the west side of Hillsdale Road where Punchbowl Trail intersects. Cross the road towards the “Road Closed/Dead End” sign and follow the trail as it quickly descends downhill. Along this stretch you will observe several boundary signs before coming to the swiftly flowing Beaver River. This crossing offers a large planed log with a unique split at the far end. If you find this river crossing questionable, this hike may not be for you. Continuing ahead the trail slowly climbs uphill flanked by a stone wall on the left. Ahead, just off the trail and on the right is a cemetery. There are no visible inscriptions on the stones. This is the Phillips-Barber Cemetery with graves dating back to 1772. One of the graves is of that of Benjamin Barber who served in the American Revolution. Back on the trail, you will soon come to an intersection. Turn left here. In a few hundred feet the trail splits. Stay to the right here, the trail on your left is your “emergency exit”. The trail starts to climb uphill gently but for quite a while. After recent rains this section of trail can be quite muddy as it winds pass boulders small and large. At the top of the hill (1.1 miles from the start of the hike) take a sharp left turn. There is a small cairn here to mark the intersection. This trail starts the long,  and at times steep, descent back towards the Beaver River. Along the way you will pass through an impressive area of boulders and a trail on the left. Make note of this trail. If you can’t cross the river this trail is your “emergency exit” and will be the best way to exit as it avoids climbing the hill you just came down. When you reach the river you will notice there is no bridge. There is a row of stones here that can be used to cross when the river is low and calm. (At the time of this hike the river was swollen and rather deep after heavy rains. Crossing here was not an option. Wandering upstream a bit you will find a downed tree that crosses the river. Someone has tied a rope across the river where this tree is. Do not rely on the rope for balance. This is a difficult and dangerous crossing. You are on your own if you attempt this. After crossing follow the river downstream back to the trail.) On the other side of the river the trail becomes an area of grass. Stay to the left here, the trail turns slightly right and climbs gently uphill again passing sections of old fence and a cellar hole. There will be another trail to the right that follows an old split rail fence for a bit and up a small hill. Here is the Fielding-Vallet cemetery with noticeably modern graves as recent as 2010, that being of Hope Edwards, the last “tenant” of this property. After her death, per the wishes of Theakston de Coppett, this property was endowed to the State of Rhode Island to become a nature preserve. After checking out this cemetery, return to the last intersection and turn right. The trail soon comes out to Hillsdale Road. Turn left here and then right almost immediately and back into the woods. Along this stretch there is a short spur trail that leads to a field that is worth checking out. Continuing back on the trail you will come to a wide stream. After the last river crossing this one is a breeze. Still not easy though, as you have to jump from stone to stone. The trail then winds through pines and deciduous trees that have been ravaged by the recent gypsy moth infestations. At the next trail intersection, turn left. The trail is now covered in pine needles as you traverse your way through a pine grove. Ahead you will come to a four way intersection with a large boulder at the corner of a stone wall. You will eventually follow the trail to the left back to the parking area, but first you will want to follow the trail straight ahead of you. The trail leads to a large open field where you may catch a glimpse of hawks or turkey vultures. At the field turn right and follow the tree line for a bit to get a glimpse of Bailey Pond. From here retrace your steps back to the four way intersection where you will turn right to return to the parking area. The trails here are not blazed and there is no official map available for the property. It is highly recommended to use a GPS device here.

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The First River Crossing

Map

Trail Map – DeCoppett South

Worden Pond – South Kingstown

  • Worden Pond – Great Swamp Management Area
  • Great Neck Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°28’8.48″N, 71°34’46.65″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

The Great Swamp Management Area offers a little of everything. This hike will take you to the shores of Worden Pond and over the “heights” of Great Neck. Starting at the parking area, follow the road pass the kiosk. It will pass areas of swamp and small ponds before coming to the first split. Here there is a stone memorial marker for Dr. John Mulleedy. Stay to the left at this split and continue ahead. This road will soon pass under the power lines and gradually climb up hill for a bit pass stone walls and holly trees mixed among the other pines and deciduous. At the next split there is another stone memorial marker, this one for George McCahey. Again stay to the left at the split and continue ahead. You will notice that this road is a little less traveled. Not too far ahead is yet another split. There is no marker at this one and again stay to the left and continue ahead. When the hill finally crests (approximately 1.6 miles from the start of the hike) look for a side spur trail to the left. This is well worth checking out. In just a few foot steps you will come to a ledge that overlooks the land and swamp below. Take a moment here and then retrace your steps to the main trail and turn left. The road now winds downhill passing boulders, ledge, and mountain laurel before bending to the left and to a cove at the pond wedged between Stony Point and Case Point. Geese an ducks are a common site here and may startle you as you approach. The large concrete slab here is all that remains of a seaplane hanger. After checking out the pond for a bit make your way back a few feet and turn left. This spot is particularly muddy after stormy weather. This is a swamp after all!! The trail soon turns to the north and climbs quickly uphill. After two small fields on the right and one on the left you will come to the next split. Turn left here and follow the left side of the field, pass a stone wall at the treeline, and then follow the right side of the next field. You will then turn right onto a well defined road. This road will take you over some of the highest points of the property, known as Great Neck. You will start to come across several fields, particularly on the left. These fields offer clearings that give you sweeping views of the western portions of the property including the wildlife marsh that is featured on the Great Swamp hike. These fields are known to be a haven for American Woodcocks and Northern Flickers among several other birds (thank you URI student for that info!!). At the next intersection turn left and the road starts to descend. There are still great views over the fields on the left. As the road reaches the bottom of the hill you will pass under the power lines once again. Shortly after that is a small pond on the left. At the next intersection stay to the right and continue to follow the power lines until the road veer to the left away from them. Pass another field on the left and you will soon come to the Mulleedy Marker once again. Stay to the left here and follow the road back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Worden Pond.

