Rhode Island has great city and country places for walking and hiking
Rhode Island's cities, seashore, woodlands, and parks all make wonderful places to walking and hiking when you’re looking for an enjoyable outdoor activity.
Newport Cliff Walk
The Newport Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile elevated, winding path along Newport’s shoreline with breathtaking views of Narragansett Bay and the rocky coves below. The walk runs from Bailey's Beach to First Beach, with public access points at Bellevue Avenue, Ledge Road, Marine Avenue, Ruggles Avenue, Sheppard Avenue, Webster Street, and Narragansett Avenue. The walk skirts the edges of some of the city’s mansions, including Beechwood, Rosecliff, Marble House, and The Breakers. The northern end of the walk, beginning at Memorial Blvd., is paved and easy; the southern end of the walk -- less used by the public -- has unpaved sections and rugged paths. Information: www.cliffwalk.com
Westerly, RI, 02891
This 86-acre property situated along the northern shore of Winnapaug Pond consists of coastal shrub land, freshwater wetlands, and salt marsh. A short walking trail leads from the parking lot down to the pond. From Rte. 1 South, take a left onto Rte. 1A (following signs to Misquamicut State Beach). Follow Rte. 1A approximately 3 miles. Look for the sign off left shoulder of the road.
North Smithfield, RI, 02896
The headwaters of the Woonasquatucket River rise is on the 235-acre woodland. Three small ponds and a variety of deciduous and coniferous trees provide diverse habitats for wildlife in this area of Rhode Island that is perfect for walking when you’re looking for an outdoor activity. Take I-295 to Exit 8B (Route 7 North). Follow Route 7 North; bear right on Providence Pike. Go across at light at routes 5 and 104. Refuge is one-half mile on the left, the first left after the Primrose Fire Station. Information: www.asri.org
Rockville, RI, 02873
A beautiful 218-acre parcel of stately hemlocks and rock outcrops bordering Long and Ells Pond. The Audubon Society of Rhode Island's land is a part of a large conservation area with trails connecting to Connecticut that are great for walking or hiking. Take Canonchet Road south from Rte. 138, then take the first right onto North Road.
Block Island, RI, 02807
Coastal grasslands set on the bluffs above the Atlantic provide habitat for raptors and passerines. Walk from entry on south side of Cooneymus Road near West Side Road intersection.
12 Sanderson Road
Greenville, RI, 02828
This 120-acre refuge houses the Audubon Society of Rhode Island's headquarters. The refuge has fine stands of pines, a pond and a brook. The headquarters has a library, gift shop, and a bird-feeding station, making this a great destination for walking around and enjoying the outdoors when you’re looking for things to do in Rhode Island. From I-295 take Exit 7B onto Route 44 West. At fourth set of lights, turn left onto Route 5 (Sanderson Road). Turn left at second driveway into the parking lot.
2082 Victory Highway (Route 102)
Coventry, RI, 02816
The Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge contains over 295 acres of diverse wildlife habitat consisting of upland forests, wetlands, streams, ponds and open meadow where people can visit and go walking or hiking during their next vacation or weekend getaway. The 11-acre Carr’s Pond, situated entirely within the bounds of the property, is the centerpiece of the preserve. It is home to river otters as well as many types of freshwater fish and aquatic invertebrates. The land is comprised of a relatively mature and undisturbed closed-canopy forest and forested wetlands as well as developed understory - creating ideal conditions for migratory and forest interior birds. A 10-acre field near the head of the trail also provides excellent meadow wildlife habitat.
1670 Maple Valley Road
Coventry, RI, 02827
An 860-acre property consisting of majestic old forest, brooks, fields, and mysterious rock cairns makes this a great destination for outdoor activities in Rhode Island such as walking or hiking. The caretaker's house was built in the 1700's. The barn has been converted into a nature center. From Providence take I-95 South to Rte. 102 North (Exit 5B). Take Rte. 102 North approximately ten miles. Turn right (east) onto Maple Valley Road (across Rte. 102, on the left is Waterman Hill Road). Turn into second driveway on the left for the trailhead or the first driveway for programs. Look for the Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge sign.
