Great Places to Hike in Rhode Island
When people think trails and hiking, they often look north to New Hampshire or west to Colorado. But Rhode Island has a wonderful array of trails and paths that make it worth breaking out the hiking boots. Whether you’re looking for a scenic stroll or to scale boulders, you’ll find the right spot in this list.
Victory Highway, Coventry
Distance: 2.3 miles
This is the perfect trail for a newbie to the hiking scene since it has a fairly flat grade. As you walk, you’ll see gorgeous views of Carr’s Pond and a vibrating meadow teeming with wildlife. The only challenges are the occasional roots and rocks that jut out in random places.
Wolf Hill Forest Preserve
Waterview Drive, Smithfield
Distance: 6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
This trail traces old farm roads, weaving a path dotted by the remains of a cabin and, on clear days, views of Providence. It also cuts across the site of a World War II plane crash where three servicemen died. Be prepared for a fair amount of challenging uphill climbs.
Ben Utter Trail/ Stepstone Falls
Austin Farm Road, Escoheag
Distance: 3.2 miles
It might be hard to find the entrance to this trail, but it’s worth it if you do. The real magic happens after crossing multiple streams, trekking through unfurling ferns, and passing the remains of an old gristmill. There, Stepstone Falls awaits you. These small, careening falls provide the perfect spot to stop for a rest on your hike.
Long and Ell Ponds
North Road, Hopkinton
Distance: 5.7 miles
This trail is for the serious hiker. Be prepared to climb over rocks and boulders and scale outcroppings as you traverse this scenic expanse of Yawgoog Valley. Trek by Ell and Long ponds as well as the “Pepsi stream,” whose soda pop-colored current warranted its name.
Sachuest Point Road, Middletown
Distance: 2.4 miles
Sachuest Point is a waterfront trail, with scenic vistas of the Sakonnet River and the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re a bird watcher, keep an eye out for red-wing blackbirds, yellow finches, and egrets. The Flint Point loop portion of the trail is a quiet stroll on beach terrain with blooming beach roses spraying the path.
Plainfield Street, Providence
Distance: 0.25 to 1.5 miles
If you’re from Providence or other nearby urban jungles, you don’t have to wander far for a quality hike. Neutaconkanut Hill has a variety of trails that overlook the city, providing a pleasant walk.
Safety tips for the trail
- Wear orange reflector vests if trails border a hunting area. Maxwell Mays, Wolf Hill, Sachuest Point, and Neutaconkanut Hill are “no hunting” zones. There are deer, small game, and turkey hunting at Ben Utter and at Long and Ell Ponds.
- Carry water and a phone.
- If possible, hike in a group.
- Wear sneakers or hiking boots (for more challenging trails).
- Use tick repellant on clothing, and wear light colors so ticks are easier to spot.
- Use insect repellant on skin that contains 20-30% DEET.