Posts Tagged ‘ Nature Walks ’

Pine Hill Point – Portsmouth

  • Pine Hill Point
  • Neck Farm Road, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°38’11.54″N, 71°20’18.77″W (2.5 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 30, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

This is a beautiful network of grass mowed fields that lead you to the bay. Starting from a small parking area along Neck Farm Road you will follow the Pine Hill Trail south for about a tenth of a mile. Turn right at the first intersection and follow the trail slightly uphill. The trail here is flanked by trees and overgrown fields full of wildflowers and buzzing insects. The trail soon turns to the left passing through a fairly large meadow. At the next intersection continue straight and you will soon be turning to the left again onto a trail aptly named Seaside Way. You will catch glimpses of the bay through the trees here. When you reach the Pine Hill Trail continue straight and the trail will lead you downhill to Jenny’s Pond on the left and the beach on the right. From the beach you have views of the Jamestown Bridge and the Newport Bridge as well as Quonset. In Jenny’s Pond you are likely to see seabirds including egrets. From here retrace your steps to the Pine Hill Trail, turn right and follow it back to the parking area.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services.

 

Trail map can be found at: Pine Hill Point.

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Trail at Pine Hill Point

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Desert Trail – Portsmouth

  • Desert Trail
  • Narragansett Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’29.07″N, 71°19’6.76″W (1 mile from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 28, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.9 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

One of the newest trails cut by the Prudence Conservancy climbs uphill from Narragansett Avenue into an area once known as the Desert. This one mile area, previously used for farming, lost its topsoil over the years from erosion. Now the Desert offers pitch pine and scrub oak trees among the stone walls of the old farm. The trail is just under a half mile in length and ends at the Deer Chase Run. The trail is blazed with cactus signs.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services.

 

Trail map not on-line yet. Can be purchased at the NBNERR Lab and Learning Center at South Prudence.

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Stone Wall Along The Desert Trail

Prudence North – Portsmouth

  • Prudence North
  • Neck Farm Road, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°38’30.76″N, 71°20’44.46″W (3 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 28, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.2 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Just north from the famed abandoned Garland Mansion is the trail head to the Providence Point Trail. There is a small area on the right just before the gate to park a vehicle. The trail and subsequent beach walk to Providence Point, the northern most point on the island is just a little over two miles long. If you were to also add the side trails to this hike the mileage in total would increase to about six miles. The land here at the northern end of the island is part of the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Starting from the gate and heading north you will immediately find yourself on an old road that is covered with grass in most areas. The road is mowed often enough, but stay out of the areas of taller grass. Birds and berries are abundant here, especially the familiar call of the catbird. Black raspberry, wine berry, and bayberry are all along this 2 mile stretch. At the first intersection there are signs for Long Point Trail and Schoolhouse Trail. Long Point trail to the left would lead you at to the peninsula between Coogeshall Cove and Sheep Pen Cove. The Schoolhouse Trail to the right would lead you to Potters Cove. For this hike continue straight. On the right in the dense shrubs are the remains of an old schoolhouse. Soon you will see Coogeshall Cove on the left and its large marsh. Keep an eye out for egrets here. Beyond the cove you will catch a glimpse of Patience Island. Beyond the cove there are some unmarked trails that intersect the main trail, continue ahead and the trail starts to climb uphill before coming to the next intersection with signs. On the left is the Postal Ferry Trail that would lead you to the narrow channel between Prudence and Patience Islands. On the right is the Bear Point Trail that leads you to the East Passage just north of Bear Point. The intersection is the site of the North End Farm, long abandoned. All that remains are several cellar holes with an occasional interpretive sign. There was a barn, a house, and several other smaller buildings here, and the area with a lack of trees was the farm. Again be aware of the tall grass here. Continuing ahead along the Providence Point Trail you will pass some more shrubs and trees such as honeysuckle and crabapples. You will also pass a large stone wall on the right. At the end of the trail a narrow path leads you to the seashell beach strewed with sea lavender. Staying to your left will lead you to the point. From this perspective you can see the Warwick Neck Light, the Aldrich Mansion, Rocky Point, Conimicut Light, Colt State Park, and the Providence skyline eleven miles away. From here turn around and retrace your steps back to the parking area. To add extra mileage to the hike explore to side trails. This area tends to be very buggy particularly in the summer. It is advised to wear mosquito netting for this hike. Also ticks are very prevalent in this area. Be sure to check for them quite thoroughly, stay on the trails and out of the tall grass.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services.