North Kingstown, RI, 02818
A 90-acre property of woods and wetlands located on the Hunt River with access for canoeing and other outdoor activities such as walking and hiking. Take Exit 7 (Frenchtown Road/Davisville) off Rte. 4 South. Davisville Road (Rte. 403) is the left fork (follow signs toward Quonset Point/Davisville). Parking is on the right within 1/2 mile of the exit, immediately after the guardrail marking the Hunt River.
Warren, RI, 02885
These 66 acre are a fine example of salt marsh and bordering upland field and wooded habitat for visitors enjoy for walking and hiking in Rhode Island. A trail from the Touisset Fire Station on Touisset Road leads through fields to the Kickemuit River. Take I-195 East to Rte in North Swansea. Take Rte. 136 South to Rte. 103 (Child Street) in Warren. Go left (east) on Rte. 103 to Long Road. Go right onto Long Road and follow to end at Barton Avenue. Go left on Barton Avenue then t take first right onto Touisset Road. Follow it south to the next sharp left corner at fire station. Turn right into parking lot area and park at the westernmost edge of parking lot.
Tiverton, RI, 02878
A 50-acre parcel of woods and salt marsh with a nature center and fine views of the Sakonnet River. The refuge has blinds for observing and photographing nature as well as plenty of land for walking and hiking while enjoying the outdoors. From Providence take I-195 East to Rte. 24 South (in Fall River, MA). Travel Rte. 24 South to the Rte. 77 South exit. Follow RTE.77 South to Seapowet Avenue. Turn right onto Seapowet Avenue and continue down the hill to the refuge parking lot on the right.
Pardon Joslin Road
Exeter, RI, 02822
This 937-acre property contains fields, diverse forest habitats, pond, streams (including a waterfall) and a historic cemetery for people to explore while walking or hiking on their next vacation when they are looking for fun things to do outdoors. Take I-95 to Rte. 4 to Rte. 102 North. Turn right onto Widow Sweets Road (just after the Exeter Town Clerk's Office and across from Anderson's Quality Furniture Store). Take the second right onto Pardon Joslin Road (a dirt road). Travel approximately 1 mile. Parking lot is on the right side of the road by a large Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge sign.
Bay Street to Fort Road
This long, sandy spit separates Little Narragansett Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. Wonderful place for ocean views and bird watching. Sandy paths lead you to the remains of Mount Mansfield. There is a beautiful lagoon on the bay side. No water or services or any kind out on the point. Walking may be work for young children or people who are easily fatigued because you are walking in sand, not on pavement. Length is 2 to 3 miles.
Parking: Parking is behind a village shopping strip, in a paved lot off Bay Street near Fort Street. Best to visit in the off-season because parking at the small lot is very competitive in summer.
Season: Accessible all year; dogs prohibited May 2 through Labor Day from 8a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fees: Access is free.
Beaver River Preserve
Fox Ridge Drive
Pleasant, babbling Beaver River flows through undisturbed acres that feature a small woodland pool, streams, and seeps, a bog pool and swamp, forested wetland and a mixed oak forest. There are two walking and hiking trails through the preserve. For your safety, please do not cross the timber bridge over the river. Information: http://bit.ly/RlZYhv
Pasquiset Pond Preserve
Old Coach Road
Pasquiset Pond offers a diverse natural community. The wetlands support the rare ringed boghaunter dragonfly and an Atlantic white cedar swamp. A short loop walking trail leads through an impressive stand of mature white pines, while further south the Narragansett Trail runs through the property passing by numerous wetlands, mountain laurel, and a field.
Historic fort property hosts picnics, swimming, fishing, historic reenactments, sailing
Lots of nice walks on the huge park overlooking Newport Harbor and the eastern flank of Narragansett Bay.
See full description
of Fort Adams State Park.
Walk through a neighborhood of magnificent restored buildings, overlooking the Providence waterfront.
