Hiking Nature Trail
Rhode Island’s diverse landscape offers countless opportunities for you to enjoy a variety of hiking experiences on our Hiking Nature Trail. The Ocean State’s terrain is far more varied than one might expect for a small geographic area. For example, the southern and eastern areas of the state are relatively flat, with gently rolling farmlands, while the northern and western areas rise abruptly uphill through dense woodlands.
Towering pines, lush hardwoods, ponds, flowing waterways, abundant wildflowers and a variety of wildlife await exploration by outdoor enthusiasts. Be sure to bring binoculars and your camera!
You’ll find that our Nature Trails series includes lots of interesting options. We encourage you to customize your own nature trail that fits your specific interests and time frame. Remember, if you can fit everything into one trip, that’s a great reason to plan another.
George Washington Management Area
Hikers can choose between two cut-over trails at this management area. The Walkabout Trail allows hikers to customize both tour length and difficulty. Angell Loop offers a comfortable lakeshore-woodland circuit, passing a historic Indian gravesite. Because of the extensive forest habitat at George Washington Management Area, forest game and other forest wildlife dominate the area. Typical mammals include cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hare, grey squirrel, white-tailed deer and furbearers. Pulaski Marsh provides for a variety of waterfowl, including wood duck, black duck and mallard. Game birds found within the management area include ruffed grouse, wild turkey and woodcock. Glocester. 2185 Putnam Pike, Chepachet RI 02814, 401 568-2013
Richard Knight Fort Nature Refuge
As a refuge of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Fort Refuge offers various programs throughout the year including wildlife walks, vernal pool exploration in the refuge and more. Open year-round. Rte. 5, North Smithfield, 401-949-5454, www.asri.org
Block Island Greenways
Inspired by England’s Greenway system of trails, the Block Island Greenway covers more than 12 miles of trails in the southern part of the island. The trails are as diverse as the island itself — some trails are wide and flat, while others are more challenging with steep inclines and rocky terrain.
This network of trails crisscross the island from the middle to the southern shore and meander through Nathan Mott Park, the Nature Conservancy, Turnip Farm, Rodman’s Hollow and private lands graced by old Victorian mansions and charming farmhouses.
Access points can be found on Lakeside Drive and along Old Mill, Cooneymus, West Side and Beacon Hill roads. Look for granite Greenway markers, turnstyles and steps over stone walls. Southern Block Island, 401-466-2129, www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/rhodeisland/placesweprotect/block-island.xml
Sites along the Cliff Walk include the mansions of Salve Regina University, the Breakers and the Forty Steps, a festive gathering place for the servants of several Newport mansions during in the city’s Golden Age.
The walk starts at the western end of Easton's Beach, Memorial Blvd., with major exits at Narragansett Ave., Webster St., Sheppard Ave., Ruggles Ave., Marine Ave., Ledge Rd. and Bellevue Ave. at the east end of Bailey's Beach.
Donated to the Audubon Society of Rhode Island in 1965, it was once a 30-acre farm belonging to Emily Rueckner. Now, the refuge is an inviting spot for nature walks along its one-and-a-half miles of easy walking trails, which should take about 90 minutes to complete.
As a favorite nesting site for many coastal birds including herons and egrets, parts of the trails may be closed at certain points during the year to prevent hikers from disturbing birds who nest within the reserve. Jack’s Island, a peninsula that extends into the Sakonnet River, is home to breeding ospreys. Seapowet Ave., Tiverton, www.asri.org/refuges/emilie-ruecker-wildlife-refuge.html
Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
The wildlife featured in the Arcadia Wildlife Management Area is unmatched. Hikers might catch sight of cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hare, wild turkey, bobwhite, ring-necked pheasant and scores of several game animals, fish and non-game species. West Greenwich, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond. www.dem.ri.gov/maps/wma
George B. Parker Woodland
Hikers can marvel at the caretaker’s house, built in the 1700s and now on the National Register of Historic Places, old stone quarries, the Isaac Bowen House and the foundation of an 18th-century farm house. Maple Valley Rd., Coventry, 401-949-5454, www.asri.org/refuges/george-b.-parker-woodland.html
DEM Divisions of Fish and Wildlife and Forest Environment
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