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Take a Hike

In Rhode Island, take the path less traveled. It makes all the difference.

Looking for a place to hit the trails this fall? Even though Rhode Island is called the Ocean State, we’re more than half forested open space. Here are some of our popular trails, and some cool things to check out along the way. BTW, we’re super-easy to get to. Just an hour from Boston and 3.5 hours from New York City. Once you get here, you can get anywhere in the state in under an hour. That means more time for hiking and less time traveling to the next trailhead!

For most of these hikes, you're going to want to drive here or rent a car when you get here. We’ve suggested places to stay near each of these hiking hot spots. If you're flying in or just prefer to be centrally located in the state, consider booking a hotel in Warwick and take advantage of special mid-week pricing.  

Alternatively, Providence and Newport are good car-free hiking destinations. You can get to either by plane, train (to Kingston, RI for Newport) or bus, then walk and ride share where you want to go. You can also travel between the two via the #60 RIPTA bus or the Providence to Newport Ferry (through October 14th).

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Length: 2.2 miles              Trailhead: North Road

If you’re looking for a challenging hike, take this one at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Long Pond Woods.  The trail takes you into a beautiful 218-acre conservation area where you’ll clamber over rock formations and around hemlock trees on the steep hike up to rocky cliffs that afford views of both Long Pond and Ell Pond in the hollow below. Known for its cedar bog and wetland habitat and Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel (mid-June blooms), the forested valley is home to red fox, opossum, hooded warbler and white-tailed deer.

Eat: Stop by West's Bakery for a Bismark (jelly and cream filled donut) or some of RI's famous bakery pizza strips.

Stay: The original structure of the nearby Stagecoach House Inn was built in 1796 and it's still offering weary travelers a place to spend the night. 

Love: Scenes from Wes Anderson’s 2012 “Moonrise Kingdom” starring Bill Murray and Bruce Willis were filmed on the trail.

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Length: 2-6 miles              Trailhead: The Smithfield Conservation Center off Waterview Drive

Wolf Hill Forest Preserve has multiple well-marked trails, many of which intersect at different points. Most of the trails are old farm roads rolling through forests of mature oaks and maples and some pine and hemlocks. You’ll find huckleberry and blueberry bushes and might see songbirds, wild turkeys, deer and hawks in your travels. The best-known trail on this hike is the World War II Memorial Loop, in honor of the three U.S. Army Air Corps men who died there in a 1943 plane crash (there’s a memorial to the men on the loop). The Mary Mowry Trail is the most challenging option and is steep and rocky at parts.

Eat: Try Blackie’s Bull Dog Tavern. Chef Angie offers lunch, dinner and brunch menus along with a “clean living menu” that features paleo, gluten-free, Keto and vegan options.

Stay: There are four nearby hotels within a few miles -  Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Home2 Suites by Hilton and All-Season Inn and Suites.

Love: You can see great views of the Providence skyline from Mercer Outlook. While you’re in the neighborhood, you can check out Stump Pond.

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Length: 1.7-8.1 miles                                      Trailhead: (Ben Utter Trailhead) Austin Farm Road

Arcadia Management Area is Rhode Island’s largest recreational area at 14,000 acres. There are 11 main trails ranging from easy to moderate. Check out the 2.7-mile Ben Utter Trail for a fairly easy and interesting hike along a river, past the remains of an old grist mill, and the Stepstone Falls. Wildlife to look out for include cottontail rabbits, white-tailed deer, fox and mink. Camping is allowed with a permit and orange must be worn during hunting season.

Eat: Check out Wood River Inn for traditional, pub-type food and burgers not far from the trails.

Stay: Rest up and chill out at the Best Western East Greenwich or the Hampton Inn Coventry-Warwick.

Love: While in the area, stop by the Tomaquag Museum to learn about Rhode Island’s Native People, or take a quick drive to Leyden Farm Vineyard and Winery to sip some locally made wine.

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Length: 3 miles                  Trailhead: Sachuest Point Visitor Center

This 242-acre wildlife refuge offers easy, gentle trails and fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean. A well-known spot for birders, the refuge hosts more than 200 bird species seasonally, including harlequin ducks, peregrine falcons and snowy owls. There’s a steep rocky shoreline surrounding 40 acres of salt marsh, elevated observation platforms, deer, New England cottontail rabbits and shrubs of northern bayberry, arrowwood, blueberry and more. Start off your trip at the Visitor Center to check out the exhibits, learn about the wildlife and get information from staff and volunteers.   

Eat: Check out Mission Middletown for burgers and hotdogs ground in-house, or Flo’s Clam Shack for classic New England seafood and raw bar.

Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Newport/Middletown and Newport Beach Hotel & Suites are close by.

Love: As well as being beautiful, 1.4 miles of trail are wheelchair and stroller friendly.

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Length: 3.5 miles              Trailhead: Memorial Boulevard

This world-famous public access walk is one of Newport’s most popular attractions and is designated a National Recreation Trail (in a National Historic District). While not a wooded hike, it is unique because it combines the natural beauty of the Newport shoreline with the architectural history of Newport's gilded age. About two-thirds of the walk is easy, but parts of the southern half of the walk are a rough, rocky trail over the natural and rugged New England shoreline. The walk starts at the western end of Easton’s (First) Beach at Memorial Boulevard and runs to the Forty Steps, then from Forty Steps to Ruggles Avenue. From Ruggles Avenue to Belmont Beach, then Belmont Beach to Ledge Road. Finally, Ledge Road to Bellevue Avenue. While you're in Newport, check out the Cocktails & Culture of this walkable city.

Eat: Stop at The Chanler, right at the beginning of the Cliff Walk for refined dining at Cara Restaurant or a more casual vibe at the Cafe at The Chanler.  

Stay: If you’re looking to book a hotel near the Cliff Walk, one of the closest is The Cliffside Inn, which is an authentic Newport Mansion that was converted into a hotel.

Love: Known as one of the most romantic walks in New England and a top photo spot, it's not surprising this trail has seen its share of marriage proposals.

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