- Falls River
- Midway Trail, Exeter, RI
- Trailhead: 41°34’45.82″N, 71°43’8.57″W
- Last Time Hiked: September 17, 2015
- Approximate distance hiked: 5.0 miles
- Moderate with some slight elevation.
This hike in the Arcadia Management Area loops around the lower end of the Falls River. About half the hike follows gravel roads and the other portions follows some of the most scenic stretches of trails in Rhode Island. I started this hike from a small parking area just after the Flat River bridge along the Midway Trail and followed the road northwesterly for a short distance before coming to an intersection. Here I stayed right following the Midway Trail. The road to the left with the bridge I would return on. After a couple hundred feet I came to the Brook Trail on the left. Turning here I followed the gravel road, stopping occasionally to venture onto the footpaths to the left that lead to the river. The trails to the right lead into a maze of unmarked trails. It is not advisable to explore those trails without a reliable map and/or GPS. At the Lawson Cary Fishing Area the gravel road bears to the right and climbs uphill a bit, then descends downhill, passing a couple gated trailheads to the right, before coming to an intersection of gravel roads. I turned left at the intersection following the trail that curves to the right and then to the left. Next, a trail with two boulders preventing automobile access appears on the right. This is the Over Hill Trail. Following this narrower trail, I soon found evidence that the trail is heavily used for horseback riding. This stretch I found to be particularly nice with a combination of pine and beech trees. The beech trees are just starting to turn to a vibrant yellow and some of the leaves are starting to fall. I continued to follow this trail up and down some small hills as it crossed into West Greenwich. Soon a trail merges from the right and the trail is suddenly blazed yellow. Within a couple feet the yellow blazed trail turns left onto a narrower trail. I turned here onto the western most part of the Breakheart Trail. Stop along this trail and listen. You will hear nothing but what nature has to offer. The trail winds up and down small hills, passes over a boardwalk, comes to the bank of the Falls River, and finally ends at Austin Farm Road. I then turned left at the road, entering Exeter once again, and crossed a bridge over the Falls River. Here to the right is the trail head of the Ben Utter Trail that will lead you to Stepstone Falls if you so choose. I continued straight along the road and turned left onto the blue blazed Sand Hill Trail which is also part of the North South Trail. This stretch of the hike is another tremendously beautiful section as the trail meanders through a towering pine grove. Soon the white blazed Escoheag Trail appears on the right, I continued straight until I reached a trail split. Here the North South Trail stays to the left, and a sign that says “Spur Trail” is to the right. I choose to explore the spur trail that winded uphill to a small ridge before descending back downhill. Turning right, the trail then rejoins the blue blazed North South/Sand Hill Trail and continues south. The Sand Hill Trail then continues over a section of boardwalk and slightly uphill before coming out to Barber Road. Continuing to follow the blue blazes of the North South Trail, I turned left onto Barber Road, another gravel road, and followed it nearly a mile. Along the way on the left is another spot to view the river. After passing an open gate, the road bends to the left and crosses a bridge that spans the Falls River once again. Just after the bridge, I turned right and retraced my steps back to the car, first stopping at the deck that overlooks the river.
Trail map can be found at: Falls River.