Posts Tagged ‘ State Management Areas ’

Grass Pond East – Richmond

  • Grass Pond East
  • Ellen Brady Drive, Richmond, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°29’18.02″N, 71°38’9.94″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 19, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.1 miles
  • Moderate due to hill.

 

In 2014, I had ventured into the Nature Conservancy’s Grass Pond property and followed the yellow blazed trail. Since then, the D.E.M. portion of the property has been blazed with a blue loop trail. This blue loop trail is accessible from the cul-de-sac at the end of Ellen Brady Drive. After passing the trail-head sign stay to the right and follow the blue blaze trail as it bends slightly to the left passing a couple stone walls. Ahead is an intersection with blue blazes both to the left and ahead. Continue ahead here, the trail turns to the left once again (passing a “Beware of Dog” sign) and then turns to the right starting a long steady uphill climb to the top of Wilbur Hill. The trail is flanked by stone walls most of the way. After passing over the crest of the hill is another intersection. The trail ahead continues onto the Nature Conservancy portion of Grass Pond. Turn left here and continue to follow the blue blazes. The trail winds through a forest covered in ferns, pass tall shrubs, over a boardwalk before coming to a long section of downward trail to finish the loop of over just a mile.

 

Map can be found at: Grass Pond East

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Along the Blue Blazed Trail Climbing Wilbur Hill

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Sapowet Marsh – Tiverton

  • Sapowet Marsh Managment Area
  • Sapowet Avenue, Tiverton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°34’56.51″N, 71°12’33.63″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 4, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.8 miles
  • Fairly easy, rocky beach walk.

 

Just by the bridge on the west side of Sapowet Avenue is a parking area for the small beach of the Sapowet Marsh Management Area. This small and rocky beach leads to Sapowet Point that overlooks the Sakonnet River. On the interior of the point are small pools of water and the marsh. At low tide there is more land to explore. Locals and fisherman frequent the area often and the scenery is perfect for a photographer. You will also find a very high concentration of fiddler crabs scurrying along the shore out by the point. Being a management area, hunting is allowed. Be sure to wear orange blaze during hunting season.

 

Map of the management area can be found at: Sapowet Marsh.

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Sapowet Marsh

Wahaneeta/Woody Hill – Westerly

  • Wahaneeta Preserve/Woody Hill Management Area
  • Moorehouse Road, Westerly, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°21’59.84″N, 71°45’34.04″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.1 miles
  • Moderate.

 

Splendid! This hike of just over five miles is on two adjacent properties. The Wahaneeta Preserve is owned by the Westerly Land Trust. It was once a girl scout camp and today is open to the public with a very well blazed network of trails. The bordering state owned Woody Hill Management Area is stunningly beautiful in its own right. The trails and dirt roads here are for the most part not blazed so using a GPS device and a reliable map are highly recommendable. For this hike, myself and fellow hiker Auntie Beak followed, for the most part, a friends track that he had done recently. Starting from the parking area off of Moorehouse Road we first followed the road up to the lodge before venturing onto the blue trail. This trail heads east following a stone wall before looping back toward the west. We then turned right at the white trail, crossed a small boardwalk before coming to a split in the trail. Here we stayed to the right following the white trail. Ahead is a sign for Shady Shelter. To the left there is a short yellow blazed trail that leads to a quite impressive overlook of a valley below. Be very cautious along the top of this ledge. From here we retraced our steps back to the white trail, turned left, and continued to follow it to the next split. Here we stayed to the right now following white blazes with a black dot. This is the perimeter trail and it follows a stone wall that serves as the property line between the preserve and land owned by the Narragansett Indian Tribe. Soon we crossed another boardwalk and passed an area of ferns before coming to a massive sweet black birch tree. The tree is a champion and there is a sign here explaining its significance. After passin the tree the trail bends to the left before coming to the next trail intersection. We turned right here at the opening in the stone wall onto an unmarked trail. At this point we were entering the Woody Hill Management Area. Next we came upon a cellar hole on the left. Opposite the cellar hole is the beginning of a blue dot blazed trail that we followed. This trail heads east first passing an old homestead. Here there is a couple cellar holes, a series of stone walls, and a well that is right along the trail. Be cautious not to fall into the well when the ground is covered by leaves or snow. Continuing along the blue dot trail we soon crossed another stream before coming to another stone wall to the right. The property on the other side is that of the Narragansett Indian Tribe once again. The next section of the trail is flanked in a ground cover known as club moss. The trail then soon comes out to a dirt road where we turned right. We then followed the stone covered dirt road for a bit soon coming to a four way intersection where we turned left onto another dirt road. We followed this road continuing straight at the next four way intersection. The road then curved to the left at the next intersection where we stayed to the left. Soon a pond becomes visible to the left. There are several narrow trails to the right. Be sure to stay on the main trail that follows the pond. We then came to an earthen dam with the pond to the left and a swamp to the right. Part of the dam appears to have been washed out and this will likely be impassable during a wet or rainy season. At the time of this hike it was passable. After crossing the dam the trail turns left following the shore before turning right and into the woods once again. This part of the hike leaves the management area briefly and is actually on land owned by the Town of Westerly. The trail climbs up and over a small hill and then narrows. Staying to the left the trail then passes an arm of the pond as it approaches a large rock outcrop. The trail then turns to the left. Start looking for a stone wall. Once you pass it, turn left again. This trail will lead you to the next intersection where we turned right onto a wider trail. This trail leads you back into the management area. Stay on this trail ignoring the few narrow side trails. When we approached the next intersection we turned left. We then followed this trail for a bit until we came to the “H” intersection. Here we stayed to the right and then turned immediately left onto a fine gravel road with a stone wall along its right edge. As this road starts to turn left and uphill we turned right onto a narrower trail opposite an old maple tree. This trail is grass covered and first crosses a stream. Soon the trail is flanked on both sides with stone walls. The trail soon bends to the right and becomes significantly narrower for a few hundred feet before widening again into a wider grass lane. Soon the trail comes to a wide stone wall flanked road where we turned left. You will see a gate ahead. After passing the gate we found ourselves on Fern Road, a paved road in a residential neighborhood. We then turned left onto a trail after Blossom Court opposite pole number 52. The trail is rather narrow at first passing through areas of mountain laurel. Continuing straight we then crossed another small stream before climbing uphill a bit and passing a couple stone walls. Soon after the second wall there is a pile of quarried stones. Soon we came to the cellar hole opposite the blue dot trail once again. From here we continued straight back into the Wahaneeta Preserve. At the next intersection we continued straight on the old dirt road crossing the white trail twice. At the second crossing we turned left onto the white trail following a manmade ridge before coming to a wood bridge by the pond. Immediately after the pond the trail veers to the left passing an old fireplace before emerging into a meadow. From here several trails meet including a trail back up to the lodge and a dirt road back to the parking area. Before leaving though, we decided to follow the orange trail a few hundred feet, then right onto the yellow trail to check out an old chimney. From here we retraced our steps back to the meadow and made our way to the parking area. Both the preserve and the management area are open to hunting. Wearing orange is a must during hunting season.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Wahaneeta and Woody Hill

