- Bates Loop Trail – Tillinghast Pond Management Area
- Plain Meeting House Road, West Greenwich, RI
- Trailhead: 41°38’20.97″N, 71°44’42.38″W
- Last Time Hiked: January 3, 2016
- Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
- Fairly easy with some slight elevation.
The newest addition to the Tillinghast Pond Management Area is the Bates Loop Trail. The trail opened late in 2015 and loops around the southern end of the property. Starting from the Hell’s Gate trail-head, the red blazes lead you through a short section of woods before crossing Plain Meeting House Road. From here you pass a cellar hole then turn behind the remains of what appears to be a barn. This is the Bates Family Homestead. The trail then splits. Here we continued straight following the red blazed trail as it gently climbed up and over small hills. The area is strewn will stone walls and boulders, oddly shaped at that, as we passed through groves of white pine with an occasional pitch pine. Near the eastern end of the property we came across a pile of stones before coming to Phillips Brook. To the right is the double red blazed crossover trail that follows the brook. We would explore that later. For now, we crossed the bridge and continued to follow the single red blazes through a beech grove and then onto an old road. Along the road there is signage indicating that you are along the University of Rhode Islands property. After a short trek along the road the red blazes turn to the right back into the woods, downhill a bit, following a stone wall for a short section, before coming to a dam. There is a small pond to the left and Phillips Brook is to the right. Just after the footbridge, we turned right to explore the quarter mile crossover trail. This short stretch is another of Rhode Islands beauties. There are a series of small waterfalls and cascades along the trail. After following the crossover trail to its end we retraced our steps back to the dam, then continued straight following the single blazed trail once again. The trail led us through another pine grove with towering trees before returning us back to the Bates Homestead. From here we retraced our steps back to the parking area.
Trail map can be found at: Bates Loop Trail.