Posts Tagged ‘ Scenic Lookouts ’

Narragansett Trail West/Lantern Hill – North Stonington

  • Narragansett Trail West – Lantern Hill
  • Wintechog Hill Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°28’0.82″N, 71°56’44.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Difficult to Strenuous With Some Climbing.

 

The Narragansett Trail runs from Lantern Hill in North Stonington, Connecticut to Ashville Pond in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. Unfortunately, the trail is closed in some sections and has become non-continuous. At the moment there are three separate sections that can be hiked. The western most portion climbs over Lantern Hill just southeast of the Foxwoods Casino complex. Starting from a makeshift parking area (with no signage) along Wintechog Hill Road the light blue blazed trail immediately begins to climb the hill following an old cartpath. After a couple hundred feet the trail levels off for a bit before coming to a red blazed Lantern Hill Loop Trail. Be sure to be aware of the blue blazes of the Narragansett Trail when you approach trail intersections. You will want to follow them and not the red blazes for this hike. The Narragansett Trail then starts to steadily climb the hill once again. The inclines are quite impressive at times. The trail first overlooks the Pequot Reservation to the north and west offering views of the casino and Lantern Hill Pond below. The trail then climbs over the summit to a stunning overlook with miles and miles of sights to the east and south. Clear days will offer a view of the Atlantic Ocean to the south. It is also interesting to see the hawks and vultures soaring through the sky sometimes below you. Use extreme caution along the edges here as a fall would surely be fatal. Also here on the first day of Spring the Westerly Morris Men climb the hill for their annual sunrise dance at the summit. The hill got its name from the War of 1812 as the hill was used as a lookout. When the British were spotted approaching, barrels of tar were ignited to warn nearby residents. After spending some time at the summit continue following the blue blazed trail as it winds, at times steeply, down the hill. There is one section, that we dubbed the Lemon Squeeze, that will challenge your footing, balance, and upper body strength. The trail then traverses the south side of the hill passing through groves of mountain laurel before coming out to the North Stonington Transfer Station. Again, be sure to pay attention to blazes and turns at intersections. After the Dog Pound the trail turns to the left through the transfer station and out to the road. At this point you have hiked 1.4 miles of the Narragansett Trail. The trail continues ahead, however it is closed (from Wintechog Hill Road to Route 2) at the moment because of logging. For this hike turn left and follow Wintechog Hill Road back to the parking area.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Narragansett Trail West

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The View At The Top Of Lantern Hill.

Block Island Greenway – New Shoreham

  • Block Island Greenway
  • Water Street, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°10’24.56″N, 71°33’27.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 25, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 9.0 miles
  • Difficult to strenuous due to distance, hills, and navigation.

 

