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

Tablerock Hill – Lincoln

  • Tablerock Hill – Lincoln Woods State Park
  • Stump Hill Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°53’42.13″N, 71°25’36.62″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 23, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Moderate due to terrain, navigation can be difficult.

 

A few quick notes about this hike. Lincoln Woods is notorious for having many unmarked trails that one could easily get lost on. It is highly recommendable that you use a GPS device if you choose to embark on this hike. Although I tried to keep it as easy as possible (as far as navigation) I think improvements can be made. Some of this hike is road walking and I do believe there are other trails that can eliminate that. I fully intend on returning to this area of Lincoln Woods to explore further and finalize a route.

 

This hike starts at the dam at the eastern end of Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods. There is a parking area suitable for about 15 cars. At the north end of the parking lot is the Jodi Lussier Memorial. Pass the rock and veer left to the right of large outcrop onto a trail that leads into a small valley.  Stay to the left and follow the wider trail that approaches the pond. To the right just before the pond is a trail to the right that climbs uphill. At the top of the hill you will encounter your first experience of multiple trails to choose from. For this hike, stay to the left to parallel the pond. The trail soon dips close to the shore and is marked with red squares. The trail winds, with the pond to left and a hill with boulders on right, up and over small hills following the red square blazes. Along the way there are several spots to view pond. Ahead the trail splits. The trail to the right comes out to an old woods road that you will be on later. For now stay close to the pond. The key is to continue ahead taking lefts to continue to parallel the pond. By doing so you will turn onto a peninsula onto a trail that leads out to Sunset Point. The trail turns to the right, still following the shore, around the point and up to a rock outcrop that overlooks the pond. From here continue to follow the trails along the ponds edge and it will come back to the old woods road. Turn left here and follow the road downhill, again continuing to follow the shore. The aptly named Boulderwood Cove is now on your left. To be sure you are where you should be, you should see a single boulder emerging from the water at this point. Ahead is another multiple trail intersection. Turn left and the trail almost immediately splits. Stay to the left again following the path by the shore once again. Another split is ahead, again stay to the left. Continuing straight ahead there are a couple spur trails to the right you will ignore. Soon you will pass a large balancing boulder on the right. Continue straight ahead following the most defined trail until you reach a flat area surrounding you with large rocks. Here the trail splits again. This time stay slightly to the right (straight) and up the small hill. This trail and another merge at the top of the hill. Stay to left towards the massive boulders. Continuing ahead the trail you are on merges with another. Continue ahead to road passing through picnic site 59. Across the road is picnic site 27. To the left of the site is the trail that scrambles uphill. Cross the road and follow this trail uphill to another massive ledge. Stay to the left of the large rock and follow the base of it to the other side. Continuing the trail narrows and continues straight ahead following faded green dots. Soon the trail abruptly turns left down a rock outcrop into a small valley and crosses a stream. The trail narrows even further, then takes sharp right at a large boulder. Follow the face of the boulder, the trail turns slightly left and then continues straight to Quinsicket Road. Turn right follow road passing picnic sites 29 through 32 on the right. On the left you will notice signs indicating that the trails are used by horse back riders. Follow the paved road up and over a significant hill. As the road starts to climb up again it bends to the left. There is a parking area on the right. Turn right here through the parking area toward row of concrete blocks and rocks that block the old woods road. Grass covered at first, and blazed blue, this trail heads east. To the right is the top of Tablerock Hill. The trail then starts to descend and becomes quite rocky. At the next split the blue blazes stay to left. Here you want to stay to the right and go downhill. The next intersection, at the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow dirt road that leads to picnic sites 2 and 3. Continuing pass the picnic sites you will soon turn right onto the road that wraps around a large field on the left. On the right is the entrance of picnic site 4. At the back of the site is a large ledge with an inscription in it about Bobby Donato, a local, who served in the United States Marines. Retracing you steps back to the road. Continue to the entrance of picnic site 5. Here at the sites entrance is a large outcrop known as Pulpit Rock. It is said that Metacom, a Wampanoag leader, would address his warriors here. Just beyond the picnic site are two trails. For this hike take the one to the left. It passes a small quarry on the left and a small pond on the right before it starts climbing uphill with a stone wall on the left. The trails soon come together, stay to the left here on the more defined trail. This trail continues to climb uphill and soon bends to the right. Ignore the trail to the left and continue another 30 feet or so to the next trail intersection. It is here you will turn left and follow the trail passing a boulder on your right. Continue straight, staying to the left trail downhill as it traverses over an outcrop and then soon a wooden bridge over a stream. To your left are picnic sites 10 and 11 and Goat Rock. For this hike continue straight. The trail here is a wide dirt path that also passes picnic sites 13 and 14 again on your left. Continue straight to the next intersection then veer to left. This trail leads you to the backside of some more picnic sites. Stay on the trail as it bends to the right up and over one last hill. At the top of the hill you will see the road ahead. This trail ends at the road intersection, cross the road and continue straight. You are now on Stump Hill Road and your car is ahead on the right.

