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

Fenway Trail – North Stonington/Griswold/Preston

  • Fenway Trail – Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.07″N, 71°54’15.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 22, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
  • Moderate.

This would be the second of three planned hikes here at the Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve. This hike would follow the yellow interior loop known as the Fenway Trail. Starting from the parking area at the bend of Miller Road, follow the red blazed trail into the preserve. The red trail, known as the Axis Road, cuts the property in two offering an easier connection to the two loops or an easier exit if need be. Soon the blue blazed Wapayu Trail comes in from the left. Continue straight ahead following the now red and blue blazes. At the next intersection the blue trails turns to the right. To the left is the yellow loop where you will exit from. Continue ahead here following now the red and yellow blazes. You will be under a canopy of beech trees along this stretch. You will pass a stone wall before coming to the split where the red stays to the left. Veer right here onto the yellow trail. The trail now follows an old cart path. You will get your first glimpses of ridges here and will notice the forest floor is covered with ferns.  The blue blazes rejoin the yellow trail for the first of three times. For this hike you will follow the yellow blazes. You are now leaving North Stonington and entering Griswold. The trail narrows a bit passing some stonework before dipping down into a small valley, crosses a brook, climbs up the first of the hills, before coming to a series of boardwalks. The trail here is rocky and root bound. Watch your step! The yellow trail splits from the blue again briefly as it weaves through an area of beautiful stone walls. Rejoining the blue trail, you will scramble up and over a hill through an area called Oak Alley. There are some rather large trees along the trail and some information about the Pequots. The yellow trail then turns to the left and zigzags down hill and rejoins the blue trail for the last time at the next right. The trail now follows an earthen dam for a bit before winding uphill passing an area of cairns, possibly of Native American origin, before coming to a sitting area. This is a good spot for a break as you are quite a distance from civilization. It tends to be quiet here. Continuing the trail winds downhill crossing over a brook. There is a spur trail to the left for a view of Lost Pond. The trail splits. Follow the yellow to the left. From here it follows a ridge and weaves through a fern covered forest. In this area you will cross into Preston, the third town of the Tri-Town Preserve. Next you cross a “log bridge” before coming to the intersection of the red trail. From here continue ahead and slightly to the right to continue to follow the yellow blazes. This will be the hardest part of this hike. That hill in front of you… you about to climb! You will spend sometime climbing to the top as the trail bends to the south and follows the ridgeline. I saw quite a few deer along this stretch. Near the top of the hill along the trail there is a boulder with a “spike” in it with the inscription “P & G”. Just after this point you will climb over the crest of the hill and start the long steady descent back into North Stonington. Near the end of the yellow trail it climbs slightly uphill one last time. At the next intersection turn right and follow the red blazes back to the parking area.

Map can be found at: Fenway Trail

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Fenway Trail Following A Ridgeline

Allens Pond West – Dartmouth

  • Allens Pond West
  • Horseneck Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°30’24.53″N, 71° 1’25.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 1, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Fairly easy trails with rocky beach walk.

                                                                            

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. This hike, the third, covers the western portion of the property. Starting from the Field Station parking area stay to the left and follow the grass mowed trail towards an opening in a stone wall. The trail crosses through another grass field before coming to a dirt road. Turn left here and almost immediately you will be turning right passing an open gate. You are now on the Quansett Trail. You start getting your first glimpses of Allens Pond on the right. Ahead you will cross a stone wall. Here a rather extensive boardwalk begins. The first highlight is a viewing area to the right. The second, just after the bend is a bridge that crosses over a marshy area. The trail, back on land now, traverses through thickets, pass boulders and more stone walls before coming to a stretch of “stepping stones”. At the next intersection there is a distinctive boulder. Stay to the left here and continue following the Quansett Trail. You will cross a small brook before coming to the Tree Top Trail. Again bear to the left and continue on he Quansett Trail. You will come upon more boulders and a “stretch of green” featuring skunk cabbage and fiddleheads in early spring. For this hike, turn right at the next intersection onto the Fresh Pond Trail. (The Quansett Trail continues ahead here into the central part of the property.) Along the trail to the left is a spur to Poison Ivy Rock. There is a nice view of the cove here and a good spot to take a break. I did not see any poison ivy! Continuing along the Fresh Pond Trail you will soon come to the trails namesake on the right. Look for nesting swans and geese here along with several other birds. The trail then turns to the right passing a sitting area before coming to the “stone bridge”. Here you will get another glimpse of Fresh Pond to the right. After crossing the bridge the trail ends in a bit completing a loop. Turn left back onto the Quansett Trail, passing the stepping stones, boardwalks, and to the dirt road. Turn left onto the dirt road and follow it about a tenth of a mile to an area with sweeping views of Allens Pond. Look for osprey atop the pole, herons, and egrets. There will be a information kiosk on the right with a sandy path. Follow this path to the rocky beach. At the beach you will see the Elizabeth Islands in the distance. On a clear day you may be able to make out the Gosnald Tower near the end of Cuttyhunk, the island to the right. Turn right onto the beach and follow it to the large outcrop. The trail then climbs over the outcrop coming back down the other side to another rocky beach. After the zigzagged stone walls to the right the trail turns to the right coming into a grass field. From here follow the grass mowed path to the parking area. Check out the Bayside Restaurant across the street for their blueberry pie!!