The Block Island Greenway stretches from the Great Salt Cove through Rodman’s Hollow to Payne Farm traversing over some of the highest points on the island. There are several loops and side trails that make up the Greenway as well. For this hike, which starts at the ferry dock, 6 miles of the Greenway is covered as well as three miles of road walking to get to and from the Greenway trails. From the ferry, head to the road (Water Street), and turn right. You will pass several small shops and restaurants in the New England picturesque village. Note the National Hotel and the Surf Hotel, two sprawling wooden structures. The street then turns to the left and becomes Dodge Street. At the next intersection you want to continue straight onto Harbor Road. The road to the right (Corn Neck Road) leads to the northern end of the island. Soon you will be passing by some of the iconic Block Island watering holes, Poor Peoples Pub and Captain Nick’s. On the right you will catch a few glimpses of Harbor Pond before coming to the next intersection. Turn right onto Beach Road and then almost immediately left onto Ocean Avenue. After going downhill a bit you will catch a glimpse of the southernmost end of the Great Salt Cove to the right. Payne’s Donuts will be on the right just before you need to turn left onto West Side Road. Climbing up hill slightly, you will pass several fields encased in stone walls. On some days you may be greeted by cows. The road then splits. Stay to the left here and proceed along Legion Way. To the right is the American Legion hall. After passing the hall, cross the street and enter Island Cemetery. Follow the grass path up the hill of the cemetery to the dirt road. Turn right and then left to follow the road along the edge of the cemetery. Take your time here in the cemetery. There are several very old graves to check out and some very prominent names of the islands history including Payne and Champlin. After following the dirt road stay straight along the edge of the stone wall. Soon you will see a set of wooden stairs, known as a stile, that cross over a stone wall. You are now entering the Greenway at the Harrison Loop. The trail to the right, less than two tenths of a mile, is the extreme northern end of the Block Island Greenway. After crossing the stile turn left and follow the shrub and tree flanked, grass mown foot path. After crossing a driveway the trail continues to wind through the woods another half mile before coming to another dirt road. Follow the road ahead a few feet then turn right into a driveway. The Greenway continues to the right of a fence in garden with a “chef” in it. The trail then crosses a stone wall and turns right. After crossing the stone wall turn around and take a peek at the sign on the tree. The folks here on the island do have a sense of humor. The trail then zigzags another three tenths of a mile to Beacon Hill Road passing on the left a sprawling farm with horse, donkeys, and chickens. You will likely be greeted by them as you pass by. Beware of the fence though! After passing Beacon Hill Road, continue to follow the main trail ignoring side trails. The Greenway climbs uphill into Nathan Mott Park, Turnip Farm, and the Loffredo Preserve. A trail to the left, with stairs, is currently closed. Continue straight to a large open field. At the top of the hill you have sweeping views to the east of the airport and Old Harbor in the distance. Continue straight along the main trail keeping a large house to your left. When you reach a gate there is a trail to the right. Turn onto it and follow it. It loops back around and slightly uphill. Then turn left onto the next trail. This trail zigzags a bit as it heads west. At the next trail stay to the left. The trail soon passes another large open field before coming out to Old Mill Road. Three hundred feet after crossing the road you will find a bench along the trail. From here you can see Montauk Point 15 miles away. Montauk is the eastern end of Long Island, New York. On clear days you may be able to see the lighthouse that sits on the tip of the island. The Greenway trail then continues south to Cooneymus Road passing more open fields and crossing another stone wall. After crossing the road the trail winds into the entrance of Rodman’s Hollow. Turn right onto the dirt road known as Black Rock Road. It gently descends downhill pass rolling hills of wildflowers. Continuing straight and ignoring side trails you will see the ocean. At the end of the road the trail turns to the left and slightly uphill. There are two spots to take in the beautiful scenery of the southern shore of the island. The second spot, known as Tom’s Point, offers a bench to sit and rest. Be aware of the edge of the bluffs here. They are very steep and a fall will almost guarantee an injury if not more. After a break continue to follow the trail. It comes to a dirt road where you will want to turn right. In about four hundred feet or so look for a trail on the left and turn onto it. This trail winds through Rodman’s Hollow passing several shrubs including shadbush, which is spectacular when in bloom in May. A trail appears on the left, continue straight to the next intersection and stay to the right. The trail then drops down into the hollow before coming to the next intersection. There is a small sign here indicating the trail to Fresh Pond. Take a quick break here. The trail ahead can be downright strenuous to some. Though the section is short, less than a quarter mile, the elevation quickly climbs nearly one hundred and thirty feet. The trail then comes to a dirt road. Stop and take a breather! You will notice a granite post with directions. Follow the road north a few hundred feet and you will soon be back on a trail the leads through Peckham Farm and into the Fresh Pond Preserve. There is a short spur trail to the right along the way that climbs uphill for a view of the area.  After passing through Peckham Farm the trail passes a stone wall and turn lefts into a grass field. It continues downhill towards the trees then loops to the right and down almost to the shore of the Fresh Pond. Just before the pond is a trail to the left that leads over a small wooden bridge, briskly uphill, and then along a stone wall flanked field that overlooks the pond. The trail then comes to Lakeside Drive where you will turn right to follow the road. About two tenths of a mile ahead and to the left you will find another stile over a stone wall. Climb over it and continue to follow the trail, the Payne Farm Trail, as it winds through thick brush and open fields first through the Fresh Swamp Preserve before winding through Payne Farm and Sands Farm. The fields are covered in wildflowers and attract several bees and butterflies. At the end of the trail turn left onto Payne Road. This is the end of the actual Greenway. The remainder of the hike follows roads back to Old Harbor. Payne Road soon bends to the right passing the islands medical center and school. Turn left onto High Street and follow it as it winds down into town passing several homes along the way. Turn left onto Water Street and the ferry dock will be on the right. It is highly recommended that you obtain a copy of the trail map, and book as well, from the Nature Conservancy before taking on this hike. Though the island is only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide, taking wrong turns could add miles to your trek. Also, the island is very hilly. Be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

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Signage Along The Greenway

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Rodmans Hollow With September Goldenrod.

Mount Misery – Voluntown

  • Mount Misery – Pachaug State Forest
  • Cutoff Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°35’36.73″N, 71°52’3.15″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 9, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Moderate.