71 High Street
Westerly, RI, 02891
Phone: 401-596-2877 Ext - 33
Lovely in-town Victorian Park; strolling; summer outdoor performances
Urban park of the Victorian period. Nice for walks, especially in flowering seasons.
See full description
of Wilcox Park.
Newport, RI, 02840
Park rises above Ocean Drive and offers big, grassy slopes for walking and picnicking. Also, walks down to the rocky shoreline to explore the tide pools.
See full description of of Brenton Point State Park
Come to enjoy this land especially in spring and fall. A springtime brook and small waterfall, rock outcroppings, a walking trail, and a four-fireplace chimney remaining from another era. A one-mile blue blazed walking trail loops through the open, rocky forest, taking visitors to property’s high spots. The brook and small waterfall are the place’s best features, along with massive outcroppings and ledges, several stone walls and numerous stately trees.
Access: Enter off Putnam Pike (Route 44) at the sign for Village at Waterman Lake, at the western edge of Greenville, across from West Greenville Road. This entrance is Mapleville Road. Park at the end of the paved roadway (do not take the forks that go up to the left).
Pawtucket Downtown, Blackstone River, & Slater Mill
This walking route takes pedestrians along some of Pawtucket's most familiar buildings, landmarks, and waterfront of the historic Blackstone River Valley. Several walks are described at the website below, along Roosevelt and East avenues and near McCoy Stadium; there is no beginning or an end to these paths; they are all interconnected, and provide a great outdoor thing to do for families on vacation. Information: http://1.usa.gov/14A20QO
WaterPlace Park and Riverwalk
Providence, RI, 02903
Developed during a brilliant revival of downtown Providence starting in the 1990s, this park is largely a walkway along the 3 rivers that meet in the downtown, with delightfully fanciful footbridges that cross the river at intervals. At the end of the walk bracketed by Memorial Blvd., Francis Street, and Finance Way is a circular boat basin with amphitheater-type steps where outdoor performances take place in warm weather. The river is home to the famous WaterFire
art installation of broadcast music combined with fires on the water that has charmed thousands of local people and visitors.
455 North Road
Started in 1796, this working farm is set on 265 acres and features cattle, sheep, horses, chickens and a garden. A two-mile walking trail and self-guided tours take visitors on a trip through the history and seasonal cycles of the farm. School programs and demonstrations are available.
Canonchet Brook Preserve
Canonchet is one of the largest natural areas in southeastern New England and is part of the Pawcatuck Borderlands site. Streams and wetlands are scattered through the forests. A trail starts at the parking area off North Road, heads down hill, crosses a small waterway, and passes some old building foundations. It then turns north and crosses Canonchet Brook. Follow the yellow trail blazes.
Dundery Brook Trail
Little Compton School, Meeting House Lane (park by the tennis courts)
Little Compton, RI
This 2.7-mile round trip stroll through a forested wetland includes a 3,100 foot long handicapped accessible boardwalk path connecting to a 4,100 foot long grass path around a pond on Bumble Bee Preserve. The path of the boardwalk zigzags across vernal pools, a sizable brook, two stone walls, and a treasure trove of biodiversity.
This historic village is a fun, easy stroll through small-town America. Main street has funky antique shops, specialty stores, penny candy, Browns and Hopkins Store, Cyrus Cooke Tavern, old mills, and restaurants. The village is host of the annual Glocester Ancients and Horribles Parade on July 4. Go shopping, or just go walking and stroll around town and enjoy the scenery.
Including the Greenway Trails, Block Island has about 25 miles of trails of easy to moderate walks. Visit the
Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Center at the Block Island Ferry parking lot for maps. The Nature Conservancy
at 352 High Street has maps for the Greenway Trails.
. Clay Head Preserve covers the Clayhead Bluffs and the northeastern end of Block Island. The trail runs east toward the ocean. After you pass Clay Head Swamp, there's an intersection. Turn right to visit the beach, or left to get up to the bluffs and the Maze. This area is packed with daffodils in May. Directions:
Take up Corn Neck Road about 2.6 miles until you come to a post marker on the right side. Turn right onto a dirt road. A parking areas is just ahead.