 

Trail map can be found at: Tablerock Hill.

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Boulderwood Cove

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Inscription In Donato Rock at Lincoln Woods.

Big River – West Greenwich

  • Big River – Big River Management Area
  • Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°38’53.88″N, 71°36’25.88″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 27, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.4 miles
  • Moderate, Difficult navigation without map or GPS.

In the 1960’s several local residents were forced to leave their homes here in the area of Big River. The State took the land by eminent domain to build a reservoir. The reservoir, first planned in the 1920’s, was never built and today the large and sprawling property is considered open space with a maze of trails, small streams, ponds, and cellar holes. With that being said, as with all of the Big River property, it is suggested not to wander here without a map, GPS device, or someone who knows the property well. For today’s hike we were led by Sandi of the Appalachian Mountain Club who guided us through the heart of Big River on a nearly five and a half mile trek. Her knowledge of not just the trails, but the history of the property is astounding. I would highly suggest keeping an eye out for any future hikes she may lead here. We started from the main parking area along Nooseneck Hill Road (a quarter mile south of Route 95). From here we followed Burnt Sawmill Road into the Management Area along the paved road until we reached a gate. The pond, with dam and waterfall, on the left is Capwell Mill Pond, fed by both the Carr River and Mud Bottom Brook. Continuing along Burnt Sawmill Road, we were flanked by old trees and telephone poles. At pole 24 a trail, an old cart path, veers to the left. We took it following the old cart path through pine groves and maples before crossing a stream at a wooden bridge that has seen better days. The trails continues, climbing a small hill, passing a couple of stone walls, and a few young pines on the forest floor below the towering ones. The trail splits and narrows, here we stayed to the right and soon came to another trail intersection where we stayed to the right once again. At the next intersection we stayed to the left slightly and then continued straight. The trail to the right would lead you back to Burnt Sawmill Road. Continuing ahead we came to a cellar hole and well on the left. It is not easy to see from the trail and if you do find it, be sure to use caution by the well. The next highlight of the hike comes up on the right. It is the Sweet Family Cemetery with graves dating back to the 1750’s. The trail then passes through another pine grove. This one is quite noticeable as the trees have grown very densely close to each other. Soon after there is a spur trail on the right that leads to the dam on the north end of Sweet Pond. The dam is now breached, intentionally, and Sweet Pond is no more. It is now just a stream through a grass filled basin. Retracing steps back along the spur trail we then turned right, southerly, along the trail we were previously on. Next we came to Sweet Sawmill Road, another old road. Here we turned right and soon passed the south side of the remnants of Sweet Pond. This stretch is flanked by some stone walls and ferns. At the next intersection, a four way, continue straight ahead. A few hundred feet ahead at the next intersection turn right. This is Burnt Sawmill Road once again. Following this road to its end will lead you back to the parking area. Along the way we would come across another cemetery and a former homestead with the only evidence left being a tire swing. Before concluding our hike we did explore a trail to the right that led to a stream that flows between the former Sweet Pond and Capwell Mill Pond. Wildlife is abundant here as it is not uncommon to see deer, coyote, squirrels, chipmunks, and turtles. The property also is carpeted by ferns and wildflowers with birdfoot violet and wild geranium being in bloom at the time of this hike. This is a popular hunting location as well. Orange is mandatory during hunting season.

