CONNECTING PEOPLE, NATURE AND OPPORTUNITY

WHERE TO WALK

Start in your own neighborhood and become more familiar with the nature surrounding your school or home. Urban sidewalks are home to a wide variety of interesting weeds and bugs. Make a point of noticing which urban yards have the most colorful gardens. Who is growing vegetables? Which tree-lined streets provide the most shade on a hot sunny day?

Beyond the neighorhood, Rhode Island offers
an extensive system of bike trails, state park paths, and waterways that wind through breathtakingly beautiful areas rich in natural resources and wildlife.  These same paths lead you through some incredible sites of cultural, industrial, and military history, providing fun destinations to share with family and friends on your day off.
  

A motivated hiker could walk across the state in a single day along the
North South Trail.  If you are a local, you can walk, run, or go biking on an amazing new adventure every weekend, without leaving the state.

  
                                        
   
                               Tim Mooney, Preserves Manager for The Nature Conservancy
                                           leads nature walks on the two largest preserves

The Nature Conservancy offers Rhode Islanders some of the best hands-on opportunities for environmental education field trips.  The Rhode Island Chapter protects 16 properties throughout Rhode Island, covering the environmental spectrum, from beach and tidal estuary to river plain and forest. 
 
The Clay Head Preserve trail on Block Island traverses some of the most spectacular scenery on the eastern seaboard, winding above the clay bluffs for which this area was named.  Intertwining paths lead off this trail and away from the ocean and into the scrub;  this area is fondly known as the “maze.”  Kids love this!

 
The Quicksand Pond/Goosewing Beach Preserve
in Little Compton is a magnificent system of pristine coastal pond, barrier beach, and dune environments.

 

The Fogland Marsh in Tiverton is a beautiful tidal estuary, where the ocean water mixes with fresh water, creating a habitat for a great wealth of ecology ranging from algae to marsh birds.

The Tillinghast Pond Management Area in West Greenwich is The Nature Conservancy's largest land holding in Rhode Island.  Its oak and pine woods protect the headwaters of the Wood River, one of the most pristine waterways in southern New England.  It continues to expand upon its trail system.

The Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve in Charlestown is the chapter's second largest nature preserve, with over 5 miles of trails. Straddling the rocky uplands of the Charlestown moraine and the sandy floodplain of the Pawcatuck River, this area is notably rich inn rare pitch pine and scrub oak barrens.  Vernal pools breed wood frogs, and a 35-acre grassland attracts an unusual array of songbirds. 

             
              Fascination is found not only in the vast landscape, but also in the small things. 
              Here Tim Mooney shows me wood frog egg clusters and owl pellets.   3/15/11
                   To learn more about vernal ponds and the wood frog life cycle, click here.
 

Tiverton has five miles of walking trails in Weetamoo Woods, the site of Tiverton's first settlement, named for the last sachem of the Pocasset Tribe of Wampanoag Indians.  Weetamoo was a female sachem.  This area includes part of the original Pocasset Purchase roadway, circa 1685.    
  
In the West Bay, East Greenwich offers scenic historic walks around the 
Historic Hill District and down by the Greenwich Cove in Scalloptown Park, or along the trails at Boesch Farm.  Further south beyond Wickford, lies the John H. Chafee Nature Preserve, historically known as Rome Point, easy-going hike over several interlocking trails or straight through the woods to a pebble beach and popular seal watching location.
     
Walkers and runners alike enjoy Rhode Island's extensive bikeway system.
  Walkers, be sure you travel on the left hand side of the paths, facing oncoming bikers. The East Bay Bike Path in Providence begins at India Point, where our state founder and religious revolutionary, Roger Williams, brought us the concept of “Soul Liberty” and befriended our state’s original natives.  The path continues down through Colt State Park and historic Bristol.  
 
The Washington Bike Path follows the route that Rochambeau and his troops marched as they marched into the American Revolution. 

The Blackstone River Bikeway runs north from Providence up through Lincoln Woods and traces the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. The South County Bike Path leads through some of the more rural history of Rhode Island.   The Rails to Trails Conservancy is a great resource for paths outside of Rhode Island if you're looking to get away for a weekend. 