Fresh Swamp Preserve
Fresh Swamp is an aquifer recharge area and the site of the Town of New Shoreham well fields. Fields and shrub meadow make up the area surrounding the pond. There are knolls that boast some pretty nice views to this innermost part of the island. Directions:
Go north on Lakeside Drive for 0.75 miles and watch for a trailhead is on right marked by a stone engraved "Greenway".
Hodge Family Preserve
These 25 acres off the west side of Corn Neck Road connect to the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge at the northern portion of the island. Wander dirt trails and meadows, home to many bird species. Near this area you will also find the Labyrinth, located off Corn Neck Road and marked by a wooden stairway. This special place has the most spectacular views of the northwest side of the island. Directions:
Travel north on Corn Neck Road 2.9 miles; on your left you will see a sign and parking area for the Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve.
This 230-acre basin has rolling hills and vistas. Hike the long or short loop leading to the Ocean. In the spring you may see the dazzling Shad Bloom. Directions:
Walk down off of Cooneymus Road, just after the big Rodman's Hollow sign on the left. About 0.25 miles down on the left, you will see a wooden gate and turnstile marking the trail entrance. There's a long or short loop to take. The trail soon splits. Bear left to traverse the bottom of the Hollow or bear right to the top of a knoll with panoramic views. The trails intersect again to return to the Road. If you turn left and continue down the road, you can access the beach via a trail down the bluff.
Nathan Mott Park & Turnip Farm.
This is a hilly hike with great views to the west and south. Many wildflowers make this place very colorful in the spring and summer.
Take Center Road for 0.2 miles west of the entrance to the Block Island State Airport. The trailhead is on the right.
Elizabeth Dickens Trail.
This trail is more hidden than the others. It has a beautiful hike on the southwest corner You may walk to run the fields and meadows here before arriving at a steep trail that takes you down to the beach.
North End of Corn Neck Road
New Shoreham (Block Island), RI
This lighthouse is on the grounds of the National Wildlife Sanctuary, which contains walking and hiking trails. No tower access. Reaching the lighthouse requires walking for about 20 minutes from the parking area on a sandy beach.
Hours: Thursday-Monday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Tuesday & Wednesday and on rainy days
Clay Head Preserve
Corn Neck Road
Block Island, RI
The Clay Head Preserve traverses some of the most spectacular scenery on the eastern seaboard. The trail runs east toward the ocean about one-third of a mile. Soon you will reach an intersection in the trail. If you turn right, you will end up on the beach. Turn left and the trail winds up above the clay bluffs for which this area was named. At the top of the incline, follow the trail along the bluff. Periodically you will see trails on your left heading away from the ocean; this part of Clay Head is known as the maze. These intertwining trails are unmarked and are perfect for hours of wandering when you want to enjoy the outdoors.
Directions: Look for a post marker on the right side of Corn Neck Road about two miles from town. Turn right down the dirt road and drive about one-third mile to a parking area and see the Clay Head sign.
Norman Bird Sanctuary
583 Third Beach Road
This 450-acre refuge includes several wildlife habitats and seven miles of walking trails that are a great destination for a fun afternoon on your next Rhode Island family vacation. The site also houses an on-site museum, educational area, and small gift shop. Spring and fall bird walks are held there. In 2016, the Sanctuary finished a new, 1650-foot trail for people with disabilities. The universal trail winds through fields, wetlands and forest down to Red Maple Pond. It is accessible from the Welcome Center.
Hours: Open Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Historic Downtown Newport
The area surrounding America's Cup Avenue
A stroll in the streets of downtown Newport, Rhode Island will take you along the water, past dozens of historic buildings, several museums and attractions, and through many outdoor malls and shopping centers. Wonderful in-town walking takes you deep into picturesque Colonial neighborhoods.
off Farnum Pike
Once a railroad bed, the walkway now presents a place for easy strolls where walkers can enjoy scenes of the Woonasquatucket River as it flows into Stillwater Pond, as well as water birds, song birds, turtles, frogs and butterflies. About a half-mile from the start of the walk you reach Stillwater Pond and a dam. Beyond is a smaller pond and second dam, creating a nice waterfall, near Capron Road. There are many good places to cast a fishing line.
