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 rideshare 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 11th).
Long Pond/Ell Pond Hike, Hopkinton
Length: 2.2 miles Trailhead: North Road Trail Map
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 (open Thursday-Sunday) for a Bismark (jelly and cream-filled donut) or some of RI's famous bakery pizza strips.
Stay: The Shelter Harbor Inn combines upscale amenities, a country retreat-like setting, and the best of New England's beauty and traditions.
Love: Scenes from Wes Anderson’s 2012 “Moonrise Kingdom” starring Bill Murray and Bruce Willis were filmed on the trail.
Wolf Hill Forest Preserve, Smithfield
Length: 2-6 miles Trailhead: The Smithfield Conservation Center off Waterview Drive Trail Map
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 Corpsmen 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 in 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.
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.
Arcadia Management Area, Exeter
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.
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Middletown
Length: 3 miles Trailhead: Sachuest Point Visitor Center Trail Map
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.
Love: As well as being beautiful, 1.4 miles of trail are wheelchair and stroller friendly.
The Cliff Walk, Newport
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.
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.
Neutaconkanut Hill, Providence
Length: 3.8 miles Trailhead: (Parking lots at) 120 Killingly Street and 675 Plainfield Street Trail Map
This 88-acre urban park in Providence features recreation facilities at its base and a wilderness of trees, valleys, stone walls, ravines, glacial boulders, fresh-water springs, and wildflowers above. The hill is the highest point in Providence at 296 feet above sea level, so prepare for a steep walk up to reach the trails. The hill is home to deer, fox, wild turkey, and other woodland creatures and the paths throughout the hill were installed via a WPA project in the 1930s. While you're in Providence, check out the Cocktails & Culture of this walkable city.
Love: The hilltop meadow affords terrific views of the city of Providence and beyond.