Posts Tagged ‘ Beach Walks ’

Mohegan Bluffs – New Shoreham

  • Mohegan Bluffs – Payne Overlook
  • Mohegan Trail, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’11.07″N, 71°33’18.53″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Moderate to difficult.

 

A short, but grueling one mile walk to one of the most picturesque locations on the eastern seaboard. The bluffs here are where the glaciers ended craving out these 180 foot drops to the beach below. A top the bluffs is the historic Southeast Light built in 1875. The bluffs got there name from a 16th century Native American battle in which a tribe of Manisseans (locals) drove an invading force of 40 Mohegans over the bluffs to their deaths. This is not an easy trek. Starting from the parking area at Payne Overlook, I followed the short path that leads to the stairs. I then followed the approximately 150 stairs down to a viewing platform about 3/4 of the way down the bluffs. From here I scaled down the steep incline to the beach. From this vantage point the bluffs are amazingly massive. I walked the beach in each direction for a bit before returning back up the base of the bluff and stairs. From here I walked back to the parking area and out to the road. Turning right I followed the road several hundred feet to the entrance of the lighthouse grounds. I wandered around the grounds briefly, taking several photos of the historic light, before returning back to the car parked back at Payne Overlook. Though a short walk/hike, it is without a doubt a must see.

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Mohegan Bluffs, showing the Payne Overlook Stairs and the Southeast Light. (Note the people on the beach for perspective)

Block Island North – New Shoreham

  • Block Island North
  • Corn Neck Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°12’48.58″N, 71°34’1.12″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate with areas of difficulty.

 

Block Island is 14 miles off the Rhode Island mainland coast. It is a bustling resort town in the summer months and host to only about 1000 folks during the brutal New England winters. New Shoreham (the one and only town on the island) is in fact the smallest town in Rhode Island by both area and “year round” population. Conservation on the island has been outstanding. Over 43% of the island is under some sort of conservation protection by several different organizations. For this hike, I covered a large portion of the northern end of the island. Parking at the Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve entrance, I first made my way toward Middle Pond following the main trail in the Hodge Preserve. The trail is grass mowed that traverses up and over several rolling hills of meadows before ending at the shore of Middle Pond. Along the trail there are sweeping views over the pond and Block Island Sound including the North Light at the tip of the island. From here I retraced my steps back to the parking area opting to follow the spur loop trails. Once back out to Corn Neck Road I turned right and followed the road south until I came to Clay Head Trail (just after the red house, number 728). The road, marked with a post, is a dirt road that leads to the parking area for the Clay Head Nature Trail. There are several private roads off of this road. Be sure to continue straight until you reach the trail head. From here the trail winds narrowly over meadow covered hills and wooded areas before reaching boardwalks near the Clay Head Swamp on the right. Shortly after the swamp the trail turns abruptly to the left and starts to climb upward, but first check out the beach and the massive clay bluffs. Continuing the trail climbs uphill and parallels the bluffs occasionally popping out to the edge. Exercise extreme caution along the edges. The views of Block Island Sound are quite impressive from the top of the bluffs. The trail passes through areas of shrubs and trees, with an abundance of birds, passing two small ponds to the left. There are also several spur trails to the left that lead into “The Maze”. If you opt to explore be sure to have a GPS device with you. For this hike, I followed the Clay Head Trail to its end. At the four way intersection, continue straight. Shortly thereafter the trail comes to a dirt road. Following the road to north you soon come to an intersection, turn left here and follow the road out to the paved Corn Neck Road. Turning right I followed the road to its end at Settlers Rock passing Sachem Pond on the left. The rock is a memorial to the original settlers and purchasers of the island back in 1661. From here the walking gets tough. If the hills of Clay Head have not already done a number on your muscles, the sands of the beach will. From Settlers Rock to the iconic North Light and back is all beach walking in soft sand through the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. It is well worth the walk though. The light, built in 1867, is now owned by the town and is home to a museum (open seasonably). At the time of this hike I came upon several nesting seagulls. After spending a little time here I made my way back to Settlers Rock and then southerly along Corn Neck Road. On the left at a stone wall you will see a set of wooden stairs. If you opt to, this is the Atwood Overlook. From the top of the hill you can look back towards the North Light. A little further up the road on the right is the Labyrinth, again the entrance is a set of wood stairs over a stone wall. This unique spot is a somewhat spiral path, similar to a maze, but with no dead ends, that leads to the center. It is said to be sacred. After spending a few moments here, I made my way back to the road continuing south back to the Hodge Preserve parking area. I came across an abundance of birds along this 6 mile trek and ran into a few fellow hikers.

