- Dame Farm – Snake Den State Park
- Brown Avenue, Johnston, RI
- Trailhead: 41°50’39.92″N, 71°32’31.60″W
- Last Time Hiked: October 3, 2015
- Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
- Fairly easy.
The history of this property dates back to the before the American Revolution when the Onley family ran the farm here. In the 1780’s the farm was sold to the Steere family, then in the 1890’s the farm was sold to the Dame Family. This portion of their farm was acquired by the State of Rhode Island in 1969 and soon after was placed of the National Register of Historical Places. The remainder of Dame Farm is across the street and still very active, especially during apple picking season. Today, this part of Dame Farm, now known as Snake Den Farm, is managed by the Northern Rhode Island Conservation District. The farm is made up of a farm house, a sprawling barn, two silos, and a couple other smaller structures. There is evidence that the farmhouse that is here may date back to 1767. The farm is active still with fields being leased to local farmers. One farmer has re-located his business to here from Virginia to grow tulips. They are expecting a field full of tulips next spring as they plan on planting nearly 300,000 bulbs this fall. Today’s walk was led by a member of the farms staff. The event was sponsored by the Rhode Island Land Trust as well as the Northwest Rhode Island Supporters of Open Space who have volunteered several hours clearing the current trail system. Today was also the grand opening of the new trail system here at Snake Den. At the entrance to the parking area is an old sign stating “State Property Keep Out”, ignore this sign, it will be removed soon now that the property is open to the public. At the parking lot is a kiosk with a copy of the trail map. Beyond the parking area is the large grey barn and just beyond it is a farm road. We followed this road, first taking a slight detour to the left to view an old cemetery. Continuing to follow the road we were soon bearing to the left following the edge of a field by the pond before turning right onto a wooded trail which is part of the Pond Loop Trail. This trail crossed a stream and climbed slightly uphill a bit before coming to another field. Turning right here we followed the path along the tree line, first passing an area of milkweed and then the pond once again. Next we turned left onto a narrow path, known as the Woods Trail, that ironically led into the woods. You will notice signs along the way with numbers on them. These are the trail markers that will lead you back to the farm. The rest of Snake Den is notoriously known for its miles of wandering mazes of trails. Be sure to follow the signs with the numbers and not any other faded, older blazes. The Woods Trail leads up and over a hill passing several rock outcrops, boulders, and a stone wall before coming to its end back at the farms barnyard. There is a museum here as well. If it is open it is worth checking out. Hunting is not allowed at the farm, however it is allowed in the remainder of Snake Den. Wearing orange during hunting season is recommended.
The Barn and Silos at the Farm.