 

 

Map can be found at: Allens Pond West

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Stone Walls and Boardwalks

Grills Preserve – Westerly

  • Grills Preserve (Westerly)
  • Bowling Lane, Westerly, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°23’58.98″N, 71°45’32.65″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 29, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation in areas.

                                                                            

 

There are actually three separate “Grills” properties here on the Hopkinton-Westerly border. There is the Grills Preserve in Westerly, Grills Preserve in Hopkinton (also known as the Route 91 trailhead or Grills/How-Davey), and the Grills Sanctuary also in Hopkinton. This hike, the Grills Preserve in Westerly is the most known of the three. There is a vast network of trails here and for this hike you will see all of the highlights. Starting from the parking area at Bowling Lane, make your way to the informational kiosk. From here follow the orange and blue blazed trail to the right of the kiosk for about two tenths of a mile. this section is quite level. At the trail intersection turn right and you will follow the blue blazes for quite a while. The trail winds down to the shore of the Pawcatuck River after crossing a small bridge. You will then be flanked by water on both sides with the river to the right and an oxbow to the left which was formed from the river relocating over time. You will soon cross over Kedincker Island and another bridge. Ahead on the right you will find a towering cairn. The top of this eight foot tall structure marks the height of the rivers crest during the Spring 2010 flood. The trail to the right just beyond the cairn is the connector to the Grills Sanctuary in Hopkinton via the Polly Coon Bridge. The metal arch was built in 2013. Take a wander across the bridge to view the original bridge abutments and you will also find another flood marker. Make your way back across the bridge and take a right back onto the blue blazed trail. At the next trail intersection turn right continuing to follow the blue blazes. The trail starts to climb steadily uphill. Look for the yellow blazed River Loop Trail on the right. Following the yellow blazes you will slowly descend back down hill passing a stone wall before reaching the intersection with the white blazed trail. Continue ahead following the yellow blazes. You will soon pass another stone wall and a large cairn. The yellow trail continues ahead offering peaks of the river as it winds through areas of scattered mountain laurel. Soon the trail comes to the Pawcatuck River once again before it turns to the left into the western reaches of the Preserve. It then turns to the east and winds to a clearing at the next trail intersection. Turn right here and follow the white blazes. To your left is a hill covered in thickets and dense shrub with an occasional towering tree, to your right is densely wooded. Soon the trail takes an abrupt right into the Larkin Farm Homestead. You will find the remains of a structure here that was built in 1655. From this point continue along the white blazed trail. It starts a long climb uphill, steady at first. When you reach the next trail intersection turn left onto the red blazed trail. There is a sign here for “Big Hill”. The climb becomes steeper now. Near the top of the hill turn right following the red blazed trail and another “Big Hill” sign. As the wood line clears you will soon see outcrops of bedrock. Make note of the narrow trail to the right of the bedrock. But for now take a moment here to relax and take in the sights. From here you getting sweeping views to the south and east. You have two options here. You can retrace your steps down the red blazed trail you came up or you can go down the narrower unmarked trail to the right of the bedrock. If you choose the narrower trail note that it is substantially steeper. Whatever one you choose you will turn left at the bottom of the hill and follow the white blazes once again. Along this stretch you will have Big Hill towering above you to the left and will catch your first glimpses of the railroad tracks to the right. Soon the white blazes turn to the right onto a narrower trail. Continue ahead following an old cart path. You may notice a young pine grove on the right along the way. Look closely and you will also notice that the older trees have been charred. It is obvious there was a fire here once and nature has already begun to reclaim the land. At the end of the cart path turn left onto another cart path. Soon you will come to a trail intersection. Turn right here onto the blue blazed trail and cross over a boardwalk. Just ahead on the left is a cemetery. The most prominent grave here is that of Clarke Hiscox, a soldier of the Revolutionary War. The oldest grave here dates to 1777, that of Stephen Saunders. Returning to blue blazed trail you will find that the trail is covered in pine needles. At the next intersection turn right onto the white blazed trail, then left onto a cart path. You will notice that a stream has cut across the cart path. There is a pedestrian bridge here to make the crossing easier. Soon you will turn right onto the orange blazed trail. The trail winds passing a large vernal pool and then climbs steadily up to Big Rock. Its actually quite impressive as it sits upon the top of the hill dwarfing several other large boulders scattered around. The orange trail approaches the railroad tracks again and sharply turns to the left. Here to the right is the red blazed trail that dead ends at a hunters blind. Continuing along the orange blazed trail start looking for a narrow trail to the left marked only by a single rock. The trail is not marked and is quite narrow. The significance of this short trail is its history. It crosses over what was once Douglas Park. This park, built in 1920, was a field that hosted soccer and baseball games, complete with grandstands for 300 people. The local Bradford baseball team won the league championship in 1940. By the 1960’s the field was no longer in use. Nature took it back over the years as the entire field is now a very distinctive pine grove. At the end of the unmarked trail turn right following first the light blue blazed trail and then veering left onto the orange blazed trail that leads you back to the parking area. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange when hiking here.