Access: Park in a gravel lot off Farnum Pike (Route 104) between Washington Highway (Route 116) and Stump Pond dam. The walkway runs under Washington Highway and along Stillwater Pond all the way to Capron Road.
Slatersville Village Center, North Smithfield
The village of Slatersville, in the town of North Smithfield, is the pure image of a New England village: neat houses and white picket fences are arrayed along quiet streets, radiating from the town common and Congregational Church. Slatersville is recognized as America's first planned industrial village. The heart of the village is the large, stone Slater Mill. A walk here is delightfully picturesque and also a stroll through America's industrial history when you are looking for things to do one afternoon in Rhode Island. Information: http://bit.ly/XFppfr
Barrington Civic Center Historic District
The historic section of Barrington features the Barrington Town Hall, built in 1888, and the library. This unusual structure was built in a medieval style, with stone towers. The library is in a school from the early 20th century. Also on site, colonial cemetery and a pond.
Brown University Walking Tours
The neighborhood around Prospect Street
The campus of one of America's oldest institutions of higher learning provides ample opportunity for both long and short walks. The university publishes a self-guided walking tour map (PDF)
with descriptions of the many historic buildings on the campus.
345 Ives Road
Warwick, RI, 02818
Bayside park for walking, picnics, games, swimming, horseback riding
There are lots and lots of walking trails through woods and across fields in this large park on Greenwich Bay. Trails used for horseback riding. No mountain bikes.
See full description of Goddard Memorial State Park
Wickford Village Walks
Wickford in the Town of North Kingstown, RI
A walk around Wickford, a beautiful Rhode Island seacoast village on a cove off Narragansett Bay, makes a day of pleasures on a human scale. The village has been doing business since 1709, and it still bustles -- at a mellow pace. Great shops show cool jewelry, gifts, clothing, and more. Galleries are delightful, and there are plenty of places for a good meal. Walk past churches, colonial-period houses and gardens. Listen to the boats gently rattle their moorings from the decks of waterside restaurants.
Blackstone Park & Boulevard in Providence
Blackstone Boulevard is a 1.6-mile-long street in the upscale and beautiful East Side of Providence. It has a 100-foot wide median that is richly endowed with bushes and trees and a walking path. The street has bicycle lanes on each side of the median. The Boulevard is one of the landmarks of Providence and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This beautiful park attracts walkers and runners from all over the city. It is also very welcoming to bicyclists. Benches line the wide central path, and there is one substantial structure, a rustic stone shelter built over 100 years ago as a trolley stop. The park is cared for by volunteers and the Blackstone Parks Conservancy
. Park map.
Woody Hill Management Area
Woody Hill Road
Gravel paths open only to foot and bicycle traffic are the main feature of this wildlife management area, set on 819 acres. Home to a variety of wildlife both on land and in the water.
Swan Point Cemetery
585 Blackstone Boulevard
A historic cemetery with beautiful plantings and monuments. Walking and slow bicycloing allowed. Proper attire requested. Many noted Rhode Island politicians are buried here.
Block Island Nature Conservancy
Formed by glaciers nearly 10,000 years ago, Block Island features a diverse array of habitats. Birds stop here while migrating in the spring and fall along the Atlantic Flyway. There are approximately 25 miles of walking and hiking trails on Block Island open to the public, free of charge. See website for overview of trails, directions, and resources.
2 Manchester Print Works Road
Lincoln, RI, 02865
Inland park with freshwater swimming, boating, trails, horseback riding
Plenty of trails in the woods and around the lake at this forested state park an easy drive from Providence. Trails are multi-use, welcoming walkers and hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. Designated horse trails are separate from multi-use trails.
Map of Lincoln Woods State Park (PDF)
See full description of Lincoln Woods State Park.
