- Aust Family Preserve at Lime Rock
- Wilbur Road, Lincoln, RI
- Trailhead: 41°55’18.64″N, 71°28’3.89″W
- First Time Hiked: January 13, 2013
- Last Time Hiked: January 1, 2016
- Approximate distance hiked: 2.3 miles
- Moderate due to some elevation.
Featuring one of the newest loop trails in Rhode Island, the Nature Conservancy’s Lime Rock Preserve in Lincoln offers a variety of flora and an abundance of outcrops. The new blue loop trail was established in the spring of 2015 and adds a pleasant addition to the existing yellow loop trail. For this hike I combined the two to highlight almost all of the features of the property. Starting from a small parking pull off along Wilbur Road (41°55’18.6″N 71°28’03.9″W), I followed the yellow blazed trail a few hundred feet to the first trail intersection. Here I turned right onto the blue blazed trail, up a set of stairs, and immediately uphill passing several boulders, outcrops, and beech trees before the trail levels slightly. After passing a set of boardwalks, the trails climbs uphill again to the first of several stone walls. The trail stays to the right of the stone wall at first, then passes through it to another trail intersection. This is actually the blue loop trail. Here I decided to continue straight soon passing through an area of ferns. Soon the trail comes to an old cart path. I turned left here continuing to follow the blue blazed trail. Below to the right is the Moshassuck River and a hill is to the left. This stretch of the trail is quite pretty with plenty of young beech trees. At the next trail intersection I turned right onto a spur trail, still blazed blue, that leads to the yellow loop trail. There is a spot where you need to climb over a stone wall. Use caution here, especially during wet conditions. When I reached the yellow trail I turned right and soon found myself at the dam. To the left is the reservoir and on the right down below are the headwaters of the Moshassuck River that flows to Downtown Providence. After crossing the dam the trail turns left uphill following a stone covered service road for about a tenth of a mile. The yellow blazed trail then turns left back into the woods as the service road bears to the right. Soon I approached an area with a few large boulders and a stone bridge that crosses of a trickling stream. The trails then meanders north of the reservoir before turning left at the next intersection. You may notice that the trail ahead is very straight and level. This stretch is an old railway bed that once was used by electric railcars for service between Providence and Woonsocket. Because of the need to be level for railroad use it makes for an interesting trail as it first passes through areas where ledge was removed and then passes high above the valley below. As the terrain around the trail levels out a bit another trail intersection appears. If you care to avoid the hills of the blue loop again, you can continue straight at this intersection following the old railroad bed (also blazed yellow) back to the parking area. I turned left to complete the yellow blazed loop, crossed the boardwalk, and followed the trail to the blue trail on the right. Turning here, I soon was crossing the stone wall once again before coming to the blue loop trail once again. I turned right and started a slow steady climb up the hill along a very quiet and secluded stretch of trail. The trail takes a sharp right at a massive boulder and continues climbing uphill until it reaches a ridge at the top of the hill. Continuing to follow the blue blazes I soon found myself at a trail intersection. Here I turned right, retracing my steps downhill, across the boardwalks, and down the steps, to the yellow trail. Turning left I was soon back at the Wilbur Road.
Trail map can be found at: Lime Rock Trail Map