Archive for the ‘ ~VOLUNTOWN CT~ ’ Category

Narragansett Trail – North Stonington/Voluntown/Hopkinton

  • Narragansett Trail
  • North Stonington, CT to Hopkinton, RI
  • Last Time Hiked: 2017
  • Approximate Distance: 20.6 miles (open sections)
  • Difficultly is determined by individual legs of the hike.

Established in the early 1930’s and completed by 1936, the Narragansett Trail was one of the longest trails in the area. The original route ran from Lantern Hill in North Stonington, Connecticut to Wordens Pond in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Today, the Narragansett Trail ends at Ashville Pond in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. Unfortunately, the trail is closed in some sections, partly temporary and partly permanent, and has become non-continuous. The temporary closure is due to clearing of land and the trail should re-open in due time. The permanent closure is on the land of the Groton Sportmans Club. The Connecticut Forest And Park Association has temporarily re-routed that section of trail along roads. Nonetheless, this trail is hands down one of the best hiking trails in Southern New England. The trail is blazed light blue in Connecticut and yellow in Rhode Island. This hike was done as a one-way hike using car-stops.

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A Beaver Hut Along The Narragansett Trail

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  • Wintechog Hill Road to North Stonington Transfer Station
  • Features Lantern Hill
  • North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°28’0.82″N, 71°56’44.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Difficult to Strenuous With Some Climbing.

The western most portion of the Narragansett Trail climbs over Lantern Hill just southeast of the Foxwoods Casino complex. Starting from a makeshift parking area (with no signage) along Wintechog Hill Road the light blue blazed trail immediately begins to climb the hill following an old cart-path. After a couple hundred feet the trail levels off for a bit before coming to a red blazed Lantern Hill Loop Trail. Be sure to be aware of the blue blazes of the Narragansett Trail when you approach trail intersections. You will want to follow them and not the red blazes for this hike. The Narragansett Trail then starts to steadily climb the hill once again. The inclines are quite impressive at times. The trail first overlooks the Pequot Reservation to the north and west offering views of the casino and Lantern Hill Pond below. The trail then climbs over the summit to a stunning overlook with miles and miles of sights to the east and south. Clear days will offer a view of the Atlantic Ocean to the south. It is also interesting to see the hawks and vultures soaring through the sky sometimes below you. Use extreme caution along the edges here as a fall would surely be fatal. Also here on the first day of Spring the Westerly Morris Men climb the hill for their annual sunrise dance at the summit. The hill got its name from the War of 1812 as the hill was used as a lookout. When the British were spotted approaching, barrels of tar were ignited to warn nearby residents. After spending some time at the summit continue following the blue blazed trail as it winds, at times steeply, down the hill. There is one section, that we dubbed the Lemon Squeeze, that will challenge your footing, balance, and upper body strength. The trail then traverses the south side of the hill passing through groves of mountain laurel before coming out to the North Stonington Transfer Station. Again, be sure to pay attention to blazes and turns at intersections. After the Dog Pound the trail turns to the left through the transfer station and back out to Wintechog Hill Road. At this point you have hiked 1.4 miles of the Narragansett Trail. The trail continues ahead, however it is closed (from Wintechog Hill Road to Route 2) at the moment because of logging.

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The View Looking East From Lantern Hill.

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This section of the Narragansett Trail is temporarily closed and is due to re-open in the near future.

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  • Ryder Road to Wyassup Lake
  • Features Gladys Foster Preserve & Cossaduck Bluffs
  • North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°27’42.11″N, 71°54’21.83″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 21, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
  • Moderate to Difficult, Long uphill section, stream crossings.

