- Lower Ten Mile River
- Daggett Avenue, Pawtucket, RI
- Trailhead: 41°53’6.76″N, 71°20’43.05″W
- Last Time Hiked: March 20, 2016
- Approximate distance hiked: 10 miles
- Moderate due to distance.
This hike explores the highlights of the lower Ten Mile River from Pawtucket, through East Providence, and into Seekonk. The route of this hike, ironically enough, is about 10 miles and is partly on a bike path, paved neighborhood roads, and trails. It is a one way hike and requires a car-spot. Starting at Doreen Tomlinson Field on Daggett Avenue in Pawtucket, you start this walk by first following the northern most part of the Ten Mile River Greenway Bike Path. The bike path, flanked by post and rail fence, follows the river for a little over three quarters of a mile before coming to Armistice Boulevard. Here, you will see a small dam and waterfall. After crossing the boulevard you are in Slater Park. Soon you will see the one mile marker. Shortly after the marker the bike path makes an abrupt curve to the right and back to the left again. At this point to the right and across the road you can see a pond. A loop around the pond is about a half mile if you choose. In December you will find several Christmas trees decorated here. Just before crossing the road and to the right is the Slater Park Carousel and at the far end of the pond is a bandstand. After you complete the loop of the pond return to the bike path and continue south. To your left the river runs through an area that looks like a canal. These walls were built during the 1930’s by the Works Progress Administration. The bike path then continues south leaving Slater Park, passing under railroad tracks, and soon the first large body of water on the left appears. This is Central Pond and it will remain on your left to the end of the bike path. The southern portion of the bike path crosses into East Providence passing through an old rifle range and former Water Department property before reaching Kimberly Rock Field. Here you want to turn right into the parking lot. A couple hundred feet ahead and on the left is a clearing and a short trail that leads to the adjacent residential neighborhood. The next six tenths of a mile of this hike is on roads. At the end of the trail turn left onto Wildwood Avenue, then right onto Redland Avenue. To the left you can still see Central Pond through the yards. At the end of Redland Avenue, turn left onto Bishop Avenue, and then left once again onto Newman Avenue (Route 152). Be careful here, as traffic is relatively heavy. When you reach Central Pond cross Newman Avenue. The body of water south of Newman Avenue is the Turner Reservoir. You will notice a trailhead just to the right of the reservoir. This is part of the Turner Reservoir Loop Trail. This section of trail follows the shore of the reservoir on one side and the back of a subdivision, with a post and rail fence along the property line, on the other. Soon the trail passes the subdivision and enters a small wooded area. There is a short unmarked trail to the right here that will lead you into the Bridgham Farm Conservation Area. Take it, at the end of the trail turn right and follow that trail to its end. It will come out to a cul-de-sac of the subdivision you just passed. To the left you will notice two things. First, a very large oak tree, said to be over 400 year old known as the Newman Oak. and second, just over the rooftop of the nearby house, you will catch a glimpse of the old windmill that was part of the old farm. After viewing the historic tree and windmill retrace your steps, but instead of turning left back to the reservoir, continue straight. The trail will lead you out to a large open field. This area is what part of the farm was conserved during the 1990’s. Continue straight through the grass field. The trail will slightly turn to the left and lead through the trees back out to the reservoir. Turn right here and follow the earthen embankment towards the Turner Dam. This dam was built in the 1930’s to create the Turner Reservoir as a drinking supply for the City of East Providence. It was used as the primary water supply until the late 1960’s. Continuing you will see a trail to your south that again follows the river. This short stretch of trail will lead you to the parking area along Pleasant Street (Route 114A). From here you want to turn right, then cross the street, and then turn left onto Hunts Mills Road. There is a split in the road, stay left. You will pass the first of two houses on the property. The house is currently boarded up and has seen better days, but there are plans to restore it. The second house, however, is a stunningly beautiful Georgian style home built in the second half of the 1700’s. This is the John Hunt House and it is the current home of the East Providence Historical