Narragansett Trail

Here’s a map of the Narragansett Trail:

This route is 5 miles. I learned about the Narragansett Trail from Ken Weber’s Walks and Rambles in Rhode Island, though most of the trail is actually in Connecticut. Weber says that the highlight of the trail is a “magnificent ravine.” The ravine is even more scenic than I expected; it’s especially scenic after a rain, when the Green Fall River is racing through it. I recommend visiting after a moderate amount of rain. If you go after lots of rain, the trail might be soggy, and the streams might be dangerous to cross. Here’s a picture of the ravine:

The route on my map begins at the boundary that divides Rhode Island and Connecticut. Then it goes north along the state line, passing mountain laurel and erratic boulders (Weber speaks of “laurel thickets that remain green all year and blossom spectacularly in June”). Then it turns west into Connecticut, and goes around Green Fall Pond. At the southern end of the pond, it takes a wooden bridge over a dam, then turns right and follows Green Fall River through a ravine. Then it meets a dirt road, turns left, and follows dirt roads back to the starting-point. The beginning of the trail is in the Yawgoog Scout Reservation, the latter part of the trail is in the Pachaug State Forest.

On my map, I put a “C” on some interesting cliffs. Google Maps calls the cliffs “Dinosaur Caves,” but there seem to be neither dinosaurs nor caves. The trail loops at this point; for a better view of the cliffs, take the loop; if you want a more direct route, you can skip the loop.

I put an “L” on a broad ledge — lots of smooth rock. Weber calls it “one of the larger stone ridges.” Is my ledge the same as his ridge? His map indicates that I should have gone further to reach the ridge. At any rate, you can go further, or skip this detour altogether.

I put a “D” on a detour that’s just before a stream. The stream seems to have been dammed by beavers, creating a narrow pond. Like the previous detour, this detour ends at a large rock, but this rock is taller, and would require climbing.

I put an “M” at a mill site, a charming stream/cascade that has the remains of an old mill. The mill race is a stone tunnel. (A mill race is a secondary stream, built by the mill-owner. It allows for a controlled flow of water, a flow with the direction and force needed by the mill.) Here’s a picture of the cascade:

The trail continues toward the upper-right of this picture, it doesn’t cross the stream here. The stream is on the left of this picture, the mill race (the end of the mill race) is in the upper-right. Ken Weber describes the mill race as “a long, stone-lined tunnel.” The trail continues for perhaps 50 yards from this spot, then meets the stream again, and crosses it. At this crossing is the start of the stone-lined tunnel.

I put an “O” at an option where you can take the BlueRed trail (as I did), or the BlueOrange trail, which goes closer to the water. A third option is to go south, along the eastern shore of the pond; this is the shortest option, and the one Weber describes in his book.

I marked the “Sluice Cairn” with an “S”. A web-page says, “The cairn was apparently part of a sluice system that diverted water to a shingle mill in the late 19th century.”

For more info on trails in southeastern Connecticut, visit the website of the Avalonia Land Conservancy.