This out and back hike, short in mileage, traverses over two hills in the Pachaug State Forest. At the top of the second hill, the 441 foot Mount Misery, is a rather impressive overlook. Starting from a parking area near the entrance of the Rhododendron Sanctuary, first follow the light blue blazes of the Nehantic Trail along Cutoff Road west towards the open gate. After passing the gate you will see a “Smokey the Bear” sign on the left. The blue blazed trail enters the forest here. The trail first meanders through an area of young pines covering the forest floor. Above are the older, towering pines. The trail then begins it climb up the first hill. After cresting the first hill the trail descends into a small valley where a boardwalk crosses a seasonal stream. Shortly after the boardwalks the trail climbs Mount Misery. At the top of the hill to the left is the overlook. This overlook looks east over the forest towards Rhode Island. Along the trail at the top of the hill you will also find a benchmark disk. The Nehantic Trail continues ahead a short distance to another parking area. After enjoying the view retrace your steps back to the parking area. Visiting the Rhododendron Sanctuary also adds an additional half mile to this hike.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Mount Misery

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View From Mount Misery.

Rodman’s Hollow – New Shoreham

  • Rodman’s Hollow
  • Cooneymus Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’35.37″N, 71°35’28.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 15, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Moderate with some significant elevation.

 

One of the most famed spots on Block Island for hikers is Rodman’s Hollow and Rodman’s Hollow at sunrise is a spectacular place to be. Being the first to step foot into the property as the sun was rising I had the opportunity to see quite a bit of wildlife. Starting from the parking lot I made my way south following a dirt road (Black Rock Road) straight to just about the ocean passing a wooden gate with a turnstile and a metal gate, both on the left. The road winds through slight valleys with rolling hills and meadows on each side. There are also several stone walls along this stretch. It was along here I ran into a few white tailed deer. I also came across what I believe might have been pheasants or turkeys. I did not get a good look at them as they flew away after we startled each other. At the end of the road I turned left and followed it to the east. Soon there was another road to the left. I continued straight climbing slightly uphill to reach Tom’s Point. Here is a bench atop a hill that overlooks the surrounding area and ocean. Take some time to sit at and take it the almost inexplicable beauty of the coast. After taking a few moments I continued to follow the path along an open field. Soon it came to a road and I turned right. After following the road for a bit a trail appears on the left. Turn here. The trail leads you north towards the hollow. At the next intersection stay to your right and right again at the next intersection. From here the trail drops deep into the hollow. In mid-May this area is flanked by shadbush that is in full bloom. At the next trail intersection stay to the left following the Rodmans Hollow Loop. Soon you will be passing a stone wall with several of the shadbushes by it. They have a very distinct trunk. After climbing uphill a bit turn right at the next intersection. This will lead you to the turnstile. From here turn right and retrace your steps back to the car.

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Overlooking Rodmans Hollow

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Fields and Stonewalls

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The Coast Looking East From Rodmans Hollow

Block Island Southwest – New Shoreham

  • Block Island Southwest
  • Dickens Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’30.42″N, 71°36’9.67″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

Miles from the ferry landings in town, this portion of the island is rarely visited by the everyday tourist. The two properties that make up part of this hike are in nearly pristine condition. The trailhead is unmarked and is in fact at the end of an unnamed road. Turn onto Dickens Road off of Cooneymus Road and follow it south. At the intersection Dickens Road turns to the right. There is a trail to the left. Continue straight passing a house on the right and to the top of the hill. There is just enough room for one car. Across the field to the east is an opening in the stone wall. This is the trailhead. The trail immediately climbs uphill into the Win Dodge Preserve before coming to a trail intersection at the top of the hill. Here I turned right and followed the trail as it winded back downhill. At the next two intersections I stayed to the right. Soon I came to the first of two stone walls with weathered wooden stairs over them. After the second set I turned left following Dickens Road until I reached the trailhead for the Lewis Dickens Farm property owned by the Audubon Society. From here I followed the trail as it winded through fields on rolling hills. (A local who I met compared this part of the island to that of Ireland or Newfoundland). At the end of the trail is a Memorial Rock and just beyond that a towering bluff that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Exercise extreme caution along this edge. From here I retraced my steps back to Dickens Road passing the weathered stairs over the stone wall that I had came in on. I continued to follow the road to the intersection and then continued straight onto a trail that would lead me back uphill and passing several cellar holes and foundations. At the next intersection I turned right and followed the trail back to the car.

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Dickens Trail

Mohegan Bluffs – New Shoreham

  • Mohegan Bluffs – Payne Overlook
  • Mohegan Trail, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’11.07″N, 71°33’18.53″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Moderate to difficult.

