Archive for the ‘ ~CHARLESTOWN RI~ ’ Category

Ninigret Beach – Charlestown

  • Ninigret Beach (East Beach)
  • East Beach Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°20’37.88″N, 71°41’22.71″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 15, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.8 miles
  • Fairly easy beach walk.

 

The beach between Blue Shutters Beach and the Charlestown Breachway is part of East Beach State Park and the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. It is a long three mile strand of beach that is not overwhelmed with humans. In the summer a fee must be paid the access the beach and parking is very limited. In the winter the beach is desolate, especially at sunrise. This day was a windless but brutally cold February morning. Hike time temperature was a sweltering 7 degrees Fahrenheit. I came here armed with cameras to catch the sunrise, multiple layers of clothes, but mostly to find solitude to clear the mind. Success! I arrived at the small parking area before sunrise and made my way to the beach. To the east I could see the beacon of the Point Judith Light. To the south I could see the lights of Block Island twinkling. Along the horizon between them, the glows of pink, magenta, fuchsia, and orange setting the sky up for a spectacular sunrise. I turned to the east and followed the empty beach for a few miles. At 6:42 AM, just as scheduled, the piercing light of the sun broke the horizon. The beach suddenly a glow of of the colors in the sky. In the distance I could make out my destination, a dark shadow strip of the breachway stretching into the ocean. As the sun rose into the sky the beach came to life with sea birds. The waves broke gently and peacefully.  I spent only a few minutes at the breachway before retracing my steps back to the parking area. This walk is exactly what was needed. I did not run into a single soul! Also as a side-note, I was still cold when I ordered my breakfast sandwich at Sophie’s (in Exeter) a little while later.

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Winter Sunrise

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

Francis Carter West – Charlestown

  • Francis Carter Preserve – West
  • Kings Factory Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°25’56.37″N, 71°41’37.11″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 10, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

The newest addition of the Francis Carter Preserve, being the western end, acquired in 2014 offers the red blazed Narragansett Loop and River Trail. This part of the preserve is a great example of how nature can reclaim land that was once industrial. This hike starts from the parking area along Kings Factory Road just south of the Pawcatuck River. The red blaze trail meanders east along the rivers edge first passing a fenced in cemetery. The trail soon comes to an area that is sandy and rutted by dirt bikes and ATV’s. Stay to the left here and you will find the next blaze. The aptly named river trail soon runs along the Pawcatuck River once again. The trail here climbs up and down small hills before ascending gently to a large open field. From here it is important to follow the signs. Turning left, follow the red blazed Narragansett Loop. Bear in mind that this a new trail and not as defined as other established trails in the preserve. In time the trail will be well used and well defined. For now keep an eye out for the next sign. The trail continues northward for a bit before turning to the right and joining with the Grassland Trail. Here you will want to stay to the right following what is now both the Narragansett Loop and Grassland Trail to the south. The path soon turns to the left following the southern perimeter of the large meadow. Just before the woods, on the left, there is an informational board about the grasslands. Take a moment to look at it. From here, continue straight into the woods following the yellow blazed trail. Just before the hill, the red blazed Narragansett Loop turns to the right into one of the nicest stretches of trail in Rhode Island. On the left you will find the ruins of on old chimney. The trail winds below a canopy of pines and hemlocks before passing under power lines. Continuing ahead the trail follows and old stone wall before turning to the left, slightly uphill, to some large boulders left behind from the last glacier. The trail soon comes to an old cart path where you turn right continuing to follow the red blazes. The pine trees here are very dense and thick making for a well shaded pine grove. The trail soon comes to a pair a gates. After passing the gate, you will be on a an old asphalt road. The signage here indicates that this section of the Loop Trail is temporary. The road soon comes to an intersection. The roads ahead and to the left are active. Turn right onto another abandoned asphalt road. This was the entrance road of the former industrial complex from yesteryear. The road soon bears to the left and becomes a dirt road. A few hundred feet ahead is the intersection where the River Trail comes to the Narragansett Loop. Turn left here and retrace your steps back to the parking area. Hunting is allowed on this property at times. Be sure to wear blaze orange during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Francis Carter West.

