Posts Tagged ‘ Bird Watching ’

Remington Park – Burrillville

Wedged along a narrow parcel that was once a railway line, you will find a street hockey rink, tennis court, and a quarter mile bike path that leads to the shores of the Clear River. The path leads to a former rail crossing. This is a good spot to observe water fowl.

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Clear River

Winsor Park – Glocester

  • Byron H. Winsor Recreation Area
  • Winsor Park Road, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°52’36.13″N, 71°36’15.29″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 12, 2022
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.3 miles
  • Easy.

Working on nearly ten years of this project of trying to hike every public trail in Rhode Island will lead to some of these type of “hikes”. Yes, indeed, there is a trail here on this small recreation complex known for its soccer field, playground, and basketball court. Take a venture into the woods and you will find a peaceful quarter mile trail that loops a small pond. It is quite relaxing!

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Bridge Along The Trail.

Wunnashowatuckqut – North Smithfield/Blackstone

  • Wunnashowatuckqut
  • East Harkness Road, North Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead:  42° 0’24.59″N, 71°33’37.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 12, 2022
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, difficult at times with some hills.

Wunnashowatuckqut… What? It is Nipmuc for “where the river splits”. The Nipmuc were present on this land where the Blackstone River and Branch River meet just south of the Blackstone Gorge. And speaking of the gorge, you will get an entirely different perspective of the gorge on this hike along the lesser known trails along its western bank. For this hike, led by members of the North Smithfield Heritage Association, we followed trails through State owned properties. Being a warm day in February, the ground was frozen and quite icy in areas. The trails do become somewhat difficult in spots where you may be required to do a near climb on some of the uphill sections. The trails may also become quite muddy in spring weather. There is also no official blaze system or trail map, however, this loop can be completed following the orange marks provided by a local. With all that being said, I would not venture out onto this property without at least GPS or a general sense of direction. The other option is to follow the North Smithfield Heritage Association on Facebook and wait until they lead another hike on this property. Also be sure to wear orange as it is State property. Nonetheless, this hike is a good one, offering quite a bit to see. Starting from the bend in the road on East Harkness Road and Martha Road by utility pole 61, follow the paper street on East Harkness Road. It looks like a driveway (the one with the power lines), as it is in a sense. Soon you will see a house to the left. Continue straight and slightly uphill to continue following the paper street. It now becomes more of a cart path as it climbs slightly uphill into the former James Harkness Farm. Along this stretch you will be behind houses to the left. There will be an occasional spur trail to the left. Ignore these as they lead to private properties. Soon you will come to a trail intersection with a trail to the right. Ignore the turn and continue straight. The trail to the right is your return trail. Ahead you will notice the first of the orange marks. The trail crests the hill and starts its descent to the river. Along the way you will soon be flanked by a stone wall to the left. We saw at least a half dozen deer here. As the trail descends it is deeply rutted in areas. Be careful of your steps here. Near the bottom of the hill the trail narrows. Keep an eye out for the orange marks. You will cross another stone wall. This is the State Line and you are now entering Blackstone, Massachusetts and still descending down the hill. The narrow trail comes to a wider path. Veer slightly right here and follow the orange marks. The trail now levels and winds a bit. At the next intersection a trail to the left leads to private property and is posted. Stay right here and you will cross another stone wall. You will soon come to a large open area with a make shift fire pit near its middle. There are several spur trails leaving this open area. Stay just to the left of the pit and follow the main trail downhill. At the next split stay to the left. Still following the orange blazes you will come to another split. To the left is posted private property. Stay to the right here and the trail follows the shore of an inlet of the Blackstone River. This is a good spot to observe birds. Also there is evidence of beaver activity here. Continuing along this trail you will come to a wider trail ahead. Turn left here and in a few steps you will be on “The Other Side” on the famed Rolling Dam at Blackstone Gorge. The perspective here is quite interesting. For as many times as I have been to Blackstone Gorge, I had never step foot on the other side. This is a good spot for a break. The rest of the hike is uphill. Continue along the main trail for a few hundred feet. Turn left onto a narrower trail, once again following the orange marks. This trail climbs slightly and along the river passing mountain laurel and schist outcrops. As it winds slightly up and down hill you will get glimpses of the river and gorge below (maybe except when leaves are on the trees). You are now back in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. The trail then turns away from the river and increasingly climbs uphill. From here on out be sure to follow the orange marks and make sure your GPS is on. Soon a trail comes in from the right. Ignore it and continue straight ahead and uphill until you come to the next intersection. Take a breather! The worse of the uphill climb is now behind you. Stay right here and look for the orange mark on the tree. The trail bends slightly to the south and you will pass some boulders on the right. Slow down and pay attention here. You are looking for a right turn onto a very narrow trail that is almost non-existent. It is however marked with the orange marks (and at the time of this hike, flagging). Be sure to follow the orange marks as it is easy to drift off the trail. Here the trail climbs again slightly uphill. It soon widens a bit as it winds westward. This trail will eventually come to the trail you entered the property on. There you will turn left and retrace your steps back to the street.

