- Escoheag Hill/Pine Top
- Hazard Road, West Greenwich, RI
- Trailhead: 41°37’2.58″N, 71°46’51.15″W
- First Time Hiked: May 10, 2015
- Last Time Hiked: September 28, 2015
- Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
- Moderate with some significant elevation.
In the northwestern part on the Arcadia Wildlife Management is Escoheag Hill. The hill overlooks the valley that the Falls River runs through and once was the home to the Pine Top Ski Area. This hike will take you through the former ski area, over Escoheag Hill, then along part of the Tippecansett Trail, a stop at Stepstone Falls and finally along the base of the hill along the North South Trail. We started this hike from the gate at Hazard Road. The first part of the hike follows a sandy trail that is blazed blue. The open field that we passed through was once the parking lot for the ski area. Today nature has overtaken it with tall grass and shrubs. Following the wide main trail we soon came to a split. The blue blazed trail to the left we would return on. We choose to continue to the right. In a short distance we beared to the left onto a trail that looped back to the right. Ahead of us was one of the former ski slopes on Escoheag Hill. This area is a little confusing, GPS, a good map (I was using the Great Swamp Press map), and a compass couldn’t hurt to have. There are several trails (ski slopes) that lead to the top of the hill. For the most part they converge at the same point at the top. The trails here are also a little overgrown. We then climbed up Escoheag Hill along the former ski slope until we reached the top. Stop a few times along the way to catch your breath and to turn around and see the view. At the top of the hill you will having a sweeping view of the surrounding area. After stopping for the view we started looking for the remains of an old shed. Here a pine covered trail leads away from the ski slopes then turns slightly left. This is the main trail then continues over Escoheag Hill. There are several trails that spur off of it, however, you will want to follow the main/widest trail through this area. The trail passes some of the remains of the ski area, as well as stone walls and open fields. The trail also hugs the property line. Several houses can be seen along this stretch. Please do not cross onto their properties. This trail finally comes to Falls River Road. Here we turned left and started following the yellow blazes of the Tippecansett Trail. The blazes would lead us back into the woods for a while before bringing us out to another road. Continuing following the yellow blazes we soon came to the backpackers campsite. It was once a large shelter for hikers and campers complete with two fireplaces. Today, unfortunately, it was a pile of debris. Sometime over the winter (I was here in October of 2014), it collapsed. Southern New England did endure a rather tough winter and the shelter may have been a victim of it. From here we followed the yellow blazes to the end of the Tippecansett Trail, again at Falls River Road. At this location is one of the most beautiful spots in Rhode Island. We took a rather lengthy break here at the cascading Stepstone Falls and watched (and listened) to the water tumble over the series of short waterfalls. After our break we then began the lest leg of the hike. We started following the blue blazed North South Trail away from the bridge along Falls River Road. The trail soon turns right into the woods and follows the base of Escoheag Hill. This stretch is blazed blue the remainder of the way back to the parking area and several sections are quite muddy. Be careful of your footing along here as it is rather rocky as well. We soon came to the fork where we made our initial right turn. From here we retraced our steps back through the old parking area and out to where the car was parked. This area is open to hunting and orange is required to be worn during hunting season. We also came across snakes, toads, and chipmunks along this hike.
Trail map can be found at: Escoheag Hill.