 

Map can be found at: Prudence North

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The Beach to Providence Point

Brown House Glen Farm Trail – Portsmouth

  • Brown House Glen Farm Trail
  • Linden Lane, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°33’17.53″N, 71°15’3.56″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 12, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
  • Fairly easy, some small hills.

 

At the extreme northerly end of the Sakonnet Greenway on Linden Lane there are two kiosks. One is for the Greenway itself and the other is for the lesser known Brown House Glen Farm Trail. The route follows mostly roads and tree lines and is not overly defined. There are some trail markers, but they are far between. The walk itself covers some quite beautiful and historical property. Starting from the parking area directly across from the northerly terminus of the Greenway, walk east down the paved and aptly named Linden Lane. The narrow paved road is flanked by stone walls under a canopy of linden trees. To the right are the fields of the Newport Polo Grounds. At the intersection, continue straight passing an old house, known as the Red Cross House, on the left. The house was occupied by the farm superintendent and during World War II volunteers rolled bandages here. Continuing straight the road is now dirt, crosses a small brook, and bends to the right before coming to Glen Farm Road. Turn left here and follow the paved road to its end, passing a few residences along the way. Turn right onto Glen Road and almost immediately on the right is the path to the wooden footbridge. After crossing the bridge stay to your right and follow the tree line keeping the recreation areas to your left. Soon you will came to some old farm structures. Stay to the right here then continue to follow the tree line southerly, then easterly, before turning northerly making your way around a hilly field with a sheep shed in the middle. Soon you will come the kiosk at the far end of the trail. From here, turn left and follow the tree line (and power lines) up the hill back to the farm structures. From here continue straight retracing your steps back to the footbridge and Glen Farm Road. On the way back turn right at utility pole 11 and follow the dirt road into the barn area of the farm. This area is still active so use caution while exploring the area. Some of the buildings (not in use) are literally crumbling here and others are used for horses. The stone barns date back to the early 1900’s. The road then turns to the left passing an indoor rink to the left before coming to the Red Cross House once again. Turn right here and follow Linden Lane back to the parking area.

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Glen Farm

Freetown North – Freetown

  • Freetown North – Freetown/Fall River State Forest
  • Slab Bridge Road, Freetown, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°46’40.01″N, 71° 2’29.59″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 30, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Three and a half years ago I ventured into the southern part of the Freetown State Forest to do a hike. It was a cold and icy day in mid December of 2014. I finally made my way back to explore some of the trails in the northern part of the forest. This hike, early in the morning to beat the heat, made for a very sweaty adventure on a very warm and humid morning. Starting from the main parking area off of Slab Bridge Road we made our way up the entrance road back to the fire barn and then turned left onto the dirt trail named Payne Road. We followed this road passing a CCC watering hole on the right. Shortly after the watering hole and again on the right we came upon a blue blaze on a trail marker. We turned right here and followed the narrow and winding Massasoit Trail. This trail is rocky and rooted in areas and crosses a small stream. We followed the trail to its end then turned left on to Hathaway Road. There are several side trails off the main roads here but the remainder of the hike is on old forest roads. At the next major intersection of forest roads we continued straight staying on Hathaway Road passing two more watering holes. We also observed along this stretch mosquito traps that are used to test the pests for West Nile Virus and EEE. At the next major intersection we turned right onto Makepeace Road and followed it past the intersecting orange trail before going over a slight hill. Just over that hill we turned left onto the Bent Rim Trail which is marked with a sign. For the remainder of this hike we continued straight ahead followed the Bent Rim Trail as it winded through the forest ignoring all side paths and roads until we reached a trail on the left just before the gate at Slab Bridge Road. This trail leads you back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Freetown North

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Old Forest Roads

Capwell Mill Pond – West Greenwich

  • Capwell Mill Pond – Big River Management Area
  • Burnt Sawmill Road, West Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°38’39.57″N, 71°36’27.08″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some difficult navigation.