 

 

Map can be found at: Grills Preserve (Westerly).

 

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Polly Coon Bridge Crossing The Pawcatuck River

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The View From Big Hill

Sammy C North – Charlestown

  • Sammy C North
  • Shumankanuc Hill Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’33.33″N, 71°41’23.60″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 20, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.7 miles
  • Moderate, can be difficult in areas.

                                                                            

 

Six days prior I had done the Sammy C South loop. I had realized then that there was more to the Sammy C to be done. Today, with a map in hand that shows all of the trails, I headed out to explore the rest as well as the Secret Trail. Starting from the small parking area (big enough for two cars) along Shumankanuc Hill Road, follow the unmarked trail into the Management Area. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange! This trail is quite level and is flanked by small ledges giving you a preview of what lies ahead. You will reach a trail intersection. Make note of the area, you will need to leave the property here as well. Turn right here and follow the white blazes. You are now on the Sammy C Trail. It winds up and down and up and down several times over small hills and along ledges. There are some great stone walls along the way, one with an old gate opening marked by granite posts. Possibly an old farm? After climbing over several more small hills and weaving through their valleys the trail levels out a bit passing closely to Buckeye Brook Road before veering off to the left and slightly downhill. The Sammy C soon ends at the double white blazes. Here turn left onto the yellow blazed Vin Gormley Trail and follow it a bit crossing a stream first before coming to a trail intersection. At this intersection the yellow blazes turn to the right. Continue straight ahead onto an unmarked trail. This trail is fairly level. Start looking for a white/red double blaze on the left. This is the Secret Trail and it will give you a workout. Also be sure to follow the blazes as this trail turns often and suddenly in many locations as it traverses up and over several rock formations. Following the Secret Trail you will first encounter an upward climb followed by an area of trail that straddles a 20 foot plus ledge. There is no “guardrail” here so do use caution. Another highlight along this stretch is a towering sycamore tree in the valley below. The trail then comes out to a wider cart path. Turn right here, still following the blazes, and start looking for your next turn on the left. The next highlight is a large outcrop, the trail is to the right here slightly downhill. The trail now weaves through groves of mountain laurel and rock formations as it zigzags to the east. There is an area that can be a bit confusing ahead so be sure to follow the blazes. The trail descends in to a valley and quickly climbs up a rock outcrop. At the top the trail turns to the left and does an almost complete circle to the right before climbing up another rock. The blaze is beyond that rock. From here the trail descends into another valley, crosses a stream, and then climbs back up yet another significant hill before ending at the School House Pond Trail. Turning left here, follow the blue blazed trail as it descends down hill to the next trail intersection. Turn left, back onto the Sammy C Trail, blazed white, and follow it back to the trail you entered the Management Area on. Along the way you will come across a boardwalk, more mountain laurel, and another large outcrop. Note the indentation in the outcrop. It looks as if a hiker left their footprint here along their journey. When you reach the next intersection. Turn right. This will lead you back to the parking area.

 

 

Map can be found at: Sammy C North.

