While the smallest state in the country is relatively flat with the highest point at 811 feet (
Jerimoth Hill in Foster), there are hundreds of hiking trails throughout. There are coastal trails, hikes through wildlife refuges, and hiking through the forests. Hiking is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in nature and see the natural beauty that our state has to offer. If you want to explore the smallest state on foot, here are some of the best hikes in Rhode Island:
Best Hikes in Rhode Island
If you enjoy beautiful views while getting fresh air, the Ocean State has plenty of areas for that. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Rhode Island you’re going to love!
1. Cliff Walk
Cliff Walk, Newport, RI 02840, USA
Location: Newport Mileage 7-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Metered parking for this trail can be found on several side streets off of Bellevue Ave. as well as on Memorial Blvd. at Easton's Beach and at the end of Narragansett Ave. at Forty Steps. However, there is no fee for parking between November 1 and April 30. There is very little shade along the way so be sure to wear sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring plenty of water especially if you're hiking the Cliff Walk's entirety. Newport's Cliff Walk
is a long winding pathway that meanders between the rocky coastline and the famous Newport Mansions. While most of the trail is flat, there are a few areas you'll need to take extra precautions. However, this trail is utterly picturesque and your jaw will drop at some of the coastal and Gilded-age mansion views.
2. World War II Memorial Loop
Wolf Hill Forest Preserve, Waterview Dr, Smithfield, RI 02917, USA
Location: Smithfield Mileage 4.4-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This is a popular trail that is best to hike between March and October. It's rocky and steep in certain areas so be sure to wear sturdy footwear. Parking is found on Waterview Drive by the Smithfield Police Station or in the small parking lot at the Conservation Center on Waterview Drive.
One of my favorite hikes in my hometown of Smithfield is the
World War II Memorial Loop
. Located at Wolf Hill Forest Preserve, you'll encounter an abandoned Boy Scout camp from the 1940s as well as a rock quarry and a memorial at a World War II bomber crash site. From the Boy Scout campsite, you will have a good view of the Providence skyline in the distance on a clear day.
3. Carr's Pond and Tarbox Pond Location: Coventry Mileage 4-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: The best time of year to hike this trail is between March and December. This is a popular trail for hiking, birding, wildflowers, and wildlife. Parts of the trail are rocky, so keep that in mind. It takes almost 1.5 hours to complete. Dogs are allowed on leash. This area closes occasionally for hunting (dates vary each year).
Located within the 8,300-acre
Big River State Management Area
, this loop trail is kid-friendly, one that the whole family can enjoy! And you'll love the views of the two ponds along the way.
Best Short & Easy Hikes in Rhode Island
Not all hikes in the Ocean State are several hours long. In fact, some of the loveliest hikes are short and easy. If you’re looking for more of a casual stroll than a strenuous hike, check out some of the best short and easy hikes in Rhode Island.
4. Stepstone Falls via Ben Utter Trail
Stepstone Falls, West Greenwich, RI 02817, USA
Location: West Greenwich Mileage 2.7-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail begins at Fall River Road and ends at Plain Road. You'll be led through the forest and along Wood River. Stepstone Falls is not too far up the trail. Parts of the trail are rocky, so plan accordingly.
If you love waterfalls, the
Stepstone Falls via Ben Utter Trail
is for you! Located within the Arcadia State Management Area, this trail is perfect for kids, birding, wildlife viewing, and snowshoeing in the winter.
5. Rome Point Trail
John H. Chafee Rome Point Preserve, 1344 Boston Neck Rd, North Kingstown, RI 02852, USA
Location: Saunderstown Mileage 2.5-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: The parking lot for this trail is located along Route IA. It leads to the rocky coastline and you'll have views of the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge. Leashed dogs are allowed and it's family-friendly. Rome Point Trail
in Saunderstown is another hike that most people as well as kids can enjoy. You can find this trail at the John H. Chafee Nature Preserve on the coast.
6. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge Trail
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, 769 Sachuest Point Rd, Middletown, RI 02842, USA
Location: Middletown Mileage 2.4-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail is ideal any time of year. Easy enough for kids but do not bring your dogs as they are not allowed. The trail is stroller and wheelchair-friendly. There's no shade along the way so apply sunscreen. There's a parking lot off of Sachuest Point Road with two accessible parking spots. Benches along the route allow for rest if needed. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
is one of the most beautiful places in Rhode Island for hiking. With coastal views, wildflowers, birds, and other wildlife, it's a wonderful family-friendly trek. You may even encounter deer along the way and there's a coyote pack that lives here but they are monitored.
