Posts Tagged ‘ State Park ’

Spring Lake Trail – Cranston

  • Spring Lake Trail
  • Laten Knight Road, Cranston, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°44’44.41″N, 71°32’25.40″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 24, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Fairly easy, significant elevation.

 

This newly blazed trail is on an old State property. Spring Lake is part of the Curran Reservoir State Park. This State Park, however was never developed. The northern end around Curran Reservoir is open to hunting. Although the southern end is not, it is advised to wear orange during hunting season nevertheless. The trail starts at a small parking area along Laten Knight Road and descends quickly down hill. The trail at first is hard to delineate, but the wide open forest floor leaves plenty of room to get back on track. A black sign is soon visible with a white arrow below a “Spring Lake” sign. For the remainder of this hike you continue forward looking for the next sign as it makes a loop through the southern end of the property. As the trail passes the lake there is a dead end spur trail that leads along and below the dam. The engineering of the dam is quite intriguing and worth checking out if you are so inclined. Following the signs you will complete the loop, the remainder of the hike will test your stamina as you retrace your steps all uphill to the parking area.

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Trail to Spring Lake

Lloyd Demarest State Park – Dartmouth

  • Lloyd Demarest State Park/Wylde Reserve
  • Barneys Joy Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°31’21.26″N, 70°59’18.08″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 1, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
  • Fairly easy with a beach walk.

 

A little research will go a long way. Lloyd Demarest State Park is essentially a beach on the shores of Buzzards Bay with a few trails. There is an entrance fee in the summer months and in the winter months the gates are closed adding a half mile walk down the entrance road. With that being said, at the very end of Barneys Joy Road on the left is the Wylde Reserve, a Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust property. There is just enough room to park one maybe two vehicles at most here. The trail starts at the chained gated. About fifty feet into the property you will find a kiosk. What is nice about this reserve is that its an out and back trail that starts right at the road and leads into the State Park while passing Georges Pond and carpet of thick shrubs. No need to pay an entrance fee or walk along a long paved road. After crossing the boundary between the two properties (which you likely won’t notice) continue straight at all the narrow trail intersections until you reach a wider sandy cart path. Turn left here and follow the path to the parks parking area by the restrooms. Here turn right to reach the beach and then turn to the left (north) and follow the beach to the point. The rocky beach does become sandy near the point. From here retrace your steps back to the entrance of the Wylde Reserve.

 

Map can be found at: Wylde Reserve.

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Sandy Cart Path and Pitch Pines

Ninigret Beach – Charlestown

  • Ninigret Beach (East Beach)
  • East Beach Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°20’37.88″N, 71°41’22.71″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 15, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.8 miles
  • Fairly easy beach walk.

 

The beach between Blue Shutters Beach and the Charlestown Breachway is part of East Beach State Park and the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. It is a long three mile strand of beach that is not overwhelmed with humans. In the summer a fee must be paid the access the beach and parking is very limited. In the winter the beach is desolate, especially at sunrise. This day was a windless but brutally cold February morning. Hike time temperature was a sweltering 7 degrees Fahrenheit. I came here armed with cameras to catch the sunrise, multiple layers of clothes, but mostly to find solitude to clear the mind. Success! I arrived at the small parking area before sunrise and made my way to the beach. To the east I could see the beacon of the Point Judith Light. To the south I could see the lights of Block Island twinkling. Along the horizon between them, the glows of pink, magenta, fuchsia, and orange setting the sky up for a spectacular sunrise. I turned to the east and followed the empty beach for a few miles. At 6:42 AM, just as scheduled, the piercing light of the sun broke the horizon. The beach suddenly a glow of of the colors in the sky. In the distance I could make out my destination, a dark shadow strip of the breachway stretching into the ocean. As the sun rose into the sky the beach came to life with sea birds. The waves broke gently and peacefully.  I spent only a few minutes at the breachway before retracing my steps back to the parking area. This walk is exactly what was needed. I did not run into a single soul! Also as a side-note, I was still cold when I ordered my breakfast sandwich at Sophie’s (in Exeter) a little while later.

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Winter Sunrise

Cross Town Trail – Groton

  • Groton Cross Town Trail
  • Depot Road, Groton, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°20’8.29″N, 72° 1’58.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 2, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate with some hills and rugged areas. Navigation can be difficult in areas.