Newport offers wide range of adventures.  The most popular is the scenic Cliff Walk, where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the ocean, sailboats, and ships, and the scenery of the magnificent mansions of great industrial barons.  There are also walking paths round the grounds of Fort Adams, one of the most fascinating structures in the state, from both a historical and architectural perspective.  Meandering around the harbor area, you can explore the piers, the shops, churches, and maritime museums.

The City of Providence offers Neutaconkanut Park, the highest elevation in the city, 88 acres with woodland trails along the historic Northwest boundary of the property negotiation established between Roger Williams and the Native Americans.

Rhode Island also boasts miles of walkable beaches. From the white sands of Block Island across to the quaint harbor town of Watch Hill on up to the Narragansett surf and over to secluded Third Beach at the mouth of the Sakonnet River, each shoreline setting offers its own unique experience.
 
For a completely breathtaking oceanside experience, Rhode Island offers the rocky shores of 
Beaver Tail, with it's lighthouse and many tide pools.  There are also many delightful paths and roadways through Goddard Park,  around Roger Williams Park, and in Colt State Park, to name but a few more options.  And, for the more rustic, there are hiking trails and camping areas all over Rhode Island.

Far away from the water...
Are you familiar with the Buck Hill Management Area?  It consists of over 2,000 acres of forest in the northwest corner of Rhode Island. The trails are mostly old wagon roads, relatively rocky, but wide and inviting for conversation and enjoying the wildlife that flourishes in the area. This is a six mile hike that leads past ponds, grain fields, and eventually to the Tri-State Marker where Rhode Island, Massachesetts and Connecticut meet. And, Smithfield  has seven scenic walks.
   
The 
Audubon Society of Rhode Island offers free public access to miles of beautiful nature trails rated for difficulty and length of time required to complete the trail.  Trail maps can be downloaded at www.asri.org.  Adubon refuges offer you a quiet place to escape, reflect, renew, and revitalize.  Here's a list of Audubon and National Fish and Wildlife Service refuges...
 

CARATUNK WILDLIFE REFUGE
301 Brown Avenue, Seekonk, MA

Secluded 200-acre refuge only ten minutes from Providence.

CLAIRE MCINTOSH WILDLIFE
REFUGE & ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATION CENTER

1401 Hope Street (Rte 114), Bristol, RI
25-acre facility with butterfly garden and boardwalk that through marsh grasses to observation deck overlooking Narragansett Bay.

EMILY RUECKER
WILDLIFE REFUGE
Seapowet Avenue, Tiverton, RI
50-acre preserve with beautiful views of the Sakonnet River and adjacent salt marshes.

FISHERVILLE BROOK
WILDLIFE REFUGE
Pardon Joslin Road, Exeter, RI

Over 900 acres of protected habitat of ponds, streams, meadows and tall pine groves.  The refuge also has a beautiful waterfall, footbridge, and historic cemetery.

We welcome photos and blogs that convey the experiences people have found along these many beautfiful paths.  Please submit them to email listed below and we will post them or publish links as we build new pages on this site.

NETWALKRI
P.O. Box 2221
East Greenwich, RI  02818
401.884.1559
email:
wendy@netwalkri.com
FORT WILDLIFE REFUGE
Providence Pike (Rte. 5)
Smithfield, RI
235 acres of hilly northern woodlands.  Trails are more challenging.


KIMBALL SANCTUARY
Watchaug Pond
Charlestown, RI
29-acre property adjacent to Burlingame State Park.


PARKER WOODLAND
1670 Maple Valley Road
Coventry, RI
860-acre refuge offering hikes of one-half to five hours that have varying degrees of difficulty.


POWDER MILL LEDGES
WILDLIFE REFUGE
12 Sanderstown Rd (Rt. 5)
Smithfield, RI

This 120-acre refuge harbors ASRI's headquarters. The refuge has fine stands of pines, a pond, and a brook. The headquarters has a library, gift shop, teacher's resource center, and bird feeding station.
 
TOUISSET MARSH
WILDLIFE REFUGE
Touisset Road, Warren

66 acres along the Kickemuit River, one of Audubon's prettiest natural places.
 
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
for info on Block Island, Sachuest Point, Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge...
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