The blue blazed Narragansett Trail continues from Ryder Road easterly passing a small Nature Conservancy property known as the Gladys Foster Preserve. The trail then starts a climb up Cossaduck Hill. This section of the trail can be quite difficult as there is a quick increase in elevation. There are some impressive outcrops and ledges along this stretch as you climb toward an outlook known as Cossaduck Bluffs. Some locals also call it the Yawbux Valley Overlook. The view to the south here is quite impressive. The trail then winds slightly downhill passing some stone walls and entering the Pachaug State Forest. The trail then comes to an intersection where you need to take a left and then an immediate right. Be sure to follow the blue blazes. The trail steadily continues downhill passing through pine groves and beech stands. Along this stretch we came upon wild geranium and reishi mushroom. After a steep decline we came to the first of a few major crossings of the Yawbux Brook. Be sure to look for and follow the blazes by the brook. And furthermore, prepare to get your feet wet and/or muddy after heavy rains. After a bit of rock hopping over the brook the trail gets rocky and root-bound as well before coming to the second brook crossing. This one is a pair of logs that are quite rickety. A pair of trekking poles or a hiking stick will serve you well here. Again be sure to find and follow the blazes. The trail then winds through a wet and muddy area conducive for the growth of ferns before taking a well marked right turn, through a stone wall, and over the Yawbux Brook once again via a series of large “stepping stones”. The trail then turns to the left and through a short section that is a little overgrown before coming out to a beaver pond complete with a beaver dam and beaver hut. The trail then follows the shore of the pond for a bit passing swamp azalea, wild dogwood, and lady-slippers. An osprey and several swallows were spotted above the pond. No beavers were seen, but several trees had been toppled by their signature mark. The trail then continues into the thick woods and eventually through another pine grove. The trail at times is covered in their needles. More areas of outcrops and stone walls are along the rocky trail before coming to the Wyassup Road Spur. This trail leads into the new Stewart Hill Preserve. Continuing to follow the blue blazed Narragansett Trail we soon came to the last brook crossing. This one was quite wide and rocky, but at the time somewhat dry. After a heavy rain this one may be nearly impassable. The trail soon crosses an old cart path and continues to wind through the forest flanked by more outcrops and stone walls before coming out to Wyassup Lake Road just opposite of the boat ramp and parking area for the lake.

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“Stepping Stones” Crossing The Yawbux Brook.

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  • Wyassup Lake to Pendleton Hill Road
  • Features High Ledge & Bullet Ledge
  • North Stonington/Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°29’20.79″N, 71°52’37.14″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 17, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Difficult, Strenuous in areas, stream crossings.

The blue blazed Narragansett Trail continues from Wyassup Lake first following Wyassup Lake Road northerly a few hundred feet before veering left into the woods onto a trail just beyond a gate. The old road soon turns to the left, continue straight onto a narrower trail and be sure to follow the blue blazes. This trail becomes root bound and rocky as it passes a swampy area with a couple stream crossings. The trail soon passes the first of several stone walls before winding to a massive ledge. This is the base of High Ledge and the Narragansett Trail weaves around the left side of it to its summit. At the summit of High Ledge you can catch a glimpse of the forest to the south. Continuing, the trail then descends dramatically into a fern filled valley with a stream and massive ledges to the left. The trail then follows a ridge line that towers over the forest to the right as it winds to  Ledgen Wood Road. Some of the road, an old cart path, tends to be quite rocky and makes for some difficult footing. Soon the Narragansett Trail turns left onto another old cart path and starts in a northerly direction. The trail winds downhill and narrows as it approaches a swampy area that is the headwaters of Dark Hollow Brook. You soon come to another massive ledge, and again the blue blazed trail winds up and around the left side of it. About halfway up the ledge along the trail there are openings to Bear Cave. When you reach the summit of Bullet Ledge you can take a peak to the trail down below. Be careful by the edges. From here, continue to follow the blue blazes as the trail continues to be hilly and substantially rocky. Along this stretch you will pass another large ledge to the left and several boulders, crossing into Voluntown, before coming to Coal Pit Hill Road. The trail continues ahead, crossing the road, and becomes narrower and slightly overgrown. Be sure to keep an eye for the blazes along this stretch. The trail then heads generally northeast passing stone walls and a forest floor of ferns as it winds up and down hills. As the trail turns east it starts a 150 foot descent down a narrow trail towards Myron Kinney Brook. The trail then turns south and starts climbing back uphill following the brook. Along this stretch you will see several small waterfalls and cascades as well as a couple of cairns as the trail crosses back into North Stonington. At the end of the trail, you will turn left at a stone wall onto Ledgen Wood Road once again. The gravel road heads east and soon becomes pavement entering a residential neighborhood. At the intersection continue straight onto Johnson Road. The road gently curves to the right and just before Pendleton Hill Road is a small pull-off for parking.