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Rolling Dam from the “Other Side”

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The dam and rapids in the gorge as seen from the trail along the river.

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Orange Marks… be sure to look for the next one!!

Lloyd Center – Dartmouth

  • Lloyd Center For The Environment
  • Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°32’27.92″N, 70°58’41.36″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 30, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Fairly easy, some hills.

This privately owned nature preserve, sometimes called Lloyd Woods, is essentially an outdoor classroom complete with programs. The trails here are open to the public from dawn to dusk. For this hike, the last of the year, we made a short loop starting from the main parking area. We first followed the yellow blazed trail as it looped around to the trail. Here we turned right and followed it the blue blazed loop. Turning right here we would follow the blue blazes almost the rest of the way making a couple of detours to the waterfront via spur trails. The spurs offer sweeping views of the Slocum River and a beautiful pier. Along the way you will come upon an outdoor pavilion as well. After climbing up the hill we veered slight left through a raptor zone along the green trail then right onto the blue trail once again following to the access road. From here we followed the road back to the parking area. There are several more miles of trails to explore here.

Trail Map: Lloyd Center.

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Slocum River From The Pier

Goat Hill Lock – Uxbridge/Northbridge

  • Goat Hill Lock
  • Hartford Avenue East, Uxbridge, MA
  • Trailhead:  42° 5’50.94″N, 71°37’25.35″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 21, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Moderate, significant elevation.

Goat Hill itself can get the blood flowing as some of the trail is quite steep. The trail that runs along the bottom of the hill along the river is much easier and fairly level. For this hike, I did a loop that included climbing up and over the hill making for a moderate hike. From a small parking area along the side and across the busy road, make your way across a large open lawn to the kiosk. Beyond the kiosk and a couple hundred feet into the woods look to turn left and start the climb up the hill. The trail is blazed blue and the ascent is steady. In the winter months you will have a view of the Blackstone River to the right. On the left you will start to notice boulders up upon the hill. Soon you will see an unmarked trail to the left. Ignore it and continue ahead following the blue blazed trail. The trail plateaus briefly. There are scattered boulders throughout this area. The trail the continues uphill and becomes increasingly steeper. There are a few more spur trails in this area. Some have signs such as “PK&C”, “Bone Spur”, and “Greenway”. There appears to be a significant trail system upon the hill, but they are not shown on the trail map. Explore at your own risk. For this hike continue to follow the blue blazes. The trail crests over the top of the hill and starts a steady descent flanked by an impressive stone wall on the left. Take your time a watch your footing here as the descent can be a bit difficult. At the bottom of the hill turn right and follow the blue blazes to the next intersection. Along this stretch is a seasonal babbling brook on the left for a bit. At the next intersection turn left and down a short but steep section of trail then continue ahead to a small wooden bridge. This is the Goat Hill Lock. It once was part of the 1828 Blackstone Canal. This is a good spot for a break. From here return to the last intersection and turn left. The trail is blazed blue, fairly level, and follows the foot of the hill back to the kiosk at the entrance. Along the way you will have views of the river on the left as well as Rice City Pond. To the right there will be areas of bull briar, a haven for songbirds, and a rather significant boulder. You should wear orange here as hunting is allowed.

