Posts Tagged ‘ Nature Walks ’

Tucker Woods Preserve – Charlestown

  • Tucker Woods Preserve
  • Alton Carolina Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°27’2.07″N, 71°40’16.74″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 18, 2022
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

One of the newest trails opened to the public, Tucker Woods, once farmland, is now permanently protected by the Charlestown Conservation Commission. Starting from a new parking area along Alton Carolina Road follow the blue blazed trail into the property. The trail first passes by an open field with sporadic pitch pines before moving into the wooded area shaded by a canopy of oak. The trail widens to an old cart path. You will pass the yellow trail on the right. Continue ahead for now. The forest floor is covered in fern in some spots and there is a rather large hill on the left (future to top of hill is planned). You will pass the other end of the yellow trail, still continue ahead to the end of the blue trail. It splits and makes a loop. Continue ahead and uphill. The trail turns sharply to the right and follows a stone wall before turning again completing the loop. From here stay left and retrace your steps back to the yellow trail (now on your left). Turning onto the yellow trail, start looking for a spur on the left. This leads to a sitting area by a babbling brook with a small “waterfall”. The other side of the brook is part of the Carter Preserve. Making your way back to the yellow trail, turn left, and follow it to its end. The trail winds along the side of a hill for a bit before cutting its way back to the blue trail. At the blue trail turn left and retrace your steps back to the parking area. Trail map is at the kiosk and should be online in the future.

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Along The Yellow Trail

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.

Woodward Forest – Norton

This is a nice property tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac is on a peninsula flanked by the Wading River and the Three Mile River. The trails are blazed with multiple colors. For this hike we had done most of the red loop before moving north along the blue blazed trail making our way to the shores of the Wading River. From here we followed the river back and made our way back to the red trail before exiting the property. The property offers vernal pools and glacial erratic as well as views of the rivers. We did come across deer during our hike.

Trail Map: Woodward Forest.

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Deer Spotted at Woodward

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

Moshassuck River Preserve – Lincoln

  • Moshassuck River Preserve/MacColl YMCA
  • Sherman Avenue, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°54’52.26″N, 71°26’32.76″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 24, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Moderate.

The newest of the publicly open Nature Conservancy properties, Moshassuck River Preserve catapults to the top of the list of trails in Rhode Island you must hike. The property offers two blazed loops, a historic cemetery, old stone dam, a ridgeline, boulder field, a vernal pool, several stream crossings, and the Moshassuck River itself. The trails traverse over the property known once Camp Conklin, a former Boy Scout property, and the abutting property of the MacColl YMCA. For this three mile hike start at the parking area at the bend in Sherman Avenue at the Fairlawn Golf Course. There is a sign here indicating the entrance to the hiking trails. First you will pass the open lawn of the golf course on the left before coming to a river crossing. This is your first glance of the Moshassuck. To the right is an old stone dam. The craftsmanship of the stone work is quite impressive. Next your will bear to the left. There will be a large boulder on the hill to the right. Make note of this boulder as you will need it later in the hike to find the access trail to the parking area. After bearing to the left you will notice the first of the blue blazes. Shortly on the left is the Hayden Memorial, placed here when this was a Boy Scout property. From here you will begin to slightly climb uphill. Turn left at the intersection with the yellow blazes and continue to climb uphill. Soon you will reach the top of a ridgeline with a great view of the forest below. Continuing ahead the rail goes downhill quickly first bending to the left and then to the right. You come to the first of several stream crossings here. This crossing is fairly easy as the placement of stones make for a good crossing. Just ahead on the left is a historic cemetery. The grave markers are small and scattered throughout the area. Next you will come to a significant stream crossing. The Nature Conservancy has plans to build stream and river crossings where needed, but for now choose your stones to make the crossing. The trail now winds through a boulder field before entering onto the YMCA property. The narrow trail comes to a dirt road. Continue straight ahead and follow the dirt road. It bends to the right over a culvert, narrows a bit and climbs uphill. Look for the turn to the right onto a narrow (yellow blazed) trail near the top of the hill. After making the turn the trail dips downhill through an area of boulders, crosses a bridge, then climbs uphill once again and comes to a stone wall. Follow the wall keeping it to your right ignoring side trails through the wall. The trail then bends to the right back onto Nature Conservancy property, descends to a muddy stream crossing. It was in this area we came upon a rather fearless deer. It was well aware of our presence but did not seem to fear us. The trail then climbs uphill passing more scattered boulders. Soon we passed the white blazed trail to the right and shortly after that turned left onto the blue blazed trail. The blue loop winds through the northern part of the property. First passing another small area of boulders the trail climbs up and down several small hills, crosses another small stream, and passes what appears to be a manmade well or spring on the left. The trail from here climbs significantly uphill to the highest reaches of the property before making a turn to the right and descending for quite a while. Keep an eye to the left for a vernal pool. Approaching the bottom of the hill you will come to a stone wall and private property to the left. With a slight turn to the right the Moshassuck River is now to your left. The trail then turns first to the right, then to the left, winding around private property, before rejoining the river briefly once again. A small bridge crossing is just ahead and then you will enter another small boulder field with the river on the left once again. This is a great spot to sit and listen to the water trickle by. The trail then climbs slightly uphill as the river winds away from the trail. Look for a large boulder on the left balancing on a significantly smaller stone. This is the boulder you observed when you entered the property. Just after the boulder turn left and follow the access trail pass the old stone dam back to the parking area.

Trail Map: Moshassuck River.

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Trail Along The Moshassuck River

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

Coogan Farm – Stonington

  • Coogan Farm
  • Greenmanville Avenue, Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°22’0.89″N, 71°57’43.95″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 8, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

Part of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Coogan Farm sits on the western end of the property. This hike starting at the farmhouse and art center first follows a dirt road into the property up to a storage building. Pass the building and bear right. The trail, blazed blue, steadily climbs up hill at first flanked by stone walls. There will be a few trails that bear to the left. Continue to follow the blue blazes. The trail eventually comes to and follows power lines. When you get to the intersection of power lines look for the purple blazed trail. There will be a sign here directing you to the Stillman Mansion. This trail is much narrower and climbs back uphill passes stone walls and boulders before coming to the foundation of the mansion that was never completed. Take some time here as the structure is quite interesting. From here at the opposite end of the foundation follow the trail slightly downhill and turn right. There will be a large pavilion in the field. Following the grass mowed trail do a short loop keeping to the left into the orchard. Turn left here and follow the connector trail downhill to an opening in the stone wall. From here continue straight downhill and back to the storage building. Here turn right and retrace your steps back to the parking area.

Trail Map: Coogan Farm

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Signage at Coogan Farm

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