- Underwoods Pond – George Washington Management Area
- Olney Keach Road, Burrillville, RI
- Trailhead: 41°57’10.13″N, 71°44’46.02″W
- Last Time Hiked: January 14, 2017
- Approximate distance hiked: 2.9 miles
The roads less traveled, literally. The George Washington Management Area is known for its miles and miles of hiking trails, but in the extreme eastern section of the area are the roads less traveled. For this hike we ventured out to complete a loop of the gravel roads behind Grace Note Farm and a quick visit to a lesser known pond. The first challenge of this hike was parking as there is no designated parking spots. The spot I chose is about three tenths of a mile along Olney Keach Road, a very bumpy and rocky road, at the intersection of the Richardson Trail. There is a small spot here to pull over and park. If you choose to park either here or along Jackson Schoolhouse Road be sure not to block any of the intersections and stay well to the edge of the road. From our parking spot we hiked southerly along Olney Keach Road passing the first of many small babbling brooks. The rocky dirt road then climbed uphill before coming to an intersection. Here we turned right onto Ross Trail. Soon we passed a red gate and entered the management area. We passed some more small streams and brooks before coming to an open sandy area. Continue ahead and the trail becomes more defined. Soon another intersection appears. The trail to the right leads to the Richardson Trail. Continue ahead here and the trail will turn to the south and climb up and over two impressive hills before ending. Near the top of the hills are areas of low ground cover and shrubs ideal for birds. In fact, we caught a glimpse of a woodpecker near the end of the Ross Trail. If you were to turn right at the end of the trail you would soon cross the orange blazed Walkabout Trail, but for this hike turn left and follow the Center Trail east to its intersection with Olney Keach Road. Along the way you will pass more small streams and a boulder field to the right. When reaching Olney Keach Road stay to the right for now. The road to your left you will use to get back to the car, but first you will want to see Underwoods Pond. Following Olney Keach Road south for a few hundred yards you will soon come upon a small wood bridge and a deep freshwater pond to the right. This spot makes for a good break as the sound of running water over a small dam makes for a soothing sound. From here retrace your steps north along the road and continuing straight along Olney Keach Road. You will notice a house to the right. This is private property and please respect that. The friendly owner did greet us though and told us to enjoy ourselves on our hike. Next we passed the Ross Trail on the left made our way downhill and back to the car. There are no hiking blazes along these trails, but there are several markers on trees and flagging presumably from horse back riders from the nearby Grace Note Farm, hunters, and cyclists. Hunting is allowed here so orange clothing is required during hunting season. It is advisable to use GPS while hiking in this area.
Trail map can be found at: Underwoods Pond