 

The town of Groton offers a trail that connects several properties while it traverses quite literally cross town. The trail, six miles in total one way, starts at Bluff Point State Park, winds through Haley Farm State Park, meanders through the Mortimer Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest before coming to a half mile of road walking, climbs through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands, and finally to Town’s End Preserve. Starting at the parking area for Bluff Point, the trail starts to the left by the composting toilets. Follow the main path ahead through areas of ledge, pass a gate and you will soon be parallel to the Amtrak tracks. To the right are some spectacular views of the upper reaches of Mumford Cove. The trail then veers slightly to the right and uphill. At the top of the hill turn left at the wooden steps and left again to cross the bridge. After crossing the bridge you have entered Haley Farm State Park. Just ahead is a gate to the right. Take the turn here, pass the gate and follow this trail. Following this trail will lead you to the main parking area for Haley Farm. Along the way you pass several small boulders and old farm stone walls before the trail turns into a stone dust path. A massive, and quite impressive stone wall will be to your left before coming to the open field just before the parking area. The trail continues to the left (north side of the parking area), however, though not technically part of the Cross Town Trail, it is well worth checking out while here. At the composting toilet is an opening at the wall. Follow the trail here and straight at the next intersection. The trail then turns to the left and back southerly. This small additional stretch is grass mowed through a field with an abundance of birds and thickets of berries and sumac. At the next intersection, continue pass the grass mowed trail to the left, pass the wood post with remains of a gate, and turn right following the trail slightly uphill flanked by a stone wall on the right. At the end of the stone wall there is a narrow trail on the right. Take this trail and follow it first through a cedar grove before passing a few stone walls. There is a trail split ahead just as a catch a glimpse of a pond. Stay to the right here and continue to follow the trail over a few boardwalks and pass Gibson Pond before exiting the State Park at Groton Long Point Road. It does not seem that blazes for the Cross Town Trail were allowed on State Property. At the time of this hike orange dots were observed at several points along the way. They were helpful, however it is very advisable to use GPS (particularly through State lands) in the event you may need to backtrack. Good news! The remainder of the trail is blazed blue through all of the remaining properties and there are trail maps at all the major intersections. Just be sure to keep an eye from blaze to blaze to assure you are on the right trail. Continuing ahead across Groton Long Point Road and slightly to the right you will come to the first blue blaze at Mortimer Wright Preserve. The trail winds up and down hill for the next couple miles passing beech groves, several stone walls, “frog crossings”, an esker and moraine, and streams as it passes the Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest. This stretch is absolutely beautiful and is well populated by deer, songbirds, and squirrels. The next half mile is road walking, crossing Fishtown Road, turning onto and following to the end of Rhonda Drive, right onto Farmstead Avenue, then right onto Judson Avenue. After Somersett Drive (on the left) start looking for the trailhead at Beebe Pond Park on the right. Follow the blue blazed trail once again through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands. This stretch can be a little rugged with rocky and root bound trails, so it is advisable to watch your step while walking and stop to take in the scenery. On the way out of the Beebe Pond Park is a massive stone wall to the right. It looks as it might have been part of a mill or dam. The trail then comes out to 850 Noank Road. This is a good spot for a second vehicle if you are going to car spot this hike. The Cross Town Trail then continues by turning left and following Noank Road for a couple hundred feet and the turning right at the gated Town Ends Preserve. The trail then ends about a tenth of mile into the preserve at Beebe Cove.

 

Map can be found at: Cross Town Trail.

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Mumford Cove at Bluff Point.

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Autumn at Merritt Family Forest

Massasoit South – Taunton

  • Massasoit State Park South
  • Bearhole Road, Taunton, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°51’56.43″N, 70°59’15.91″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 21, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation.

 

I had come out to Massasoit State Park to start hiking the system of blazed trails. I was prepared to do the blue loop trail at the southern end of the park when I stumbled upon a major obstacle. Sections of the blue loop were closed due to construction. Already committed to a good portion of the loop I backtracked and did the remainder of the open loop before exploring a few of the side trails in the southwestern part of the park. I was informed by a member of the construction crew that the trail would likely be re-opened in a month or so. Nonetheless, the trails that I did explore were rather quiet covered in pine needles and led to several of the parks ponds. The park itself is quite stunning and well maintained and offers a seasonal campground as well. I will be back in the summer to update this blog.