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Ledge in a Valley (Note the mountain laurel shrub growing on the side for perspective.)

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  • Pendleton Hill Road to Tom Wheeler Road
  • North Stonington/Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°30’30.57″N, 71°50’24.02″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 15, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Fairly easy. All road walking, detour of closed section of trail.

The Narragansett Trail has been closed on the property of the Groton Sportsman Club and has been re-routed by The Connecticut Forest And Park Association. Though this detour is not blazed it is easy enough to follow. Starting from a small parking pull-off at the intersection of Pendleton Hill Road and Johnson Road follow Johnson Road to the northwest and then follow it to the right and back out to Pendleton Hill Road. It is advisable to face traffic for this stretch of the hike as you are now walking on a section of Route 49. Be sure to be aware of traffic. Continuing north you soon enter Voluntown and for a little over a half mile you will pass stone walls, farms, fields, and a few houses before coming to Sand Hill Road where you will turn right. This road is much quieter and offers a couple of sights. On the left is Studio Farm with its barn, wishing well, and canine greeter! The road crosses Koistenen Brook and soon starts climbing uphill flanked by post and wire guardrails and stonewalls. After cresting the hill there is a small pond on the right with lily-pads and a large field of wildflowers on the left. The road then turns to the left and immediately to the right. Here at this zigzag is the beginning of Gallup Road and a homestead with a couple small farm buildings. Be sure to continue east along Sand Hill Road for another 300 feet passing a small pond on the right. Here you will turn right onto Tom Wheeler Road and follow it four tenths of a mile passing more stone walls and corn fields. Look for a bright yellow sign on the right reading “Private Shooting Area”. Almost directly across the street from it you will see a sign for the Narragansett Trail. This is where the detour ends and the trail makes it way back into the woods.

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Detour

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A Field Along Sand Hill Road.

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  • Tom Wheeler Road to State Line Marker
  • Features Green Fall Pond & Dinosaur Caves
  • Voluntown, CT/Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°30’51.62″N, 71°49’23.84″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 15, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.0 miles
  • Difficult, Strenuous in areas, stream crossings, rock climbing.

The blue blazed Narragansett Trail continues from Tom Wheeler Road heading in a northeasterly direction. The trail is fairly level at first, but rocky and muddy in areas. After crossing the first of several stream crossings the trail descends down the first rock wall into a small valley of boulders and ledges. Some of the stream crossings can be a bit challenging and almost all of them are cascading with small waterfalls. The trail then follows a long narrow outcrop for a bit and through a grove of mountain laurel before coming out to Sand Hill Road. Turn right here and follow Sand Hill Road several hundred feet to Green Fall River. Just before the road crosses the river turn left onto the trail. Follow the blue blazed trail through an area of hemlocks and soon you will come to a cairn. In this area the blue blazed trail enters into the Green Fall Gorge. The river in the gorge rushes over boulders as the narrow trail climbs up and down the narrow and steep embankments. There is a new bridge, built in the summer of 2017, that replaces a tricky river crossing in the gorge. Before the bridge, the crossing was logs that tended to be slippery. As the trail continues you soon come to the dam and waterfall of Green Fall Pond. The trail climbs up the bank on the right side of the dam to the pond. Swimming is not allowed at this end of the pond but the spot makes for a good resting location before carrying on. The Narragansett Trail now joins the Green Fall Pond trail and is blazed both blue and orange along the shore of the pond. The trail first crosses over a dike before coming to a split. Stay to the left and continue to follow the blue blazes. Soon you will come to the “Tree Bridge”, a small wooden bridge that crosses the Green Fall River that has a tree in the middle of it. Shortly thereafter, the trail splits again. Be sure to follow the blue blazes to the right to stay on the Narragansett Trail. The blue/orange blazes that continue ahead are part of the Narragansett Crossover Trail. You no longer want to follow the orange marks. After making your turn you will head east for just under a mile to the Rhode Island border. Along the way, the trail becomes challenging in areas crossing the Green Fall River again and the Peg Mill Brook. At the brook is an old sluice where the Peg Mill once stood. The water seems to vanish into the ground here. A few feet up and around the bend the water reappears trickling out of the rocks creating waterfalls. The trail then comes to a large set of outcrops with deep crevices. It is best to sit and slide down the rocks here as they tend to be quite high and sometimes slippery. The trails then crosses a small boardwalk, up another hill and soon joins the Tippecansett Trail. Stay to the right. From here the trail is now blazed blue and yellow and follows the Connecticut/Rhode Island border weaving from side to side. Along the way is a spot known as Dinosaur Caves. The Narragansett Trails traverses over the hump of the massive outcrop. The caves are below that can be accessed from a spur trail after climbing over the outcrop. After Dinosaur Caves, the trail becomes significantly easier as it winds down to Camp Yawgoog Road. Across the road from the small parking area in the large granite State Line Marker between Voluntown, Connecticut and Hopkinton, Rhode Island. The blue blazes of the Narragansett Trail ends here as you leave Connecticut. The Narragansett Trail is blazed yellow the remainder of the way into Rhode Island.