Trail Map: Goat Hill Lock.

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Bridge at The Lock

Shaw Farm – Sutton

Shaw Farm has several fields at its northern end but the trails are in the central and southern wooded parts of the property. From the parking area stay left of the shed. Shortly ahead is another structure. Stay to the left of that building as well and then follow the edge of a large field keeping the tree line to the right. head is an opening in the tree line. Continue through the opening into another field. Again keep the tree line to the right passing the Center Trail to the right. Ahead, turn right onto the Challenge Trail. It enters the woods and descends quickly into a valley. Ahead is a stream crossing by a stone wall. This can be a bit challenging but manageable. The trail veers uphill and to the left a bit before coming to the Fallen Oak Trail. Stay left here and continue the long steady climb to the southern end of the property. You will pass through a ravine and cross a couple streams along the way. Turn left onto the Shaw Trail next. It will take you to the highest points of the property as it skirts Central Turnpike. Next turn left onto the Center Trail for a moment then turn right onto the Hunter Trail. The trail is a little narrower but is fairly level. Next turn right onto the Laurel Trail. The aptly named trail winds through a small grove of mountain laurel before coming out to a field. Turn right then left passing through the center of the field. Ahead the trail re-enters the woods. The trail to the left follows the edge of a pond then veers left to come to the backside of the barn. Passing the barn to the right brings you back to the parking area. This hike follows a perimeter route.

Trail Map: Shaw Farm.

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Stream and Stone Wall

O’Donnell Preserve – Attleboro

This hike is a little over a mile out and back with a short loop at the end. Parking is available at Finberg Field, then walk up Bishop Street a few feet to the trail entrance. The trail winds through a canopy of mostly maples and is blazed at every intersection. Be sure to follow the arrows as other trails leave the property and dead end. At the end there is a small loop that passes a small grove of beech trees. From here continue the loop and return on the access trail back to the street.

Trail Map: O’Donnell Preserve

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The Trail at O’Donnell Preserve

Dean Mills Preserve – Stonington

  • Dean Mills Preserve
  • Jerry Browne Road, Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°21’53.28″N, 71°56’12.72″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 8, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

This is a short mile long out and back with a short loop at the end. The trail on the way in is mostly gradually uphill and the short loop is relatively flat in comparison with two small stream crossings. The trail crosses over outcrops, areas of pines, and pass stone walls.

Trail Map: Dean Mills Preserve

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The Access Trail at Dean Mills

Slocum’s River – Dartmouth

  • Slocum’s River Reserve
  • Horseneck Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°33’6.97″N, 71° 0’34.00″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 3, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

This property has a maze of unmarked trails that offer some spectacular views of the Slocum River and its wetlands. Covering most of the property will give you a hike of over 2 miles. For this hike we did the south end of the property first checking out the Amphitheater, Angelicas Overlook, and the Canoe Landing before doing the loop around a large open field which offered sweeping views. From here we toured the north via the Sam Francis Trail to Sarah’s Field to the short spur to the Grosswendt Reserve which also offers great views of the waterway and wetlands. Making our way back to the parking area we passed through the Bluebird Field. For a longer walk you could cross the road to Dartmoor Farm.

Trail Map: Slocum’s River

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Down By The River

Mackerel-Sheffield Coves – Jamestown

  • Mackerel-Sheffield Coves
  • Beavertail Road, Jamestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°29’20.82″N, 71°23’2.43″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 5, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Easy beach walk, best at low tide.

The road to Beavertail Lighthouse passes through a small strip of land flanked by the Mackerel and Sheffield Coves. A short beach walk of a half mile can be achieved here by visiting both sides of the road. Mackerel Cove to the south offers views toward the ocean while Sheffield Cove to the north offers a view of Fort Getty and the Jamestown Bridge.

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Mackerel Cove