- Black Hut State Management Area
- Spring Lake Road, Burrillville, RI
- Trailhead: 41°59’34.03″N, 71°39’24.36″W
- Last Time Hiked: March 1, 2014
- Approximate distance hiked: 2.3 miles
- Easy with slight elevation.
This hike was one of many firsts. I haven’t explored the northwest corner of Rhode Island much yet. I do have several hikes and walks planned in the area. Black Hut was the first and also my first hike in Burrillville. I forgot how peaceful and serene Burrillville can be. As a child I would visit family in this area on occasion. Today is also the first day that there is no hunting in Rhode Island. (Hunting season will resume April 19 until May 31). I chose to wear my day glow orange sweatshirt anyway. Although I listed this hike as easy, as I assume it would be without the elements, this hike also was my first truly challenging hike since breaking the ankle last summer. In this part of the state the snow cover is still at least 6 inches deep or deeper in some areas. I seriously considered giving up the hike at first but then decided to just go at it with a nice slow pace and watch my steps carefully as to not twist, or worse, re-break the ankle. I only averaged 1.4 miles per hour on this hike as I stopped quite often to rest the ankle, take photographs, and to take in the pure solitude and silence of the snow covered woods. This was also the coldest hike I’ve done. When I left the Providence area shortly after sunrise it was a sweltering 6° Fahrenheit. As I headed northwest toward Black Hut I watched the temperature drop on my dashboard thermometer. When I arrived it was 0° Fahrenheit. The first challenge I came across was the road to get to the parking area. It was only plowed to the last house on the right. So I had to hike down the road about two-tenths of a mile to get to the parking area where the hike would normally begin. (The coordinates given above are for the parking area). Beginning from the parking area I followed the wider road towards a gate. The trail to the left would be the return trail. I followed this road as it meandered slightly downhill through the woods. A stone wall is along this road on the left. Taking a left at the next intersection, I found myself going into the heart of the management area. I could hear several birds. I saw woodpeckers and a soaring hawk. I also saw several animal tracks including deer and what I believe what might have been fox. I did not actually see any animals. I’m sure they could hear me coming a mile away with all the crunching snow below my feet. This trail ends near a set of power lines. Just before the power lines I turned left onto another trail. This trail was narrower than the previous and had a few areas of ice (will probably be muddy in the spring). The trail also ascended uphill at a comfortable pace for a bit. There is also a small cluster of mountain laurel here (blooms in June) which is a spectacularly beautiful flower. I found myself stopping along this stretch for photographs. The trail concludes at the parking area for the end of the hike. When I left the temperature had soared to 19° Fahrenheit. As a true New Englander I stopped for an iced tea on the way home to cool off.
Trail map can be found at: Black Hut.