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In The Green Fall Gorge (note the trail blazes on the right of the river)

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  • State Line Marker to Ashville Pond
  • Features Camp Yawgoog, Long Pond, & Ashville Pond
  • Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°31’36.64″N, 71°47’31.82″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 23, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.8 miles (including spur to overlook)
  • Difficult, Strenuous in areas with some rock climbing.

The Narragansett Trail continues from the State Line Marker, now blazed yellow, easterly along Camp Yawgoog Road for about two tenths of a mile. The trail then turns right, opposite the Hidden Lake trail-head, into Camp Yawgoog. From here the trail continues through the Boy Scout Camp along the western shore of Yawgoog Pond passing over a few small streams and areas of boulders. The stream crossings are well maintained with log and timber bridges. The Narragansett Trail along this side of the camp is part of the “Round The Pond Trail”. A green blazed trail appears on the right, continue ahead on the yellow blazed. The trail soon nears the pond where you can get a good look of the pond. Across the way you can see the beaches used by the Boy Scouts They are Sandy Beach, Medicine Bow, and Three Point. Continuing, the trail passes by Blueberry Swamp and through groves of mountain laurel before coming to Cooning Orchard. This area is where several of the camps trails intersect. The Narraganset Trail is now joined by the red blazed trail for a while. This is the “George Utter Trail” and will be blazed both yellow and red for a short section passing through more mountain laurel and rhododendrons. The red trail soon turns right to the Rim Trail and the Richmond Boulder Field. Continue to follow the yellow blazes of the Narragansett Trail and you will soon come to North Road where you will turn left. Following the road to the east for about two tenths of a mile, you will come to a small parking area for Long Pond /Ell Pond. The remainder of this hike is on the property of the Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society, and the Department of Environmental Management. Turning right and through the small parking area, continue to follow the yellow blazes. The trail now heads into one of the states most densely populated areas of mountain laurel. In mid June, this stretch is stunningly beautiful. In fact, it is one of the most beautiful stretches of trail, not only in Rhode Island, but in New England. The hike also gets substantially more difficult, at times strenuous, from this point forward. The trail starts to climb steadily uphill, scrambling up rock outcrops and wooden stairs. The well intended “No Rock Climbing” signs tend to be a little bit humorous as parts of the trail you have no choice but to climb down and/or up rocks. With that being said, watch your step as you climb down into a small valley before scurrying back up a large outcrop. At the top of the hill there is a small area that opens up. The blaze indicates that the Narragansett Trail turns to the right. But if you have come this far, you are in the “neighborhood” of quite possibly the most beautiful sight in Rhode Island. A spur trail, that is not blazed, leads to the left. It is highly suggested to take the time and explore this trail as it leads down and then back up to a massive ledge. When you approach the wall of rock, stay to the left of it, as there is a way up the left side of it. Choose your steps carefully and exercise caution. Once to the top, take a breather and stay a while. The view is stunning as it overlooks Long Pond. A scene in the movie Moonrise Kingdom was filmed high upon this ledge. After taking in the sights retrace you steps back to the yellow blazed Narragansett Trail to continue the hike. The trail next traverses down a large, beautiful cleft that competes with some natural wonders of the mountains of Northern New England. After descending to the base the trail becomes a boardwalk that crosses a swampy area and stream that connects Ell Pond to Long Pond. At the end of the boardwalk the trail climbs the first of three quite substantial hills. Take your time here and take breaks as needed. This stretch will test your stamina and muscles. With Long Pond now to your left the trail continues to climb up and over a few hills. At times you may need to crawl or climb. The trail eventually levels out some, though hills will remain common, they are just smaller. The trail soon follows large sections of outcrop surrounded by the woods. Large boulders become prevalent with one, looking like the front of a ship, standing out. Stone walls appear on your right as Long Pond vanishes on the left and soon you come to the Canonchet Road trail head. The Narragansett Trail continues, still yellow blazed and bending to the right, making a short westerly loop before turning to the east once again. More stone walls and boulders are a common sight along this last stretch. The trail comes to a large flat outcrop where you turn to the right and then cross a rather high boardwalk. Soon you will get your first glimpses of Ashville Pond to the left. The trail turns to the right near the former Ashville Pond Beach and ends at the parking area on Stubtown Road.