 

Map can be found at: Massasoit South

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Big Bearhole Pond

Stoddard Hill – Ledyard

  • Stoddard Hill State Park
  • Connecticut Route 12, Ledyard, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°27’34.60″N, 72° 3’50.40″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

This small State Park along the Thames River offers a towering ledge of boulders and a historic cemetery. There is a boat ramp here at the cove and small network of trails. The main trail, unblazed, climbs slightly uphill at first then follows the bank that overlooks the river and railroad below. The trail winds to the left of the ledge slowly going uphill and eventually dead ending near private property. Retracing your steps back a bit you find a trail to the left that leads to the cemetery of the Stoddard Family. Graves here date back to the 1800’s and members of the family fought in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. There is a trail to the south that leads back to the main trail, downhill, and to the parking area

 

Map can be found at: Stoddard Hill

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Historic Stoddard Family Cemetery with Ledge Behind It.

Bluff Point – Groton

  • Bluff Point State Park And Coastal Reserve
  • Depot Road, Groton, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°20’8.76″N, 72° 2’0.90″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 14, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.6 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

Bluff Point State Park once made the CNN list of the 50 states natural wonders. Surprisingly enough, even though it has been on the to do list for quite a while, it took me a few years to finally venture down here to check it out. Groton is a long drive to most Rhode Islanders. Pack a lunch, make a daytrip out of it, get out of Rhode Island once in a while! This place is worth the drive. The park offers well defined trails and signage where needed. The trails are used by walkers, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed. Starting just after sunrise from the seemingly large and nearly empty parking lot at the end of Depot Road we started following the wide gravel road trail just beyond the informational signs. The trail soon splits about one tenth of a mile into the park. Stay to the right here and continue along the main trail that follows the Poquonnock River. You then follow this trail for 1.3 miles until you reach Bushy Point Beach ignoring spur trails both narrow and wide. Along the way there are several spots that overlook the river and features in the distance. Across the river is the bustling Groton-New London Airport. There are views of the peninsulas and points that jut out into the river as well as the lighthouses further in the distance. The Avery Point Lighthouse at the University of Connecticut Avery Point campus is visible as well as the haunted New London Ledge Light. The trail also winds gently up and down small hills flanked by towering trees and passes some areas of marsh and wetlands. There are an abundance of birds here as well. Great blue herons, egrets, cormorants, hawks, robins, cardinals, and woodpeckers were all spotted on this hike. When we reached the beach we explored it for a few minutes. The beach itself extends westward for nearly a mile, but we only ventured in the area around the entrance. The beach is closed in areas during nesting season of least terns and piping plovers. Dogs and horses are not allowed on the beach between April and August. Back to the main trail we climbed up the small hill of the bluff. There are several spur trails to the edge of the bluff and the rocky beach below. The rocky shoreline makes for a good photograph and was also being used by a couple fishermen. Looking to the south you can see Fishers Island from here. Back on the main trail, it starts to wind to the east and then to the north passing Sunset Rock on the left before winding to a cellar hole at a trail intersection. The spot is well marked with a sign that explains that this was once the Winthrop Homestead, the former Connecticut Governor. After lingering at the cellar hole for a bit we decided to follow the less traveled trail to Mumford Cove. There is a sign here indicating which trail to follow. This trail winds downhill through an area of scattered boulders, tall trees, and a seasonal brook before coming to the cove. There are a couple spots along the trail to take a peek at the cove and rest your legs if you so choose. Continuing, now heading north, the trail becomes more of a grass road. There is a large wooded hill to the left and areas of thickets and shrubbery to the right. The trail soon ends at a gravel road that runs from Haley Farm to the parking area where this hike started. Turning left here, follow the gravel road to the large parking area where the car is park. The lot was nearly full when finished the hike. Bluff Point is a very popular recreation spot.

 

Map can be found at: Bluff Point.

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Boulder at Bluff Point

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Trail Flanked By Trees