Here’s a 5-mile section of the Narragansett Trail:
I learned about this route from Ken Weber’s Walks and Rambles in Rhode Island, though most of it is actually in Connecticut. The whole Narragansett Trail is 25-30 miles (about 60% is in Connecticut, 40% in Rhode Island).
Weber says that the highlight of the 5-mile route 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, the streams might be dangerous to cross, and the ledges might be slippery. Here’s a picture of the ravine:
The route on my map begins at the boundary that divides Rhode Island and Connecticut. The parking area is on the right side (north side) of the road, it’s big enough for perhaps three cars. There’s a trail directly in front of the parking area. Ignore that trail, the real trail starts a few feet further west (further along the road), there are signs marking it.
This is the Narragansett Trail, it goes to the right (north). You’ll see yellow blazes, light-blue blazes, and dark-blue blazes. The Narragansett Trail is marked with light-blue blazes, the Tippecansett Trail is marked with yellow blazes, the Freeman Trail with dark-blue blazes.
Walk north, along the state line, for 10-15 minutes. You’ll see mountain laurel and erratic boulders (Weber speaks of “laurel thickets that remain green all year and blossom spectacularly in June”). 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.
After you’ve passed “Dinosaur Caves,” after you’ve walked 10-15 minutes from the parking area, the Narragansett Trail turns left (west), and heads into Connecticut, the other two trails turn right (east). I suggest you turn left, and follow the Narragansett Trail. (If you turn right, you’ll come to a broad ledge of bare rock. Weber calls it “one of the larger stone ridges,” and Weber says it’s “considered the southern terminus of the Tippecansett Trail.” On my map, I put an “L” on this ledge. John Kostrzewa writes in the Providence Journal that “Tippecansett” means “great clearing.” Could this broad ledge be the great clearing? Is that why it’s the terminus/destination of the trail? From the clearing, the yellow trail heads north to Beach Pond, and the dark-blue trail heads south to Yawgoog Pond.)
The beginning of this 5-mile trail is in the Yawgoog Scout Reservation, the latter part of the trail is in the Pachaug State Forest. The last 20% of the trail is on dirt roads that lead back to the parking area.
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. This detour ends at a large rock, which would require climbing.
Cross the stream on a wooden bridge, then scramble up the steep outcrop. After a short distance, you’ll see a stone niche on the left side of the trail; I marked the location “N”.
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 downstream 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 the spot of this picture, then meets the stream again, and crosses it. Near this crossing is the start of the stone-lined tunnel (the upstream end of the tunnel). After heavy rain, this might be a difficult crossing.
After you cross the stream, you’ll come to an opening in the woods. A short, dead-end trail on the right leads to a lean-to that’s used by campers; make sure you follow the light blue blazes of the Narragansett Trail. (The stream you just crossed is Peg Mill Brook; the lean-to is marked “Peg Mill Shelter” on Google Maps.)
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, it’s the one Weber describes in his book, and it’s the one I recommend.
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.”
I discuss another scenic section of the Narragansett Trail here. Click here for a 22-mile version of the Narragansett Trail, showing both the Connecticut section and the RhodeIsland section. As far as I can tell, the closed sections of the trail are still closed.
Click here for a 16-mile section of the Narragansett Trail; this section is entirely in Rhode Island. Instead of stopping at Stubtown Road, it continues south for another 6-7 miles. It finally stops at a spot that Google Maps calls “Canonchet Preserves” (near 730 Main Street, Hope Valley, RI; Main Street is a road with many names, it’s also known as Route 3 and Nooseneck Hill Road).
For more info on trails in southeastern Connecticut, visit the website of the Avalonia Land Conservancy.