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Long Pond From The Overlook

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The Cleft

Trail map can be found at: Narragansett Trail (courtesy of Auntie Beak)

I would like to thank Auntie Beak for her help with the planning and logistics of this hike. It has been a pleasure to take on the Narragansett Trail with you. I look forward to tackling more long distance trails with you in the future. I would also like to thank the members of the Providence County Hiking Club who joined me on this venture.

For more photos of this hike, please go to the Trails and Walks Facebook page.

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Dark Hollow Brook – Voluntown/Griswold

  • Dark Hollow Brook
  • Hodge Pond Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°32’28.76″N, 71°51’27.01″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 16, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.0 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, some significant elevation.

 

If you like stone walls and ledges, this is the hike for you. I met with fellow hiker Auntie Beak for this mid afternoon hike in the Pachaug State Forest in Connecticut. She has done this hike on several occasions and it was nice to relax and just follow her lead. The trails here are not blazed, therefore it is recommended to obtain a copy of the map for the forest trails and use GPS. (If you use Auntie Beaks map, linked below, note that we did the southern portion of her overall hike). Starting from the parking area just west of Kinney Brook along Hodge Pond Road we followed the old dirt road south into the forest. The first part of this hike you will continue straight along the main road ignoring side trails. After climbing uphill for a bit we came upon an old stone building. The stone work is quite impressive. Continuing along the old dirt road, immediately following the stone building is an open field with flowers. It appears this might have once been a garden. Further ahead is a seasonal brook and waterfall to the right. Soon after there are some beautiful ledges as well. At the end of the road turn right and start heading northwest. You will start to see more impressive ledges along this stretch. At the next intersection merge to the left. The trail becomes much more primitive and narrow at this point as it meanders through a forest of rocks and boulders. Ahead, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you will come to a bridge that crosses Dark Hollow Brook. At the next two trail splits stay to the left. You are now in the Town of Griswold. Ahead stay to the right, the trail now winds as it climbs uphill toward an old farm site. The trail soon becomes flanked with stone walls. Take your time here and look around. There is a well here and several old farm tools abandoned years ago. The trail soon comes to another dirt road. Stay to the left here and follow the road back to the paved Hodge Pond Road. Turn right and follow the paved road downhill back to the parking area. You will pass a cemetery along the way. Hunting is allowed here and blazed orange is required during hunting season.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Dark Hollow Brook

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Trail Flanked By Stone Walls

Mount Misery – Voluntown

  • Mount Misery – Pachaug State Forest
  • Cutoff Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°35’36.73″N, 71°52’3.15″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 9, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Moderate.