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Worden Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allens Pond East – Dartmouth

 

Allens Pond is a Masachusetts Audubon property along Buzzards Bay. The property offers 6 to 7 miles of trails. It is a diverse and beautiful property offering several types of features from beaches to fields to woodlands. With that being said, I have decided to break the property into three separate hikes to maximize visiting all of the trails without having an overwhelming hike distance. For the first hike, I started at the easterly trailhead along Allen Neck Road and followed the mowed path to a stone wall and gate. This is the beginning of the Woodland Loop. Continuing straight ahead I followed the path over some boardwalks that went over several small streams. The loop passes a few ledges and glacial outcrops as well. The trail soon comes to a dirt road. You may catch a glimpse of the cows in the field in front of you. Turn right here onto the road and immediately turn left after the stone wall and again immediately right onto the Boulder Trail. This will put you on a small loop path that will bring you by two massive boulders. At the next intersection turn right. You will soon come to another intersection. Here continue straight. The trail winds through thick shrubs and you will come to another significant boulder before coming to the end of the trail. Turn right now onto the Grassland Trail. It will descend slightly downhill before coming to a farm road. Turn left here and follow the road to the large open field. Stay to the left and follow the perimeter of the field. You will see a sign for the Quansett Trail. On your left here is a path that leads to a loop trail that follows the perimeter of a field. It will add a half mile to your hike if you so choose to do it. For this hike continue straight along the Quansett Trail. Look for a post on the left by a narrow trail. When you find it follow the narrow path to a scenic viewing area. From here you can view the salt marsh and Buzzards Bay beyond. From here retrace your steps back along the narrow path, turn right onto the Quansett Trail, continue around the field, following the Grassland Trail back to the Boulder Loop. Instead of turning left where you came in, continue straight briefly before taking the next left. Follow this trail back to farm road by the cows. Be sure to check out the stone wall on your right along the way as you are very likely to find frolicking chipmunks. Also look for a vernal pool on your left along this stretch. After turning right onto the farm road, pass the trail on the left (the one you came in on) and then veer to the left onto the next trail. This will lead you back into the woods and over another boardwalk before ending at the stonewall and gate by the entrance trail. Turn right here to get to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Allens Pond East.

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Woodland Loop Return by the Farm Road

Patricia Sprague Forest – Charlestown

  • Patricia Sprague Forest Preserve
  • Railroad Avenue, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°27’4.63″N, 71°39’21.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 2, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Fairly easy, some elevation.

 

For a relatively short, but stunningly beautiful hike just off of Route 112 in Charlestown, the Patricia Sprague Forest offers quite a bit. Starting from a small parking area along Railroad Avenue, follow the blue blazed, pine needle covered trail into the property first passing a stone wall and glacial boulders before coming to a split. For this hike stay to the right following the blue blazes northeasterly along the properties southern border. Ahead, just off the trail and on the right, is an old fire pit that overlooks the valley below. Continuing along the blue blazed trail you will catch glimpses of the Pawcatuck River down below on the right. The trail then descends rapidly into a valley, then climbs back uphill, over a ridge-line and finally into an open field. At the field stay to the right following the fields perimeter on a beaten path that traverses the northern reaches of the property. You will pass through a very young pine grove along this stretch as well. The trail leaves the field for the last time as it bears right into the tall pines and along the properties western border. Ahead you will pass through an old orchard before coming to the entrance trail. Stay to the right here and retrace your steps by the stone wall and back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Patricia Sprague Forest.

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Stone Walls and Tall Trees

Beaudoin Conservation Area – Coventry

  • Beaudoin Conservation Area
  • Ledge Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°41’56.06″N, 71°39’21.08″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 22, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
  • Moderate, some stream crossings and rocky footing in areas.

 

A lesser known, but truly spectacular, trail system lies in western Coventry just between Route 117 and the Washington Secondary Bike Path. Starting at a parking area with a kiosk along Ledge Road follow the blue blazed trail as it gently descends into the heavily wooded property. This trail is only about a quarter mile long before it comes to the yellow blazed trail. For this hike stay to the left and follow the yellow trail southerly. The trail here is wide and winds downhill even further passing oak, pine, and beech trees. Off in the woods you can see the glacial remains of several boulders. As the yellow trail approaches the Washington Secondary Bike Path keep an eye out for a pair of stone walls on the right. They run parallel as if there was an old lane here. After the second wall and on the right is the beginning of the white blazed trail. You will want to turn here, but first follow the yellow blazed trail to its terminus at the bike path, cross the bike path to another short trail that leads to some ruins. Here along the Quidnick Brook is a large cellar hole of a mill and the remnants of a dam. After exploring the ruins make your way back to the white trail (now on your left). For next three quarters of a mile you will follow the white blazed trail as it winds up and down small hills, over and through streams, and through small boulder fields. This trail is much narrower and has many twists and turns but is very well blazed. Keep an eye out for the blazes especially by stream crossings. The narrow trail soon comes to a cart path at the western most end of the property. If you were to turn left you would come to the bike path once again. However, turn right and continue to follow the white blazes to the yellow trail. At the yellow trail you will want to turn right onto the much narrower trail. (Ahead, the yellow trail follows the cart path to a parking area at Williams Crossing Road). After turning right the trail winds again up and down several small hills and through another boulder field as you head east across the property. The trail comes to another cart path and the yellow blazes take you to the left here. Soon you will reach the blue blazed trail once again where you retrace your steps back to the parking area at Ledge Road.

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One of Several Stone Walls

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Map of Beaudoin Conservation Area

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