- Wickaboxet State Management Area/Pratt Conservation Area
- Saddle Brook Road, West Greenwich, RI
- Trailhead: 41°38’37.87″N, 71°42’58.30″W
- First Time Hiked: March 22, 2014
- Last Time Hiked: July 31, 2016
- Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
- Moderate to difficult, significant elevation, climbing optional.
It has been over two years since I have made my way into Wickaboxet. In the spring of 2014 I came here following the route described in Ken Webers “Weekend Walks in Rhode Island” book. That hike was a two and a half mile walk along old dirt roads that featured quite of few ledges and a former fire tower site. Since then some over the trails here have been blazed including the Wickaboxet Loop Trail. The loop trail, blazed blue, connects to the nearby Tillinghast Pond property and the Pratt Conservation Area and still follows some of the roads that Ken Weber used. For todays hike, a hilly six mile trek, I used the route that Auntie Beak followed (see map link below). Her route covers the Pratt Conservation Area as well as the loop trail with a visit to Rattlesnake Ledge. Wickaboxet is a quiet little gem full of pines and oaks. Although we did not see any wildlife we could hear the many song birds. We started this hike from a cul de sac at the end of Saddle Brook Road. The white blazed trail that runs through Pratt climbs up and over a rather large hill before leading into a valley crossing Acid Factory Brook. The trail narrows in spots and there are a couple of log bridges to cross the streams. The white blazed trail ends at the blue blazed loop trail. Turning right to follow the blue blazes, we passed through a pine grove and we soon came an old cemetery on the right. The graves here date back to the 1820’s. Next we were passing through an area of wild blueberries before coming to an old dirt road. We turned left, continuing to follow the blue blazes. You will notice a unique feature here. Ant mounds. Several of them, and if you look closely enough you will see just how many industrious insects there are here. A little further down the road the blue blazed trail turns to the right. Be aware of the markings or you may miss it. The trail soon passes a cellar hole as it heads westward into the Tillinghast Pond Management Area. The blue blazed trail then turns left following the yellow blazed Flintlock Trail for a bit. There is a spur trail to the left that leads you to Phillips Pond if you feel like exploring. The yellow blazed Flintlock Trail continues straight, but you want to turn left to continue following the blue blazed Wickaboxet Loop Trail. After climbing slightly uphill for a little while, we came upon the Wilcox Homestead. Here is another cemetery that dates back to the 1820’s and another cellar hole. The trail then comes out to a dirt road again. Turning right we followed the dirt road to an intersection. There is another cellarhole just to the left at the intersection. If you were to continue straight you would come out to the main parking lot for Wickaboxet. We instead took the hard left onto the other dirt road. The road would start to gradually climb uphill. There is a wooden post on the left with a trail that leads to the towering Rattlesnake Ledges. There is a narrow path to the left that wraps around the back side of the ledges and up to the top. The view from atop Rattlesnake Ledge is quite impressive. The drop is also quite impressive, be sure not to get to close to the edge. After retracing our steps back to the dirt road we turned left and continued to follow the dirt road until the blue blazes turned right back into the woods. We followed the blue blazed trail passing yet another homestead. The Matteson Farm area has a few cellar holes. One is obviously the house with a set of stone stairs. The other appears to be the foundation of a barn. Soon we came to the white blazed trail again. From here we turned right and retraced our steps to the car. This very hilly section proved to be quite challenging to the end of a moderately long hike. This area is open to hunting. Be sure to wear orange during hunting season.
Trail map can be found at: Wickaboxet.