This out and back hike, short in mileage, traverses over two hills in the Pachaug State Forest. At the top of the second hill, the 441 foot Mount Misery, is a rather impressive overlook. Starting from a parking area near the entrance of the Rhododendron Sanctuary, first follow the light blue blazes of the Nehantic Trail along Cutoff Road west towards the open gate. After passing the gate you will see a “Smokey the Bear” sign on the left. The blue blazed trail enters the forest here. The trail first meanders through an area of young pines covering the forest floor. Above are the older, towering pines. The trail then begins it climb up the first hill. After cresting the first hill the trail descends into a small valley where a boardwalk crosses a seasonal stream. Shortly after the boardwalks the trail climbs Mount Misery. At the top of the hill to the left is the overlook. This overlook looks east over the forest towards Rhode Island. Along the trail at the top of the hill you will also find a benchmark disk. The Nehantic Trail continues ahead a short distance to another parking area. After enjoying the view retrace your steps back to the parking area. Visiting the Rhododendron Sanctuary also adds an additional half mile to this hike.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Mount Misery

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View From Mount Misery.

Rhododendron Sanctuary – Voluntown

  • Rhododendron Sanctuary – Pachaug State Forest
  • Cutoff Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°35’37.42″N, 71°52’3.42″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 5, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Easy.

If there is one hike in the area that is all about timing it is this one. The short, level, out and back, quarter mile trail leads you through an area of dense rhododendrons. These shrubs bloom in late June to early July and the vast cluster pink flowers are spectacular. The trail is mostly gravel based and boardwalks. Along the trail there are swamps with frogs and turtles. There is also an abundance of ferns covering the forest floor. The trail ceases at Misery Brook. This hike would be a good companion to other nearby hikes including Mount Misery.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Rhododendron Sanctuary

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Blooming Rhododendron

Tippecansett South – Exeter/Voluntown/Hopkinton

  • Tippecansett Trail South
  • Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°34’25.48″N, 71°47’7.67″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 15, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.5 miles
  • Moderate to difficult, some strenuous spots.

 

The southern end of the Tippecansett Trail starts at Beach Pond and ends 5 and a half miles south at the state line marker along Green Falls Road near Hidden Lake. The hike can be quite challenging at times especially at the beginning and the end. The trail is well blazed in yellow and, for the most part, easy to follow. The hike described here is a one way trail and a car spot is required. After leaving the small parking area on the south side of Route 165, we found ourselves traversing the eastern edge of Beach Pond. The trail has several small ups and downs and is quite root bound as it passes several boulders along the waters edge. Soon you will come to a large outcrop that juts out into the pond. This is a good spot for viewing the pond. The trail then continues as it starts to make its way around the southern edge of the pond. After crossing a small wooden bridge large ledges loom to the left. They are quite impressive among the forest of pines and hemlocks. Soon you will come to a trail intersection. Ahead is a sign and the white blazes of the Deep Pond Trail. To the left you will see a rock with the word “LOOKOUT” painted on it and a trail that leads to the Hemlock Ledges Overlook. (Well worth the climb if you have never been up there). For this hike, turn right here and continue to follow the yellow blazes of the Tippecansett Trail. The trail first descends back down towards the pond before turning away and heading westward. This stretch is rather rocky and slightly uphill almost in its entirety. The trail then comes to an old dirt road. Turn left here and follow the road passing the blue blazes of the Hemlock Ledges Trail on the left. A little further up the road the trail turns right and heads for the state line. You will find survey markers along the trail as you approach the state line. The trail then crosses Noah’s Arc Road and starts to follow an old road that straddles the state line for a bit before turning back into Rhode Island and the southwestern extremities of the Arcadia Management Area. The trail then comes to Route 138 at the Exeter/Hopkinton border. Following the yellow blazes still, the Tippecansett follows the busy highway for a couple hundred feet before turning off onto a dirt road across the street. The street has a few homes along it. At the time of this hike we were first “serenaded” by a pair of hounds, and then greeted by a black lab at the next house. The trail shortly thereafter makes an abrupt right onto Boy Scout property. The trail on the property winds quite a bit. Be sure to follow the yellow blazes and avoid making turns on unmarked trails. This area is also in abundance of mountain laurel and rhododendron and the trail at times is quite literally a tunnel through these magnificent shrubs. Soon the trail comes to a large table rock. The trail blazes are now at your feet along the rocks. A (darker) blue blaze trail now joins the yellow blazes of the Tippecansett. This is where the trail becomes quite strenuous in spots. From this point forward as well you will want to follow the yellow and blue blaze trail as there are some spurs that use the same color blazes. You will soon approach a rather impressive upward climb. Take your time and make the right steps. This one is easy in comparison to the next. After making the climb the yellow and blue blazed trail turns to the left. The trail to the right is part of the Narragansett Trail that leads towards Green Fall Pond. Follow the trail south toward the next climb, when you get to it take a good look at it first. If you are not comfortable with the climb there is an unmarked trail to the left that loops around Dinosaur Caves. After climbing up the trail you will then be up on the very large boulders that make up Dinosaur Caves. The trail then descends down the other face of the large boulders and continues south ending at Green Fall Road. This is the end of the Tippecansett Trail and where your second car should be parked.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Tippecansett South 1 & Tippecansett South 2.