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Along The Narragansett Loop Trail

North Camp – Charlestown

  • Burlingame North Camp
  • Buckeye Brook Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°24’3.43″N, 71°41’59.88″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 10, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Burlingame is most likely known for its campground off of Route 1. What most people do not know is that there is an abandoned camp on the north end of Watchaug Pond. Starting from a small parking area by a gate (two tenths of a mile east of the main parking area) on Buckeye Brook Road, you first follow an old dirt road southerly into the management area. You will soon come to an intersection. The trail that crosses is the 8 mile Vin Gormley Trail. For this hike continue straight ahead passing a couple small ledges and stone walls. The trail the splits at a fork, stay to the right for the first views of the former camps ruins. On the left you will see an old structure that is decaying rapidly. Continuing ahead you will soon come to another trail intersection. You will want to turn left here, but first follow the trail straight ahead for your first glimpse of Watchaug Pond. Returning to the last intersection, (trail now on your right), turn and follow the trail to the next intersection. The trail to the left would lead you back to the trail you came in on, the trail to the right will lead you to some more ruins if you care to check them out, the trail ahead is what you want to continue on. The trail slowly veers to the right and out to a small beach that overlooks the pond. At the opposite end of the beach the trail continues. Stay to the right, the trail winds to the left through an area that looks as if it were once campsites. The trail now bends to the north passing another building on the right before narrowing quite substantially and following a stone wall to the right. At the next trail intersection turn left onto the yellow blazed Vin Gormley Trail. In a few hundred feet you will come to the old dirt road you came in on. Turn right here and retrace you steps back to the parking area. Other than the Vin Gormley Trail, none of the trails on this hike are blazed.

 

Trail map can be found at: North Camp.

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The Beach at North Camp

Pawaget Park – Charlestown

 

Once a driving range for practicing golfers is now a nice little pond side park just off the bustling Route 1. A half mile grass trail now winds through the area that was once the landing area for flying golf balls. Along the winding path are areas to picnic. The property also has a boardwalk and viewing deck that overlooks Ninigret Pond. A stone dust path back from the deck to the parking area makes for a shorter route back. The stone dust path, boardwalk, and deck are all ADA compliant.

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Pawaget Park

South Farm Preserve – Charlestown

 

This property is made up of two farm fields and woodlands. There is a set of perimeter trails around each field and blazed trails in the woodlands at the southern end of the property. A loop around the property is just a little over a mile. The farms here were once used for diary and sheep. Now the fields are essentially sanctuaries for birds and butterflies. In the north field two structures dominate the landscape. An old sauna (the chimney looking structure) and the re-built sheep barn offer a glimpse into the properties past. There is also a historic cemetery on the grounds, that being of the Card family. Graves here date back to the late 1800’s.

 

Trail maps can be found at: South Farm Preserve

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Sheep Barn at South Farm

Moraine Preserve – Charlestown

  • Moraine Preserve
  • Kings Factory Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°23’8.76″N, 71°39’58.90″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 3, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Moderate with some elevation.

 

A fellow hiker stumbled upon this aptly named preserve and today we decided to check it out. A moraine is defined as “a mass of rocks and sediment carried down and deposited by a glacier, typically as ridges at its edges or extremity”. During the last ice age, much of this area was defined by the glaciers. This preserves features resembles that of the Champlin Glacier Park and Duval Farm. And what a property it is!! There is a short loop trail (approximately 3/4 of a mile) in the front half of the property that is blazed blue. It winds, twists, and turns over small but steep ridges and the trails are flanked by groves of mountain laurel. At the time of this hike we stumbled upon the construction of the back loop. Technically open, the trail is in fact under construction and the features are the same of the loop trail up front. The trail is mark only by flagging at this time but will be blazed blue as well. Footing is a little rough so watch your step. There are some quite impressive views of Block Island through the trees atop the ridge that overlooks Route 1. A return visit in the spring will be necessary to see the new trail in its completed state.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Moraine Preserve

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Uphill Through Mountain Laurel