Hardest Hikes in Rhode Island
Now that we’ve covered some of the best easy hikes, it’s now time to discuss a few of the hardest hikes in Rhode Island. Up for a challenge? Whether it’s the length or elevation gain you’re after, check out these more strenuous hikes in the Ocean State.
7. Main St to Camp Yawgoog Rd via Narragansett Trail
G64R+58, Hopkinton, RI 02833
Location: Hope Valley Mileage 16-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: The best time to enjoy this trail is between March and October. For those who want to trek its entirety, be sure to come prepared with hiking boots, water, snacks, and whatever else you think you'll need. While a popular trail, it's quiet during certain times of the day. Parts of the trail are rocky and there's an overall elevation gain of 1,325 feet. Dogs are allowed on leash.
This 16-mile trek is located in the 1,002-acre Rockville Management and Public Fishing Area. Along the way, you'll encounter tree tunnels, bodies of water, historic sites, and rocks to climb over. It's certainly not a boring hike but not a hike for the faint of heart either. If you're able to do this hike, be sure to set aside enough time and take in the stunning views along the way.
8. Upper Piney, Sawmill, Elephant, Pinto, Ring Road, Venom, Out and Back
West Greenwich, RI 02817, USA
Location: West Greenwich Mileage 16.8-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This hard hike gives an elevation gain of 1,043 feet and will take nearly 6 hours to complete. This area is subject to seasonal hunting closures. Mountain bikers also frequent this trail.
This hike through Big River State Management Area has a little bit of everything -- woods, ponds, streams, waterfalls, an old pump house, a labyrinth, and more. There's nothing boring about this hike as there's just so much to see along the way.
9. North South Trail, Wood River Junction and Exeter Location: Wood River Junction Mileage 16.5-mile point-to-point trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This lengthy trek takes nearly 6 hours to complete so take everything you'll need with you. Overall elevation gain is 1,005 feet. Dogs are allowed on leash. Parts of the trail are rocky, overgrown, and muddy while other parts are along the road, so keep that in mind. Be sure to take bug spray with you to ward off mosquitos.
This hike takes you through Wood River Junction, a village in the town of Richmond in Washington County. Whether you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, or birdwatching, this is a great trail system for a variety of activities.
Best Waterfront Hikes in Rhode Island
With over 400 miles of coastline, the smaller state in the country has its fair share of stunning waterfront hikes. If you love to be by the water like I do, here are some of the best-rated waterfront hikes in Rhode Island:
10. Long Pond Woods Trail
Rockville management area / blue pond trail, G64R+58, Hopkinton, RI 02833, USA
Location: Hope Valley Mileage 4.5-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: The parking lot is located on Stubtown Road. It can be tricky finding and staying on the trail as it's not well-marked in certain areas so be sure to download the map from AllTrails+ before you go. This trail has an overall elevation gain of 469 feet. No dogs are allowed.
Located within the Rockville Management and Fishing Area, the
Long Pond Woods Trail
is an adventure through the woods and to a pristine lake you'll absolutely love. While this trail is rated as moderate, it's still kid-friendly. It's a popular area for birdwatching and hiking so you'll most likely have company on your trek.
11. Lincoln Woods Trail
Lincoln Woods State Park, 2 Manchester Print Works Rd, Lincoln, RI 02865, USA
Location: Lincoln Mileage 3.1-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Lincoln Woods State Park is located off of Route 146 and Route 123. Leashed dogs are allowed in the park. There is no fee to enjoy the park.
Located at Lincoln Woods State Park, the
Lincoln Woods Trail
is a fantastic scenic and family-friendly hike that can be done throughout the year. I went here numerous times during my childhood and have fond memories of it. It's such a pretty trail that leads through the woods and by Olney Pond. You'll also see plenty of boulders and possibly some rock climbers on this trail. This is a great park for picnicking and swimming, too, so feel free to bring lunch and your swimsuit.
