Posts Tagged ‘ Dams ’

West Hill Dam – Uxbridge/Northbridge

  • West Hill Dam
  • Hartford Avenue East, Uxbridge, MA
  • Trailhead:  42° 6’12.84″N, 71°36’30.60″W
  • First Time Hiked: December 19, 2017
  • Last Time Hiked: July 7, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation.

 

In 1955, Hurricane Diane caused extensive flooding particularly along the Blackstone River including the city of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. In 1960, the West Hill Dam was completed and almost immediately tested by Hurricane Donna. The cities and towns downstream did not flood. The dam and the property around the dam is owned and maintained by the United States Corp of Army Engineers. The property is open to passive recreation such as swimming, picnicking, and hiking. There are three blazed trails on the property. The orange blazed Woodland Trail encompasses almost the entire property. A yellow blazed Grassland Trail meanders through the southwestern section of the property. Lastly the green blazed West River Trail loops in the center of the property. For this hike we started from the parking lot at the southern Access Road off of Hartford Avenue East. Walking north along the road we soon came to a kiosk warning of hunting season. Blaze orange is required here from October to January when hiking. Turning left we started to follow the gravel road that is blazed with orange diamond markers. The road is slightly raised above the surrounding terrain for a bit. At the intersection, turn to the right and continue to follow the orange blazes. The trail, still following a road, winds through a grove of hemlocks and is flanked by small ponds. Soon you will start seeing stone walls and a large granite bollard with a “N” carved in one side and an “U” carved in the other. This is the town line marker between Uxbridge and Northbridge. Shortly thereafter the orange blazed trail meets with the yellow blazed trail. For this short stretch follow the yellow blazes. The orange blazed trail runs parallel on the other side of the wall but the views are better along the yellow trail. To your right is a sweeping view of a small valley and the grasslands that the West River passes through. The yellow blazed trail soon splits to the right, stay left and pick up the orange blazed trail once again. Next there is a fairly large cellar hole on the left. Soon after that you will come to a road. Stay to the right here and follow the road to a parking lot on the left. By the kiosk is the beginning of the green blazed trail. This trail is about a half mile long and winds up and down hills as it loops through the forest of pines between a pond and the West River. There are several spur trails in this area, however, the green blazes are abundant and easy to follow. At the top of one of the hills is a bench to take a break. There are several bird feeders below that attract birds such as titmouse, nuthatch, and chickadees. Taking a moment to take in the sights we could also hear woodpeckers in the distance. Continuing along the green trail we soon came to the road once again. Turning left, we crossed a bridge over the West River. Along the road on the right is the Harrington Pool Picnic Area. There is a fee in the summer to swim and picnic here. After passing through the parking lot stay to the right of the information kiosk and follow the orange blazes once again. At the next split, stay to the right again following the orange blazes. The trail soon turns to the south and slowly climbs uphill as it winds through more forest. There is an occasional seasonal brook along the way and several large boulders. Soon the trail comes to the massive earthen dam. The walk across the top of the dam offers another sweeping view of the valley below. At the other end of the dam a small bridge crosses the West River nearly fifty feet below in a gorge. From here follow the access road back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: West Hill Dam.

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View From Upon The Dam

Wakefield Pond – Burrillville/Thompson

  • Wakefield Pond
  • Wakefield Road, Burrillville, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°58’15.94″N,71°47’51.77″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 21, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Moderate due to footing and some elevation.

 

Wakefield Pond is often overlooked as it lies between some of the more predominate recreational areas. The Buck Hill Management Area to the north, the George Washington Management Area to the south, and the Quaddick State Forest to the west often overshadow this area. The pond is flanked to the west by a Boy Scout Camp and the northeast by a couple dozen homes. This hike is an out and back that follows dirt roads. Starting from the corner of Wakefield Road where it bends onto Croff Road there is a dirt road that heads to the east. Almost immediately you will come upon a historical cemetery on the left. The road then starts to descend downhill, into Thompson, to a four way intersection. Along the way there are a few trails to the left. Notice the “No Trespassing” signs, this is the land of the Boy Scouts. When you have reached to intersection turn left. This is Wakefield Pond Road and it heads south through the Quaddick State Forest for a bit before coming to more Boy Scout property. There is a long steady stretch of uphill walking here. After the top of the hill you will see a cellar hole on the right with an old shed behind it. The road then descends downhill once again and curves to the left heading back into Burrillville after crossing Blackmore Brook. In the distance to the left you will see the stonework of the stone and earthen dam that holds the water in Wakefield Pond. There is a trail to the left that leads to a wooden bridge and dam. This is private property. Continue ahead for a view of the pond. Next there is a road to the right that leads to Peck Pond. For this hike continue straight along the road. At the one and a half mile mark, just as the pond starts to turn away from the pond, there is a nice little spot with a sweeping view of the pond. From here retrace your steps back to the beginning of the hike. The roads that you follow for this hike are rather rocky, some loose in many spots. Beware of your footing.

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Fall Colors By The Pond.

Round Top – Burrillville

  • Round Top Management Area
  • Brook Road, Burrillville, RI
  • Trailhead: 42° 0’7.11″N, 71°41’47.90″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 7, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

One of the smallest management areas in the state is mostly know for its fishing ponds. There are, however, a small network of trails on the property. For this hike I started at the parking area along Brook Road and made my way to the pond. I followed first the southern edge, then the western edge of the pond along the grassy area around the pond. Ahead is a trail that leads into the woods and comes to the next pond with a dam and waterfall. The trail then follows the edge of the pond a bit and then climbs uphill before turning to the right. From there it comes to a dirt service road with piles of sand and gravel. Follow the road and it leads you back to the parking area.