 

A short, but grueling one mile walk to one of the most picturesque locations on the eastern seaboard. The bluffs here are where the glaciers ended craving out these 180 foot drops to the beach below. A top the bluffs is the historic Southeast Light built in 1875. The bluffs got there name from a 16th century Native American battle in which a tribe of Manisseans (locals) drove an invading force of 40 Mohegans over the bluffs to their deaths. This is not an easy trek. Starting from the parking area at Payne Overlook, I followed the short path that leads to the stairs. I then followed the approximately 150 stairs down to a viewing platform about 3/4 of the way down the bluffs. From here I scaled down the steep incline to the beach. From this vantage point the bluffs are amazingly massive. I walked the beach in each direction for a bit before returning back up the base of the bluff and stairs. From here I walked back to the parking area and out to the road. Turning right I followed the road several hundred feet to the entrance of the lighthouse grounds. I wandered around the grounds briefly, taking several photos of the historic light, before returning back to the car parked back at Payne Overlook. Though a short walk/hike, it is without a doubt a must see.

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Mohegan Bluffs, showing the Payne Overlook Stairs and the Southeast Light. (Note the people on the beach for perspective)

Block Island North – New Shoreham

  • Block Island North
  • Corn Neck Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°12’48.58″N, 71°34’1.12″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate with areas of difficulty.

 

Block Island is 14 miles off the Rhode Island mainland coast. It is a bustling resort town in the summer months and host to only about 1000 folks during the brutal New England winters. New Shoreham (the one and only town on the island) is in fact the smallest town in Rhode Island by both area and “year round” population. Conservation on the island has been outstanding. Over 43% of the island is under some sort of conservation protection by several different organizations. For this hike, I covered a large portion of the northern end of the island. Parking at the Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve entrance, I first made my way toward Middle Pond following the main trail in the Hodge Preserve. The trail is grass mowed that traverses up and over several rolling hills of meadows before ending at the shore of Middle Pond. Along the trail there are sweeping views over the pond and Block Island Sound including the North Light at the tip of the island. From here I retraced my steps back to the parking area opting to follow the spur loop trails. Once back out to Corn Neck Road I turned right and followed the road south until I came to Clay Head Trail (just after the red house, number 728). The road, marked with a post, is a dirt road that leads to the parking area for the Clay Head Nature Trail. There are several private roads off of this road. Be sure to continue straight until you reach the trail head. From here the trail winds narrowly over meadow covered hills and wooded areas before reaching boardwalks near the Clay Head Swamp on the right. Shortly after the swamp the trail turns abruptly to the left and starts to climb upward, but first check out the beach and the massive clay bluffs. Continuing the trail climbs uphill and parallels the bluffs occasionally popping out to the edge. Exercise extreme caution along the edges. The views of Block Island Sound are quite impressive from the top of the bluffs. The trail passes through areas of shrubs and trees, with an abundance of birds, passing two small ponds to the left. There are also several spur trails to the left that lead into “The Maze”. If you opt to explore be sure to have a GPS device with you. For this hike, I followed the Clay Head Trail to its end. At the four way intersection, continue straight. Shortly thereafter the trail comes to a dirt road. Following the road to north you soon come to an intersection, turn left here and follow the road out to the paved Corn Neck Road. Turning right I followed the road to its end at Settlers Rock passing Sachem Pond on the left. The rock is a memorial to the original settlers and purchasers of the island back in 1661. From here the walking gets tough. If the hills of Clay Head have not already done a number on your muscles, the sands of the beach will. From Settlers Rock to the iconic North Light and back is all beach walking in soft sand through the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. It is well worth the walk though. The light, built in 1867, is now owned by the town and is home to a museum (open seasonably). At the time of this hike I came upon several nesting seagulls. After spending a little time here I made my way back to Settlers Rock and then southerly along Corn Neck Road. On the left at a stone wall you will see a set of wooden stairs. If you opt to, this is the Atwood Overlook. From the top of the hill you can look back towards the North Light. A little further up the road on the right is the Labyrinth, again the entrance is a set of wood stairs over a stone wall. This unique spot is a somewhat spiral path, similar to a maze, but with no dead ends, that leads to the center. It is said to be sacred. After spending a few moments here, I made my way back to the road continuing south back to the Hodge Preserve parking area. I came across an abundance of birds along this 6 mile trek and ran into a few fellow hikers.

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Meadow at Hodge Preserve

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Clay Head Bluffs

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Block Island North Light