Are you ready for an adventure that combines exercise, natural beauty, and exploration? Look no further than hiking Rhode Island! Despite being the smallest state in the US, Rhode Island has an impressive variety of hiking trails that offer stunning scenery, unique wildlife, and a chance to connect with nature. In this article, we will explore the best hiking trails in Rhode Island, from challenging mountain climbs to peaceful seaside walks.
Why Hiking in Rhode Island is Worthwhile
Rhode Island may be small in size, but it’s big on outdoor recreation. Hiking in Rhode Island is a great way to get exercise, fresh air, and beautiful views of the state’s natural scenery. Rhode Island’s diverse landscapes include beaches, forests, and mountains, and you can experience them all on the state’s hiking trails.
Rhode Island’s hiking trails are also rich in history and culture. Many of the trails were once used by Native Americans, and others have ties to colonial-era settlements. Hiking in Rhode Island is a chance to learn about the state’s past and present while enjoying the great outdoors.
Hiking Gear Essentials: What to Pack for Your Hike
Before you hit the trail, make sure you have the right gear to keep you safe and comfortable. Here are some essential items to pack for your hike in Rhode Island:
- Sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction
- Lightweight, breathable clothing appropriate for the weather
- Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses to protect against UV rays
- Insect repellent to ward off ticks and mosquitoes
- Plenty of water and snacks
- Trail map and compass or GPS device
- First-aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers
Best Hiking Trails in Rhode Island
Rhode Island offers a variety of hiking trails for all skill levels. Here are some of the best trails to explore:
Newport Cliff Walk
The Newport Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile trail that follows the coastline from Easton’s Beach to Bailey’s Beach. Along the way, you’ll pass by historic mansions, rocky cliffs, and stunning ocean views. This easy trail is perfect for a leisurely stroll or jog.
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
The Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is a 242-acre protected area that offers several hiking trails through salt marshes, sand dunes, and grasslands. The 2.5-mile loop trail provides views of the Atlantic Ocean and opportunities to spot migratory birds and other wildlife.
Arcadia Management Area
The Arcadia Management Area is Rhode Island’s largest recreational area, covering over 14,000 acres. The area features over 70 miles of hiking trails, including the challenging Mount Tom Trail, which ascends to the highest point in the area at 1,270 feet. The area is also home to several campgrounds and fishing spots.
Diamond Hill State Park
Located in Cumberland, Diamond Hill State Park is a great place for hikers to explore. The park features a network of trails that wind through forests, fields, and over streams. The trails range in difficulty, from easy to moderate, so there’s something for everyone. The highlight of the park is the 20-acre pond that sits at the top of the hill, offering stunning views of the surrounding area.
Fort Barton Woods
Located in Tiverton, Fort Barton Woods is a historic park that offers hikers a chance to explore Rhode Island’s past while enjoying some beautiful scenery. The park features a number of trails that wind through the woods and past historic sites, such as the remains of an 18th-century fort. The trails are easy to moderate in difficulty, making them a great option for families with children.
Located in Middletown, Purgatory Chasm is a unique geological formation that offers hikers a chance to explore a narrow, rocky gorge. The park features a number of trails that wind through the chasm and up to the top of the hill, offering stunning views of the surrounding area. The trails are moderately difficult, so they’re best for hikers with some experience.
Lincoln Woods State Park
Located in Lincoln, Lincoln Woods State Park is a popular destination for hikers, bikers, and picnickers. The park features a network of trails that wind through forests and over streams, offering hikers a chance to explore some beautiful Rhode Island scenery. The trails range in difficulty from easy to moderate, so there’s something for everyone.
Ben Utter Trail
Located in West Greenwich, the Ben Utter Trail is a challenging hike that offers hikers a chance to explore some of Rhode Island’s most rugged terrain. The trail winds through forests and over hills, offering stunning views of the surrounding area. The trail is best for experienced hikers who are up for a challenge.
Blackstone River Greenway
Located in Cumberland, the Blackstone River Greenway is a paved trail that’s perfect for hikers and bikers of all skill levels. The trail winds along the Blackstone River, offering beautiful views of the water and surrounding area. The trail is easy to moderate in difficulty, making it a great option for families.
Hiking Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe on the Trail
While hiking is a great way to explore Rhode Island’s beautiful scenery, it’s important to take steps to ensure your safety while on the trail. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on your next hike:
1. Plan your route ahead of time
Before you hit the trail, take some time to plan your route. Make sure you know the distance and difficulty level of the trail, and let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
2. Dress appropriately
Make sure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the conditions you’ll be hiking in. Dress in layers, so you can adjust your clothing as needed, and wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with good traction.