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Some Climbing Along The Tippecansett.

Hell Hollow – Voluntown/Plainfield

  • Hell Hollow – Pachaug State Forest
  • Hell Hollow Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°38’14.19″N, 71°52’9.77″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 13, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 7.6 miles
  • Moderate due to distance and some rocky footing.

 

For such a sinister name, Hell Hollow is quite a beautiful place, especially this time of year in Southern New England. Many of the trees here are approaching peak foliage. The splashes of reds, oranges, and yellows make for a nice backdrop of the two ponds along this hike. I joined a fellow hiker/blogger for this hike. We started from a parking area on Hell Hollow Road at the pond. We then headed east along the road about 1/10 of a mile then turned left onto the blue blazed Pachaug Trail. We followed this trail until we reached an intersection with the blue going to the right and yellow to the left. We were now in Plainfield. Here we went left onto the yellow blazed Quinebeag Crossover Trail. The trails here are covered in leaves and can be rocky in areas as they wind through areas of oaks, pines, and stream beds. Be sure to keep an eye on the blazes as the trail becomes a little difficult to follow at times due to ground cover. We did come across a coyote here, unfortunately for this animal, it was just the remains. This section of trail soon ends at Flat Rock Road. We turned left, still following the yellow blazes, and followed the road to a split. Here we stayed to the left and followed the short section of what was left of the yellow blazes. We then found ourselves at the next intersection. This was the Quinebeag Trail. If we were to turn right the trail would lead us to Lockes Meadow Pond. We continued straight (now a blue blazed Quinebeag Trail) still following the aptly named Flat Rock Road. We soon came to areas of ledge that the road traversed over. To the left is a small overlook. At the time of the hike there were to many leaves on the trees, but I was told the view is decent in the winter months. We then continued turning left off of Flat Rock Road following the blue blazes. If you reached the paved road, you have missed the turn. From here we followed the Quinebeag southerly a little over a mile passing a cellar hole at the trail intersection about halfway through this section. The footing is a little tough here as the trail is very rocky in areas. We soon found ourselves back at Hell Hollow Road. (You can turn left here and follow the road back to the car if you want to cut the hike in half.) Here we turned right following the road a bit before turning left into the woods again continuing to follow the blue blazed Quinebeag. The trail then makes a small horseshoe before coming to the next turn. This turn was not easy to find as the trail blazes are quite faint here. A couple hundred feet before the road the Quinebeag turns to the left. It is a very narrow trail along this stretch but still better than walking the road. Fear not though if you can not find it, just follow the road. They run parallel and both come to a picnic area a little over a mile away. After some slight backtracking, we found the trail and carefully proceeded being sure to keep an eye on the blazes. The trail is quite nice meandering at times through a grove of young pines. We did have to cross a rocky area that appears to normally be a difficult stream crossing. We soon came to the picnic area. Here we stopped for a quick break. The picnic area overlooks Phillips Pond which is quite smaller than Hell Hollow Pond. From here we then made our way onto the road crossing the small stream, then left through the parking lot and onto the blue/red blazed Phillips Pond Trail. Soon we were turning left onto the blue blazed Pachaug Trail once again for the final stretch of the hike. Again we were in areas of pine groves. Some of the ground cover included wintergreen, partridge berries, and a variety of mushrooms. At the end of the trail we turned left onto the road and followed it to Hell Hollow Pond where the cars were parked. This area is open to hunting. Orange should be worn during hunting season. Futhermore, sections of Hell Hollow Road are closed from December to March.