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The Sammy C Following an Outcrop Along A Stone Wall

Sammy C South – Charlestown

                                                                            

 

I went into this hike blindly assuming that the Sammy C Trail only ran from the Vin Gormley to the School House Pond Trail. I would learn later that was not true. I did have a plan and a route in mind (which I kept true to for this hike). This hikes starts along Kings Factory Road where the Vin Gormley skirts back into the woods just north of Quail Lane. There is street parking here for a handful of cars. There is also a “Mile 5.5” sign here. Following the yellow blazed Vin Gormley Trail, you will descend slightly until you get to Cool Spring Road. Here take a right and then an immediate left following the yellow blazes. Just after the road look for the sign for the Sammy C Trail on the right. The Sammy C Trail is used quite a bit by cyclists as it offers quite a bit of ups and downs. Following the white blazes the trail winds through glacial outcrops, thick ground covering, and a stream crossing before coming to the “NEMBA” bridge, a mountain bike obstacle. You will not miss it!! (NEMBA = New England Mountain Bike Association). The trail then zigzags up and over small ledges for a bit passing stone walls, a couple more boardwalks, and large areas of outcrops, before finally coming to the School House Pond Trail. This is where I thought the trail ended… but! The sign here indicated that the Sammy C continues north. With no information in hand I kept to the plan and decided the rest of the Sammy C would be done later after some research. So here I turned left and followed the blue blazed School House Pond Trail (toward the Vin Gormley) as it steadily, but gently climbed up hill for quite a distance. There is a nice grove of mountain laurel along this stretch. Soon I came to an intersection. To the right was the Secret Trail. Well that wasn’t on my map either. The next hike could prove to be interesting! Looking around I noticed the blue blazes uphill to the left. The trail now followed the edge of a ledge above a valley below to the right. The trail soon turns downhill, through the valley and back up the other side. The trail then continues passing a stone wall and crossing a stream before ending at the Vin Gormley Trail. Taking a left here, follow the yellow blazes. This trail will lead you back to the parking area, first passing through some interesting rock formations, and the by Cool Spring Road once again before ending at Kings Factory Road. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange!

 

 

Map can be found at: Sammy C South.

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NEMBA Bridge

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Along The Sammy C Trail

Watson Farm – Jamestown

  • Watson Farm
  • North Road, Jamestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°31’11.33″N, 71°22’47.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 5, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

A Historic New England property, Watson Farm is a active working farm on the western slope of Conanicut Island with sweeping views of the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Because it is a working farm it is only open to the public on certain days. There is also an entrance fee payable at the barn where the self guided walking tour begins. A trail map in a booklet will be provided to you. Also, it is advisable to check the tides before embarking to the shore. The barn itself offers quite a bit of New England history, different tools, saddles, and other equipment is visible. The animals were not in the barn at the time of this visit (other than a lumbering gray cat). Farm animals are likely to be in different areas of the farm at different times. To begin the walk, from the barn follow the dirt road between the barn and historic 1796 farmhouse uphill and then stay to the right. You will pass another farm structure to the right before cresting the hill at a farm gate. Take a peek behind you at the top of the hill. You will catch a glimpse of the towers of the Newport Bridge. Continuing ahead the road turns slightly to the left and the windmill becomes visible. The windmill here at Watson Farm is used to supply water throughout the farm by pumping it from below. Carrying on, the road turns slightly downhill giving you the first glimpses of the West Passage. There are sporadic single standing trees throughout the fields. These trees serve as shade for the farm animals. Soon the road splits. There is a sign here indicating to turn left for the short loop. For this hike continue ahead and downhill to the next split where there is another sign indicating the “Path to the Bay”. Turn left here, you will see a large outcrop of pudding-stone to your right before coming to a four way intersection by a stone wall. Turn right here, keeping the wall to your left for a bit. The pathway continues downhill. You will now have views of the Jamestown Bridge and Plum Island Lighthouse to your right across the fields. At the end of the path there is a gate. If it is closed, be sure to close it behind you after passing through it. The path now narrows as it turns to the left for a few feet, then right and downhill through some trees before reaching the shore. It is best to check the tides before reaching this point. High tide will leave only a narrow strand of beach. It is best to follow the shoreline at low tide as the beach is wider and offers a variety of stones and shells to view. When you reach the shore turn to the left and follow the shore away from the bridge behind you. The land ahead of you is Dutch Island. You will notice a portion of wall that was once of a long abandoned building. Dutch Island served the military for several years before being abandoned entirely. The island is now a State Management Area only accessible by boat. To the left of Dutch Island is Fort Getty, now a summer campground. Following the shore it soon bends to the left. Start looking for the “Buoy Post” where you want to turn left to get back onto the farm trails. Be sure to close the gate once again and continue ahead. From here you will continue straight gently uphill passing first a trail to the left before winding through an old orchard. Next you will pass through a gate, then a stone wall while traversing through large open fields. After the stone wall, the trail turns to the left and climbs gently uphill again before coming to the a trail intersection. Here continue straight ahead passing another stone wall. You will pass a pollinator garden on the right before coming to an old wagon parked behind the old farmhouse. The road then turns slightly to the right back to the barn. For more information click here.

A Lone Tree In A Field

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