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Fall at Round Top

Centennial Park – North Smithfield

  • Centennial Park
  • Main Street, North Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°59’57.02″N, 71°34’53.21″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 1, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.3 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation.

 

Part of the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park, Centennial Park offers a tour of yesteryear. The small park is behind the North Smithfield Library on Main Street in the heart of historic Slatersville. This village is the first planned mill village in the United States. The short single out and back trail first leads you down to the shore of the Slatersville Reservoir where you can view two of the three dams at the park. The dams here were built in the mid nineteenth century. Continuing along the trail the Branch River is below to your right and a manmade canal is to the left. This canal is where most of the western mill complex was. The large stone structure across the canal is one of two buildings remaining of the original mill complex. This structure is the picker house. The other remaining structure is the building now used by the library. The trail ends at the next dam just before a stone bridge. This is where the canal dumps back into the Branch River. From here retrace your steps back to the parking area. Also, if you care to wander around, check out the village. There is a ton of history here.

 

Historic map can be found at: Centennial Park

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Slatersville Reservoir

Cat Hollow – Killingly

  • Cat Hollow Park
  • Cat Hollow Road, Killingly, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°50’0.49″N, 71°52’27.03″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 10, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

This small park along Whetstone Brook Reservoir has a half mile road that is closed to traffic. There are a few narrow side trails that lead to some of the park’s features such as an old trolley bridge and the ruins of a mill. The highlight of the park is the stone dam and waterfall that tower of the brook below. To get to the spot to view the waterfall follow the road to the picnic area. After passing the picnic area turn left on the trail that follows the brook to the dam.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Cat Hollow

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Dam and Waterfall At Cat Hollow.

White Mill Park – Burrillville

 

This small town park sits on the site of a former mill. In fact two mills. The first occupied this location from 1834 to 1892 when it burnt down. A second mill was built and was here until the 1970’s. Today the property features the old dam with its waterfall that creates a small reflective reservoir. A pedestrian footbridge crosses the Clear River to the wooded portion of the property. There are a handful of trails beyond the bridge. There is also a playground here.

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The Bridge At White Mill Park

 

Breakheart Brook – Exeter

  • Breakheart Brook/Tripp Trail
  • Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°34’36.85″N, 71°42’21.23″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 5, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.6 miles
  • Fairly easy, some muddy areas.

 

This hike has it all! It follows some of the lesser used trails in the Arcadia Management Area that parallel some of the most used. While the John B. Hudson and Shelter Trails are heavily used, I decided to use the Tripp Trail, The Baton Trail, and an unnamed and stunningly beautiful trail along Breakheart Brook. This hike also visits two landmarks of Arcadia being Breakheart Pond and Frosty Hollow Pond. We started from the small parking area at the trailhead for the Tripp Trail at Ten Rod Road. The trail is an old dirt road the heads north into Arcadia. Almost immediately you will find a cellar hole and stone walls. Just ahead is a rather large vernal pool and mountain laurel starts to appear along the trail under the tall pines. There are a couple narrow spur trails along this stretch. Ignore them and continue straight. Soon you will reach and intersection with another dirt road to the left at about 3/4 of a mile into the hike. This is the Baton Trail and we would return on it. There is a sign on a tree here with an arrow directing toward Frosty Hollow. Continuing straight along Tripp Trail, we soon came upon the intersecting John B. Hudson Trail. It is blazed yellow. In fact it uses a short portion of the Tripp Trail. Continue straight here staying on the old dirt road. After a couple hundred feet the yellow blazes soon turn to the left and the old dirt road continues straight. Still continue straight. The trail soon to start slightly downhill before coming to its end. To the right is a small brook worth checking out before turning left onto Austin Farm Road. The road descends slightly downhill and soon the Breakheart Trail appears to the right. From here we continued straight to the dam and waterfall at Breakheart Pond. After crossing the bridge we stayed to the left on the dirt road briefly before turning left onto a very narrow path along the brook. The trail, unmarked and officially unnamed, follows Breakheart Brook for about 3/4 of a mile. It is one of the best stretches of trail in Rhode Island. The brook has several small rapids and waterfalls. The narrow trail, flanked by mountain laurel traverses along the bank and offers stunning views of the brook. Be sure to bring your camera. The trail climbs slightly uphill just as the brook turns to the left. After going up the hill, take the trail to the right. The trail to the left dead ends. The trail to the right soon bends to the left and passes another vernal pool before coming to Frosty Hollow Road. Turn left here and cross the bridge the crosses over Breakheart Brook. After crossing the bridge we turned left to the trailhead of the Baton Trail. But first we took a peek at Frosty Hollow Pond. The small kettle hole pond is known to be a great trout fishing spot. Today there was a thin layer of ice on it. Just after passing the gate at the Baton Trail, the white blazed, well known and well used Shelter Trail appears to the left. We continued straight and followed the Baton Trail to its end back at the Tripp Trail. Here we turned right and retraced our steps along the Tripp Trail back to the parking area.

 

For hikes in this area I would suggest obtaining a copy of the Great Swamp Press Map of the Arcadia Management Area.

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Breakheart Brook and the trail that follows it.