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Meadow at Hodge Preserve

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Clay Head Bluffs

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Block Island North Light

Gooseberry Island – Westport

  • Gooseberry Island
  • East Beach Road, Westport, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°29’29.54″N, 71° 2’21.24″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 24, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.7 miles
  • Easy, some beach walking.

 

Part of the Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Gooseberry Island juts out into the entrance of Buzzards Bay. The island has been connected to the mainland by a causeway for over a hundred years. The island was once home to some summer cottages. They were destroyed by the hurricanes in the 20th century and never rebuilt. The main feature are the two towers at the center of the island. They are World War II era coastal defense towers and have been long abandoned. Starting from the parking area, we passed the gate and followed the dirt road for a while. The road runs through the center of the island and is flanked by thick shrubbery. We soon reached a fork in the road. We stayed to the left and soon found a side trail on the left that led to the beach. (The right fork leads to the towers). From here we could see the Elizabeth Islands, including Cuttyhunk. Beyond the islands we could also see a glimpse of Martha’s Vineyard. We then followed the beach in a southerly direction and around the tip of the island before making our way back to a trail that leads to the towers. From the west side of the island we could see the Sakonnet Light in the distance. Along the beach we came across some geese and what I believe were some sort of plovers. We then made our way to the towers taking some photos for a bit. From here we followed the main dirt road back to the parking lot.

 

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Towers From The Beach

Towers From The Beach

Quonochontaug Beach – Westerly/Charlestown

  • Quonochontaug Barrier Beach Conservation Area
  • Spray Rock Road, Westerly, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°19’40.60″N,  71°44’58.62″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 7, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.4 miles
  • Easy beach walk.

In the 20th century, Mother Nature dictated the fate of this beach. Much like Napatree, after the two hurricanes (1938 and 1954) it was decided that rebuilding would not be allowed here. The beach, nearly two miles in length, is a pristine stretch of natural beauty wedged between the village of Weekapaug in Westerly and Quonochontaug in Charlestown. It is a barrier beach that protects a salt pond. The beach and conservation area is in fact privately owned but open to walking. Be sure to follow the rules posted on the signs. I choose the beach today partly for two reasons. First, I would be in the area for a later engagement, and secondly, after weeks of relentless snowfall I wanted to find a place where I could go without snowshoes and get my feet back on the ground. It was a fairly warm day in comparison with a slightly cold breeze, but most importantly, it was a sunny day. I could easily see Block Island to the south. The sand dunes and most of the beach was covered in nearly a foot of snow but the tides had cleared a section to walk along. I parked in the first lot just off of Spray Rock Road and found a marked path to the beach. Then I headed east to breachway. There were only a few others out enjoying the scene here. I came across several cormorants and geese as well as seagulls. After reaching the breachway, I retraced my steps back to the parking area. Parking is very limited here. Therefore, off season visits are probably the best times to come here.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Where Winter Meets Spring.

Where Winter Meets Spring.

Sakonnet Point – Little Compton

  • Sakonnet Point
  • Rhode Island Road, Little Compton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°27’47.32″N, 71°11’42.96″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 19, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Easy, mostly a beach walk.