Trail map can be found at: Big River (courtesy of Auntie Beak)

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Sweet Sawmill Road

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Dam and Waterfall at Capwell Mill Pond

Moonstone Beach – South Kingstown

  • Moonstone Beach
  • Moonstone Beach Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°22’18.72″N, 71°34’20.77″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2017
  • Distance: Less than a mile April to September, up to 4 miles rest of year.
  • Easy Beach Walk.

 

Moonstone Beach for years was known for its reputation as being a nude beach. Today, no longer a nude beach, it is one of Rhode Islands most stunning beaches with its scattered stones along the sand. The beach surrounded and part of the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge offers nearly 2 miles of strand between Roy Carpenters Beach and Green Hill Beach. The quiet beach is not easy to visit due to many seasonal restrictions. From May 1 to September 15 a parking pass is required to park along Moonstone Beach Road. Also in most of the spring and summer large sections of the beach are cordoned off to protect the piping plovers. The beach is stunningly beautiful in the winter months if you can handle the sometimes brutal winter winds. The best time to visit is very early spring, the autumn and winter. The beach is also noted for its birds as three salt ponds abut the beach including Trustom Pond and Cards Pond. Killdeers, Sandpipers, Herons, and Egrets are also known to frequent Moonstone. Be sure to bring a camera!!

 

More information about the birds of Moonstone Beach can be found here.

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Waves Crashing On Moonstone Beach

Lantern Hill – North Stonington

  • Lantern Hill
  • Wintechog Hill Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°28’0.82″N, 71°56’44.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Difficult to Strenuous With Some Climbing.

 

Lantern Hill is a must visit if you are in the southeastern corner of Connecticut. The hike described here climbs over Lantern Hill just southeast of the Foxwoods Casino complex and follows the Narragansett Trail. Starting from a makeshift parking area (with no signage) along Wintechog Hill Road the light blue blazed trail immediately begins to climb the hill following an old cartpath. After a couple hundred feet the trail levels off for a bit before coming to a red blazed Lantern Hill Loop Trail. Be sure to be aware of the blue blazes of the Narragansett Trail when you approach trail intersections. You will want to follow them and not the red blazes for this hike. The Narragansett Trail then starts to steadily climb the hill once again. The inclines are quite impressive at times. The trail first overlooks the Pequot Reservation to the north and west offering views of the casino and Lantern Hill Pond below. The trail then climbs over the summit to a stunning overlook with miles and miles of sights to the east and south. Clear days will offer a view of the Atlantic Ocean to the south. It is also interesting to see the hawks and vultures soaring through the sky sometimes below you. Use extreme caution along the edges here as a fall would surely be fatal. Also here on the first day of Spring the Westerly Morris Men climb the hill for their annual sunrise dance at the summit. The hill got its name from the War of 1812 as the hill was used as a lookout. When the British were spotted approaching, barrels of tar were ignited to warn nearby residents. After spending some time at the summit continue following the blue blazed trail as it winds, at times steeply, down the hill. There is one section, that we dubbed the Lemon Squeeze, that will challenge your footing, balance, and upper body strength. The trail then traverses the south side of the hill passing through groves of mountain laurel before coming out to the North Stonington Transfer Station. Again, be sure to pay attention to blazes and turns at intersections. After the Dog Pound the trail turns to the left through the transfer station and out to the road. At this point you have hiked 1.4 miles of the Narragansett Trail. The trail continues ahead, however it is closed (from Wintechog Hill Road to Route 2) at the moment because of logging. For this hike turn left and follow Wintechog Hill Road about a half mile back to the parking area.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Lantern Hill

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The View At The Top Of Lantern Hill.

Smith Farm – Dartmouth

 

What a pleasant surprise of a property. One must say that the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust has some beautiful properties. Just down the road from Cornell Farm is Smith Farm. In comparison the trail system at Smith Farm is much shorter than Cornell but it is well worth the visit. The front end of the property offers a series of stone walls and what appears to be foundations. Starting by following the red blazed trail, you soon enter the woods. Among the deciduous trees are several holly trees and shrubs. The red trail soon comes to a large open field with one prominent pine tree. Follow the path across the field to continue following the red blazed trail. The next section of woods offer some swamps, wetlands, and stone walls. Next follow the blue blazed trail around Horseshoe Pond. It crosses several trickling streams as it follows the ponds edge. At the time of this hike I had come across an owl and several ducks. After following the blue blazed trail around the perimeter of the pond turn left at the red blazed trail and follow it to its end. Turn left and follow the orange blazed trail to its end. There you will find an observation platform that overlooks Nonquitt Marsh. From here follow the orange blazed trail back, staying on it to the parking area. It follows an old cart path road passing several stone walls and a vernal pool.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Smith Farm

