- The Pines – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
- Mount Tom Road, Exeter, RI
- Trailhead: 41°33’52.54″N, 71°43’43.33″W
- Last Time Hiked: March 6, 2016
- Approximate distance hiked: 3.6 miles
- Mostly easy, very difficult in areas.
This is one of those hikes I would not suggest for beginners or those uncomfortable with being in very remote sections of the woods. In order to do this hike as described you should have a good sense of direction, instinct, and balance. Bushwhacking is required in one spot. A copy of the Great Swamp Press map for this area is highly suggested as well as GPS for backtracking. There are three distinctively different parts to this hike. The beginning and the loop around Deep Pond are nice gentle trails, a good portion is walking along dirt roads, and a stretch that follows an unmarked narrow trail has many challenges. This hike starts at where the Mount Tom Trail crosses Mount Tom Road. The reason for that is that a large portion of this hike is in areas where the gates are seasonably closed to automobile traffic. From the small parking area, follow the Mount Tom Trail east following the shore of Parris Brook. When you reach the Blitzkrieg Trail, turn right and cross over the bridge. The Blitzkrieg Trail is a dirt road that is surrounded by mostly tall pines. Follow it about three tenths of a mile to the beginning of the Deep Pond Trail on the left. Soon another dirt road on the right appears. This is the road to Deep Pond. Take this and then follow the loop trail around Deep Pond. The trail is rather narrow in areas and some sections tend to flood after excessive rain. After doing the loop return back to Deep Pond Trail and then turn right. You will see a rather large swamp area to the left. At the time of this hike I saw several ducks here. At the end of Deep Pond Trail there is a gate to the right. Pass the gate and make your way to the Wood River. Here is a canoe launch and people fish here quite often. This is the point where you may want to turn back and retrace your steps if you are not comfortable with a rather challenging hike. To the right you will see a rather narrow, leaf covered trail. For the next 3/4 of a mile, take your time. This trail, root bound in spots, is very narrow at times and rises above the river below. One slip could be disastrous. The trail also becomes undistinguishable at points. Be patient and be prepared to backtrack. There is one spot where it seems impossible to complete. The trail comes out to a peninsula with the river to the left and what looks like an old mill race to the right and seems unable to cross. Backtrack a few feet looking for some old stonework below to the right. You can cross pretty easily here pushing the shrubbery aside. When you reach the other side the trail is visible again. Hunters and fisherman have also used flagging to mark parts of the trail. I found the flagging fairly reliable. There are a few spots to take in the beauty of the Wood River. Stop. Enjoy it. If you have come this far, you deserve to take a few moments to enjoy the remoteness. The trail will soon come out to a parking area at the end of the Waterhole Trail. This area is known as The Pines. There is another canoe launch here as well as a picnic table. To finish this hike, follow the Waterhole Trail west back out to Blitzkrieg Trail. After turning right, follow the Blitzkrieg Trail back to the bridge. Turn left and follow the Mount Tom Trail back to the parking area.