- Goddard Memorial State Park
- Ives Road, Warwick, RI
- Trailhead: 41°39’12.72″N, 71°26’36.43″W
- Last Time Hiked: September 19, 2014
- Approximate distance hiked: 4.6 miles
- Fairly easy with slight elevation.
Almost directly across Narragansett Bay from the East Bay crown jewel, that being Colt State Park, is the West Bay equivalent. Goddard State Park offers a little bit of everything. It has a plethora of picnic areas, fields, a former carousel now used for events, a public beach, and of course trails. The trails that traverse the park are in fact bridle trails used by C and L Stables and you are likely to encounter a passing horse on occasion. They offer horseback riding to the public. I obtained a copy of the park map and somewhat mimicked in reverse the route in Ken Weber’s “More Walks & Rambles” book. I started today’s hike from the parking area at the boat launch. A trail leads uphill from the parking area in a northeasterly direction. The trails here are wide and relatively soft, covered in most spots with either mulch, sand, and pine needles. You should keep an eye on where you are stepping. After all these are active bridle trails (if you know what I mean). After following this trail for a little while it splits. I stayed to the right and the trail then turns slightly left and rejoins itself. Here I turned right. A trail then veers off to the left, I continued straight and followed the trail through tall pines and various other trees. The trail then starts to turn to the right and joins another trail. Almost immediately a trail appears on the left, I choose to continue straight passing an area that appeared to be used for composting. A trail then appeared on the left. I turned here. This trail meandered in and out of the woods and along the edges of the fields before finally turning back into the woods. At the next intersection I turned right, crossed the road, and came to the park headquarters building. I stopped here to inquire about some of the parks features. The staff was very friendly and extremely helpful. I then continued along the trail in an easterly direction ignoring the three trails that were to the left. I also noticed a stone wall to the right along this stretch which seemed to be a haven for chipmunks. There was also an abundance of birds along this stretch. I then soon found myself along the edge of a residential neighborhood. This is private property. Please stay on the trail and respect the posted signage. After passing yet another trail on the left I came to an intersection. I turned right onto a loop trail. About midway through the loop a trail appears on the right. It is not shown on the map. It leads down to Sally Rock Point. From here you can see the Buttonwoods neighborhood across Greenwich Way as well as Oakland Beach, a tall stone tower on Warwick Neck, Patience Island, and Prudence Island. A few iconic Rhode Island sailboats were passing through the waters. There were also many sea gulls and a cormorant here. After taking a short and scenic break I retraced my steps back to the loop trail. I then turned right and then right again following the trail that hugged the bank above the shore. I stayed to the right at all of the intersections along this stretch. Soon I found myself passing a small pond on the left. Here there were several swans and geese wading around. Continuing along the trail along the bank above the Bay I eventually came to a parking area for the public beach. I passed through the parking lot making my way to the carousel. Originally built in New York in 1890 by Charles Loof, the carousel had several homes before finally coming to Goddard. From 1931 until 1973 the carousel was in operation here. All that remains today is the building. The structure is now used for private parties and events. From the carousel I passed a time capsule commemorating the 100th anniversary of the park before crossing the bridge over the road. Then I turned right slightly passing through a picnic area before coming to the trail once again. This trail again follows the bank over the bay before bending back toward the left. I then came to an intersection. I followed the trail to the right down to the beach by Long Point. From here (it was low tide) I followed the beach along Greenwich Cove back to the parking area by the boat launch. I came across a gentleman here who asked if I got a picture of an eagle that was in the area. Busy taking pictures of the boats in the cove, I did not see the eagle. He did however show me a video he took of it with his phone. I really wish I had seen it. With all that it has to offer, it is no wonder why this park won Rhode Island Monthly’s Best Free Attraction for multiple years. The walk I took was about 4 and a half miles. According to the parks website, there are 18 miles of bridle trails here. You could easily make this walk longer if you choose.
Trail map can be found at: Goddard State Park.