Society. Just to the right of the house is a gazebo and just to the right of the gazebo is a post with a red trail marker. This is the beginning of the three quarter mile Hunts Mills Trail. The trail first cuts across the north side of the property passing a rather significant sycamore tree before reaching the Ten Mile River once again. Along this stretch there are two rock outcrops to view the river. The first, is somewhat high above the river, is known as Sunset Rock. The second, is by the rivers edge, is known as Otter Rock and received its name by multiple sightings of the river mammal. When the river is running low in the summer months you may catch a glimpse of turn of the century inscriptions on the rock. Continuing to follow the red blazes, you will find yourself in an area that seems abandoned. This is the former Fire Department training grounds. Here there are a couple old tankers and fire tower. There is also a large metal shed. This area is now being leased by the Ten Mile River Watershed Council and they have plans to convert it into a picnic area. Continuing to follow the red blazed trail will lead you to the large grass area behind the Hunt House. There are some informational boards here describing the history of the property. There was once an amusement park here with a carousel. The ring of granite blocks delineates where it once stood. You will next want to pass the gate between the Hunt House and the large stone pump house. Just ahead is the picturesque Hunts Mills Falls. The sounds of the water rushing of the falls makes this a good place to take a break. After taking in the falls for a bit, you will follow Hunts Mills Road back to Pleasant Street, turn right and cross the road once again. You will continue along Pleasant Street crossing the bridge over the Ten Mile River and then through the parking lot. Here is the trail-head to the eastern side of the Turner Reservoir Loop Trail. This section is mostly on boardwalks that cross over the wetlands by the river. Soon you will come back to the earthen dam. The path turns to the left. If you want another view of the waterfall at the dam follow the path, for this hike however, continue straight up the small hill. At the top of the hill you will have a sweeping view of the reservoir. This spot is particularly beautiful during the autumn foliage. To the right the trail continues to follow the edge of the reservoir. This is where you first cross into Seekonk. The trail is now faintly blazed blue and you will follow those blazes to Arcade Avenue with the exception of a few minor detours. Along this trail you will pass the Seekonk High School athletic fields. In the woods to the right you will find a shelter with a stone pillar by it. This is a monument to three Seekonk High School students who lost their lives on the reservoir in 1998. Further along the blue trail, there is a trail that splits to the left and leads out to a peninsula that offers great views of the reservoir in every direction. If you choose to visit either of these sites be sure to return to the blue blazed trail and follow it to Arcade Avenue. After reaching the road, you will have about a mile of road walking. You will want to turn left onto Arcade Avenue, then left onto Newman Avenue. You then need to cross Newman Avenue to get to and follow West Avenue. You will follow West Avenue to the fourth left. This is West River Street and you will turn left here. Turn left again at Reservoir Street and follow it to the end. The asphalt ends and the dirt road turns to the right. On the left is the sign for the Seacuncke Sanctuary and its trail-head. Follow the trail into the sanctuary. It soon splits, stay to the right and you will find yourself on the main trail, known as the Seekonk Trail, that runs along this side of Central Pond. There are other narrower trails that run parallel to this trail. As long as you are going north they all lead to the same spot. The trail then starts to turn slightly to the right and ahead you will see a split. There are two trails here with a gully in between. Both of the trails are blazed blue. The trail to the right will lead you to the majority of the trails of the Gaminno Pond Preserve. For this hike stay to the left. Soon you will be flanked by water. To the left is Coles Brook and to the right is Gaminno Pond. Continuing to follow the blue blazed trail, you will see a mulch covered trail on the left that leads to the Gaminno Pond parking area. Continue ahead a short distance. The blue blazed trail turns to the right. Stay to the left here following an old road that leads up to the Seekonk Meadows and to the parking lot for the Seekonk Library where you left another vehicle. This hike takes about four and half to five hours at a relaxed pace.
Ten Mile River Greenway Bike Path
Hunts Mills Falls