 

This is yet another beautiful hike in the Big River Management Area. The trails here are numerous, unmarked, and can be difficult to navigate. With that being said, it is not advisable to do this hike without a reliable map, an understanding how to read it, a sense of direction, and absolutely be sure to use GPS tracking in the case you need to back track. This hike starts from a small parking area along Burnt Swamp Road before the gate by the Capwell Mill Pond Dam. It is about three tenths of a mile from Nooseneck Hill Road. After passing the gate you will see the dam on the left. Shortly after the dam follow the narrow trail to the left. It climbs slightly uphill into a grass field before winding into the tall pines. Soon a trail comes in from the right. Stay to the left here and you will cross a bridge. The view, overlooking a tributary of the pond is quite pleasant. After the bridge the trail splits, continue straight. The trail slowly climbs uphill through a lush forest of pines. Be aware of your trail intersections for this walk. At the next trail intersection continue straight again following the main trail. You will continue to climb slightly uphill. This section of trail can be quite wet after a heavy rain. You will soon pass a stone wall. Just after the wall is a narrow path to the left. Ignore it for this hike and continue ahead. You will soon pass a second stone wall and then the trail winds a bit before coming to a large boulder at a trail intersection. This is about the one mile mark. Ignore the trail to left and continue straight on the main trail as it starts to bend to the right. Slow down and start looking for the next trail intersection about one tenth of a mile after the large boulder. As the trail starts to turn to the right by a mossy rock with a tree growing on it there is a trail on the left. It is narrow, but defined enough to be noticed. Turn left here and follow the trail as it starts downhill. Soon the trail ends at another well defined trail. There will be a white blaze on the tree at the intersection. Turn left here. In a few yards you will come to another intersection with a tree blazed white. You will want to continue straight, but first follow the trail to the right to the bridge crossing the stream called Mud Bottom Brook. The slight detour is well worth it. Take a moment here. The babbling brook drowns out all other nearby sounds and you are out in the middle of nowhere nearly a mile from any civilization. Return up the hill to the tree with the white blazes and turn right. After making the turn and following the trail you will pass a stone wall on the left. The stone wall then flanks the trail to the right for a bit before the trail starts to descend downhill leaving the stone wall behind. The trail then starts its slight bend to the left passing a boulder in the middle of the trail. The boulder is a good reference point and is just the right height to sit for a moment and take in the nature around you. From here the trail continues downhill and bending to the left. You will start getting your first glimpses of the pond through the trees on the right. Passing another stone wall the trail splits. They rejoin in a few yards where the trail splits yet again. At this split stay to the right. There is also some mountain laurel scattered around in the area. Continuing ahead the pond is still to the right through the trees and there is another stone wall on the left. The trail turns to the left crossing the stone wall and then to the right meandering to and from the pond. A trail soon comes in from the left, stay to the right and continue to the end of the trail. Turn right and you will cross the bridge overlooking the tributary of the pond once again. Just after the bridge turn right onto the trail that will lead you back to the dam and parking area. Blaze orange is required during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Capwell Mill Pond (Map 1), (Map 2).

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Pines, Stone Walls, And The Pond.

Noquochoke – Westport

 

Another short, beautiful hike in Westport. The Noquochoke Conservation Area, part of a former Boy Scout camp, offers about three quarters of a mile worth of trails through some truly impressive and tall pine groves. The property includes several stone walls and an operating well from days past. The trails, though not blazed, are well marked with signs at intersections.

 

Map can be found at: Noquochoke.

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Sunlight Through The Tall White Pines

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