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Field at Smith Farm

Stetson Preserve – Richmond

  • Stetson Preserve
  • New London Turnpike, Richmond, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°32’56.50″N, 71°39’28.17″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 4, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.8 miles
  • Easy with some elevation.

 

Along a quieter stretch of the New London Turnpike is a quaint little preserve that offers a short trail system. Although short, this preserve is well worth a visit if you are in the area. The terrain is slightly hilly and the property is scattered with large rocks and boulders under a canopy of deciduous trees. There are two blazed trails that cover essentially all of the small property. The blue blazed trail loops around the perimeter and offers a glimpse at Beaver River. The yellow blazed out and back trail leads to a hill top with a sitting area. The rocky terrain and stone walls made the property a haven for chipmunks. Birds were also in abundance here, spotting and hearing several woodpeckers and blue jays. The property is quite comparable to the nearby Beaver River Preserve. In fact only a few hundred feet of private property separate the two properties. This hidden gem of a property is good for kids and beginners, as well as a nice supplemental walk to Beaver River. A must do!!!

 

Trail maps can be found at: Stetson Preserve

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Along the Blue Trail

King Preserve – North Kingstown

  • King/Benson Preserve
  • Boston Neck Road, North Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°30’56.02″N, 71°25’23.72″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 25, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

Named for Dave King, the first executive director of the Champlin Foundations, this is Rhode Islands newest Nature Conservancy property that now has trails open to the public. It is so new in fact that the trails in the Benson Preserve property are still under development. The property is just north of Casey Farm and stretches from Boston Neck Road westward to the Narrow River. The blue trail from the main parking area meanders westerly into the property, passing stone walls and small boulders, for about a mile before coming to the yellow trails. Turn left at the yellow trail and follow it to its end. Along the way look for a rather unusual rock on the right that seems to point. You will pass a yellow trail to the right as well. You will return on this trail. At the end of the yellow trail you will come to a four way intersection. The yellow loop trail is to your immediate right and a trail spurs to the left to Casey Farm. Ahead and to the right is the white blazed Pettaquamscutt Trail. Follow this trail to two of the preserve features. The first on the left is a small beach that overlooks Narrow River. This is an old Girl Scout Camp beach. Back on the white trail you will soon find yourself walking through a canopy of tall spruce trees. Here we spotted a fox. The white blazed trail then turns to the right and comes to a set of trickling waterfalls. Continuing along the trail you soon cross onto the Benson Preserve. There is signage indicating that the trails are still being developed. From here you can retrace your steps or forge ahead follow the un-blazed trails. If you choose the later be sure to use some sort of GPS in case you need to backtrack and be very aware of your footing. The white trail is blazed for a few more hundred feet. Soon you will see a trail to the right. It is currently marked with pink survey flagging. Following this flagging (soon to be blazed white) and carefully following the currently less defined trail you will come to a wood footbridge at a stream crossing. A few feet after that you will turn left onto the blazed yellow trail. Follow this trail to its end turning left again onto the main yellow trail. From here retrace your steps back to the parking area following the yellow then blue trails. Hunting is allowed on this preserve, be sure to wear orange during hunting season.

A note about the bordering Casey Farm property: Casey Farm is open to the public during daylight hours for hiking trails at Casey Point or those adjacent to King Preserve. Please note dogs must be on leashes, clean up of course, and respect the young people and farm animals by keeping dogs away from the farmyard and fields. Access Casey’s woodland trails via the King Preserve. Camp Grosvenor is not open to the public for hiking. Access Casey Point on Narragansett Bay via the gate on Boston Neck Road. We are working on getting better signage. Feel free to contact me with any questions: Jane Hennedy, site manager, 401-295-1030 ext. 5, jhennedy@historicnewengland.org.

 

Trail maps can be found at: King Preserve

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Spruce Grove