Old Forge Road between Farnum Pike (Route 104) and Log Road
This wooded area of 44 acres offer marked walking trails, places for picnics, and stocked trout stream, and stone wall left from an 18th-century forge. IN the warm seasons, water rushing through an old dam makes a nice little waterfall. An orange-blazed trail in the lower area, traveling through old hemlocks and pines, is the shorter loop. A yellow-blazed trail, accessible from the orange-marked trail, travels up a steep ridge and through hardwoods and mountain laurel. Together, the two trails equal about one mile.
Access: Look for the entrance sign and park along Old Forge Road between Farnum Pike (Route 104) and Log Road just north of Stump Pond.
Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Sanctuary
National environmental preserve with a self-guided hiking trail and guided nature walks and hikes. The park has a picnic area, swimming, and boating areas. Accessible via a ferry from Bristol.
Hours: Memorial Day-Labor Day, dawn to dusk.
Black Rock Road
Block Island (New Shoreham), RI, 02807
This 230-acre glacial outwash basin, located in the southwest part of the island, is considered the birthplace of conservation on Block Island. Walk down Black Rock Road off of Cooneymus Road. About 0.25 miles down on your left, you will see a wooden gate and turnstile marking the trail entrance. Bear left, where the trail splits to traverse the bottom of the Hollow (where you can also access a trail leading to Fresh Pond); bear right to ascend a knoll with a wonderful panoramic vista. The trails intersect again to return to Black Rock Road. If you turn left and continue down the road, you can access the beach via a trail down the bluff.
Directions: Turn onto Walk down off of Cooneymus Road. About 0.25 miles down on the left there is a turnstile at the head of the trail. The trail soon splits. Bear left to traverse the bottom of the Hollow; walk right to ascend a hill with a giant vista.
Jamestown, RI, 02835
Park with rocky shores, tide pools, salt water fishing, walking, picnicking, lighthouse
This beautiful park overlooking Narragansett Bay is surrounded by a rocky shoreline. Great fun to walk in the grassy highlands and especially on the rocks, exploring the life of tide pools are you go. Kids love it.
See full description
Beavertail State Park.
Bristol, RI, 02809
Beautiful park along Narragansett Bay; walking trails; picnicking; playfields
This large, open park on the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay has many drives and trails for walking and biking. It is very close to the famous East Bay Bike Path
of Colt State Park.
See full description
of Colt State Park.
Narrow Lane or Plain Road
West Greenwich, RI, 02817
Tillinghast Pond offers three looping hiking trails so you can walk as short or long as you wish. Bring your canoe or kayak and paddle on the pond and enjoy the solitude of these outdoors on your Rhode Island vacation. Information: http://bit.ly/OJFRXn
Old Mill Road
This large nature preserve is located partly on the rocky uplands of the Charlestown moraine and partly on the sandy floodplain of the Pawcatuck River. It supports a variety of plant and animal life, including pitch pine and scrub oak barrens, vernal pools, and grassland. There are many walking trails to explore Bow hunting for deer is permitted at the Preserve from September 15 to January 31. All visitors are required to wear a fluorescent orange hat or vest. Dogs are permitted but must be leashed at all times. Directions to the Preserve.
Trail map (PDF)
Lime Rock Preserve
Only 10 minutes from downtown Providence, the preserve forms an oasis of tranquility and an important refuge for wildlife in an area that is heavily impacted by development. Ledges of dolomitic marble produce a special calcareous soil that nurtures 30 rare plant species. Beautiful ferns and wildflowers grow along ridges of recrystallized limestone.
Roger Williams Park
1000 Elmwood Avenue
Roger Williams Park off Elmwood Avenue in Providence
is a gorgeous Victorian-era park comprising 435 beautiful acres of drives that are great for walking or biking, lakes, a carousel, gracious buildings, a zoo and a museum and planetarium. The park offers lots of public events, and also some really helpful, downloadable maps that allow you to explore it on your own. Enjoy!
Notable buildings map.
Walking trails map.
Notable art map.
Notable trees map.