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Road at Woody Hill

 

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

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.

Pratt Farm – Exeter/Richmond

 

I first came upon Pratt Farm in an old Ken Weber book. After a four mile hike in the area I decided to come here and check out the farm. The book had a hike that covered both the farm and a large loop over Bald Hill. I had previously hiked Bald Hill a year and a half ago and always meant to come here to cover the rest. The hike has three very distinctively different portions to it. Starting from a parking area at the bend of Summit Road, I followed the road to the east for about three tenths of a mile. The road is very secluded and very often will not have any traffic. To the right is a gate with a trail behind it. It is highly suggestible to use GPS and/or have a copy of the Great Swamp Press map of Arcadia. The best way to describe this section is to continue straight through the vast forest of young pines until you get to the hill. And what a hill it is… Using both feet and occasionally a hand for balance, I climbed the hill. At the top of the hill I turned right. The trail starts downhill and becomes almost undistinguishable at points. Near the bottom of the hill the trail turns to the left and you will notice a clearing. Popping out from the woods you are now in a large open field. It is quite surprising the contrast of one landscape to another. And this field is just stunning. Another of Rhode Islands best kept secrets. Here I turned right and followed the grass covered farm road over the next hill and back out to the parking area. There is also a beautiful New England style stone wall here and the remnants of an old barn built into the hill. Here I came across folks walking their dogs and a couple of horseback riders. If you want to check out the fields only then reverse the direction of the hike.

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Farm Field

Breakheart Hill – Exeter/West Greenwich

 

This hike covers some of the lesser used trails in the Arcadia Management Area. It is a rather lonely hike. The hike has some significant ups and downs and footing is a little unstable in areas. But there is unexplained beauty in this area, there are several stream crossings and the sound of the trickling water and wind through the tall pines can be a little settling. It is secluded. It was the hike I needed to take at this moment in time. Starting from a small parking area along Ten Rod Road I started my trek into the woods first following the Bliven Trail. The first four tenths of a mile are uphill and will increase you heart rate. The trail, an old road, then descends downhill coming to the first stream crossing. At the time of this hike it was flowing at a decent rate. Another trail soon appears on the left just after the stream. I would return on that trail. For now, continue straight, passing a gate. There is a house ahead to the right and what appears to be a driveway ahead. This is in fact the beginning of Breakheart Hill Road. After passing the stable on the right you are now back on an old dirt road. It is slightly narrower than the Bliven Trail and again I was heading uphill. Soon you will notice a pipe (painted orange at the time of this hike) on the right. This is a property marker and is just about where the trail enters West Greenwich. Continuing ahead you will notice some boulders to the left. At the row of boulders turn left and just beyond them is the beginning of the Newman Trail. At this point you are just about at the top of Breakheart Hill. It was here I saw a chipmunk. It seem as fast as she appeared, she disappeared. Continuing down downhill, the trail becomes quite challenging for footing. Be sure to exercise caution here. When the trail reaches the bottom of the hill stay to the left. The trail is now blazed yellow. It is part of the longer Breakheart Trail that reaches into the depths of the management area. Following the yellow blazes you will see Breakheart Pond through the trees to the right and soon thereafter you will come upon a small waterfall on the left. The trail then curves to the right. A trail appears on the left, you want to turn here. (If you want a view of the pond continue straight for a few hundred feet). After making the turn left the trail, which is part of Austin Farm Road, you will notice some interesting stone walls flanking the trail. After gradually climbing uphill you will come to another stream crossing. Shortly thereafter, turn right and retrace your steps back over the hill to the car.

 

 

Trail map can be found at: Breakheart Hill.

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Along Austin Farm Road

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