 

Sakonnet Point is the southern most point in Little Compton. It has long sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and is a haven for birds. There are several rocky islands just off the point as well as the recently restored Sakonnet Lighthouse. On one of these islands you can see the ruins of what was once the building of the West Island Fishing Club. This club was once visited by people of tremendous wealth and power including the likes of J.P. Morgan and President Grover Cleveland. There are some restrictions to this walk however. First, parking is rather strict in the area. I had come here using a walk described in the book “Bird Walks in Rhode Island”. The book suggested parking at the Sakonnet Marina. It is clearly stated on that property that parking is for members only. So we found a spot near the intersection of Rhode Island Road and Sakonnet Point Road. Secondly, the point itself is only open to residents of Little Compton (and their guests) from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Thirdly, if you plan on walking to the end of the point you should go at low tide. I would not suggest walking to the end of the point during high tide. And lastly, only the west beach (facing the lighthouse) is currently open to the public. Although the land above is a conversation area it is off limits due to the fragile habitats of the birds. From the car, we started this walk by walking down Rhode Island Road to its dead end. Here there is a trailhead that leads to the rocky beach. After a few hundred feet a path opens up through the ocean-side shrubs. We followed this path for a bit before making our way down to the sandy beach. From here we walked to the end of the point with waves coming up on both sides. From this point we had a spectacular view of the Little Compton and Westport shoreline to the east, the rocky islands and lighthouse to the west, and the long strand of beach the makes up Sakonnet Point to the north. We came across several birds here including cardinals, goldfinches, cormorants, as well as seagulls. We then retraced our steps back to the car.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Sakonnet Light From The Point.

Sakonnet Light From The Point.

The Narrows – Narragansett

  • The Narrows/Narragansett Beach
  • Beach Street, Narragansett, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°25’59.89″N, 71°27’24.01″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 15, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Easy beach walk.

I’ve had this overwhelming desire to go to the beach lately and I happened to be up long before sunrise this morning. Perfect! Into the car and off to Narragansett. When I arrived I parked the car at the end of Ocean Road, then walked to the seawall opening to Narragansett Beach, and made my way to the oceans edge. From here I could see a few ships and the Beavertail lighthouse. The sun was still a few minutes from rising and the sky was full of pastel colors and a nearly full moon. The tide was low and beach seemed wide. There were a few others out including some walkers, surfers, kayakers, and fishermen. As the sun was rising, I walked the mile or so down the beach to an area called The Narrows . It is area where the Pettaquamscutt River flows into the ocean. It is in fact a peninsula with the river on one side and the ocean on the other. The area is home to nesting piping plovers and least terns. After spending a little time taking some photos I retraced my steps along the beach and back to the car. If you want to take in more of the area you can walk the seawall along Ocean Road. Keep in mind though, this is a very active area in the summer. Parking may be difficult to find and fees may be charged to access the beach. I suggest coming here in the off-season or very early in the day. The sunrise is always worth it!

I did not find a trail map online.

Footsteps at Sunrise

Footsteps at Sunrise

Goosewing Beach – Little Compton/Westport

  • Goosewing Beach Preserve/South Shore Beach
  • South Shore Road, Little Compton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°29’36.40″N, 71° 8’19.39″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 30, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Easy with some rocky footing.

 

There are few things better than a stroll on the beach after a long day at work, and this walk did the trick.  The beach is in pretty good shape six months after Hurricane Sandy came barreling through the area. I had stopped here about a month ago and there were still signs of the storm. The parking area now is the only area that still has signs of the storm. I parked in the small lot at the end of South Shore Road and started walking easterly through South Shore Beach before coming to the Goosewing Preserve. The preserve is a stretch of beach along with a few ponds that serve as a sanctuary to some native birds, piping plovers to name one. Just after the weather worn preserve building I turned to the left a bit and followed the edge of a roped off area to check out Quicksand Pond. Most of the dunes here are roped off to protect nesting birds. After seeing the pond I then continued walking down the beach to its rocky end which is actually in Westport, Massachusetts. From here on a clear day you can see the towers at Gooseberry Island just south of Horseneck Beach. The taller one appears to be a lighthouse, but it is in fact a military watchtower. At this point I turned around and retraced my steps back to the parking lot. Along the way I saw several piping plovers and some sea life on the beach. The view of the ocean front farm is quite spectacular when heading back.

If you would like to add an additional half mile worth of walking you should check out the nearby Marvell Preserve.

Goosewing Beach

Goosewing Beach

Where The Beach Meets The Farm

Where The Beach Meets The Farm