 

Trail map can be found at: Hell Hollow.

Foliage at Hell Hollow Pond

Foliage at Hell Hollow Pond

Hidden Lake – Hopkinton/Voluntown

  • Hidden Lake
  • Camp Yawgoog Road, Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°31’32.87″N, 71°47’21.05″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 4, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Fairly easy with some moderate terrain, rocky in areas with some climbing.

 

The beautiful property, just north of Camp Yawgoog, is nearly pristine. The property is privately owned by the Rhode Island Boy Scouts, but the trails are open to the public. There is signage at the parking area that depicts this. For this hike, a loop, I parked at a small parking area with a sign for Hidden Lake.  I decided to eliminate the small road section of the hike first which resulted in me doing this loop in a clockwise direction. This would also save the lake views for the end of the hike. From the parking area I followed Camp Yawgoog Road west about 1/5 of a mile following the yellow blazes along the road. Soon, I found the yellow and blue blazes indicating the turn to the right. This trail is in fact the southern end of the Tippecansett Trail, as well as a portion of the Narragansett Trail. The trail is narrow but very well maintained. It meanders through boardwalks, outcrops, and through root bound areas as it straddles the Connecticut/Rhode Island border, continuously crossing back and forth into each state. I soon approached an area of large outcrops, boulders, and ledges. The trail seems to go downhill and around the towering ledge. The blazes, however, have you going over the outcrop. Following the blazes, I made my way to the top of the outcrop. This area is known as Dinosaur Caves. I then continued along the trail, eventually coming to a split. The trail to the left is the blue blazed Narragansett Trail, heading west into Connecticut towards Green Fall Pond. The trail to the right is yellow and blue blazed. There is a sign here indicating that it is the Tippecansett Trail. I turned right here and climbed down the very rocky trail. The trail soon comes to another large outcrop and the trail blazes split here. The yellow blazes of the Tippecansett Trail head to the left and the blue blazes continue straight. Along with the trail I had been following, the remainder of the blue blazed trail ahead of me is part of the Yawgoog Trail. After continuing on the blue blazed trail for a bit, I came to an intersection. The blue blazed trail turns right here. The trail to the left is the unmarked “Hill 431 Trail”. I turned right. This section of the hike is quite level and easy as it gently traverses downhill over a long stretch. This trail ends at the next intersection, where I turned right onto the white blazed trail that would lead me to Hidden Lake. This area becomes hilly again and the trail eventually splits at another outcrop. The option is yours on which way to go. The two trails join again on the other side of the lake. I choose to turn left going down another steep hill. The trail winds up and downs small hills before coming to a picnic area. Here there is a small rock peninsula that juts out into the lake. After spending a moment taking a few photographs and observing the ducks I continued along the white trail. The trail crosses over a spillway before joining the “other white trail”. Turning left here, I soon found myself back at the car.

Trail map can be found at: Hidden Lake.

Hidden Lake in Hopkinton

Hidden Lake in Hopkinton

This trail was featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine – October 2014

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – May 2015