12. Napatree Point Conservation Area Trail
Napatree Point Conservation Area, Fort Rd, Westerly, RI 02891, USA
Location: Watch Hill Mileage 3.2-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Located at Napatree Point Conservation Area, this easy trail is popular for birdwatching as well as hiking and it's perfect year-round. Dogs are allowed on leash except between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. from May 2 through Labor Day.
Take a hike by the sea along the
Napatree Point Conservation Area Trail
in the Watch Hill neighborhood of Westerly. With ocean views, it's one of the best Rhode Island hiking trails.
Best Winter Hikes in Rhode Island
While winter may not seem like an ideal time for hiking, some prefer trekking along the trails during the cold months as there’s a sense of calm, peace, and solitude. If this sounds like something you’d love to do, here are some of the best winter hikes in Rhode Island.
13. West Warwick Riverwalk Location: West Warwick Mileage 1-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Parking for this trail is located in a lot on Factory Street and includes a couple of accessible spots. The paved trail can accommodate most strollers and wheelchairs and the average width of the trail is 8 feet. Dogs are allowed on leash.
Along the south branch of the Pawtuxet River, this easy trail eventually leads to the Royal Mills dam and its waterfall. You'll also see a former mill that's been repurposed as an apartment building.
14. Waterman Pond
Waterman Pond, Coventry, RI 02827, USA
Waterman Hill Road, Waterman Hill Rd, Coventry, RI 02827, USA
Location: Coventry Mileage 0.8-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail is great for both hiking and birdwatching. Kid-friendly due to its easy rating and the fact that it's under a mile. No dogs are allowed. You'll find parking at the intersection of Plainfield Pike.
Waterman Pond is a lovely body of water in the Greene area of Coventry. Part of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, the 28-acre Waterman Pond Wildlife Refuge has only one trail that leads to Sisson Pond.
15. Grassy Point Trail
Ninigret Park, 5 Park Ln, Charlestown, RI 02813, USA
Location: Charlestown Mileage 1.3-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This kid-friendly hike will take you through a variety of ecosystems and the opportunity to view birds and other wildlife. Grassy Point Trail
provides an easy hike through Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge in Charlestown. Not only will you see wildlife and plenty of birds who are here for the winter but remnants of the former Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Landing Field that became obsolete in 1970. There's nothing boring about this hike as there's so much to see, both natural and manmade. And it's most enjoyable during the winter.
Best Hikes Near Providence
Our capital city of Providence is also home to some fantastic hikes. There’s the area around Roger Williams Park Zoo not to mention the Providence Riverwalk that provides city dwellers a great place to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and scenery. While in Providence, check out the following hikes:
16. Neutaconkanut Hill Park Loop
Legion Memorial Drive, Legion Memorial Dr, Providence, RI 02909, USA
Location: Providence Mileage 1.7-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This easy trail has an elevation gain of 229 feet and is popular so you'll most likely encounter other hikers along the way. Dogs are allowed on leash. As sections of the trail aren't well-marked, download the map from AllTrails before starting.
Want to see Providence as you've never seen it before? Take a trek along the
Neutaconkanut Hill Park Loop
to the top of the hill and get a bird's eye view of the city below. This trail is located at the Neutaconkanut Hill Conservancy which boasts fields, forests, and a trail as well as recreational facilities.
17. Providence River Walk
Providence River Walk, US-44, Providence, RI 02903, USA
Location: Providence Mileage 2.4-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This flat paved trail is accessible to wheelchairs, mobility equipment, and strollers and is 6 feet wide. Dogs are allowed. Parking can be found at a lot off Bridge Street at the trail's south end and there are two accessible parking spots there.
If you've lived in Providence or visited the city, chances are you've taken a stroll along the iconic
Providence River Walk
. This happens to be one of my favorite walks in the state with its jaw-dropping views and easy access to other parts of the city. The walkway runs along the river and there are several road crossings so keep that in mind.
18. Temple View Trail
Temple to Music, F C Greene Memorial Blvd, Providence, RI 02910, USA
Location: Providence Mileage 0.5-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Take the Yellow Diamond Trail from the parking lot at Roger Williams Park. This trail isn't as popular as some in the area so you may have it all to yourself.
This short and easy trail at
Roger Williams Park
will give you views of the park's lovely Temple to Music. This historic building had its very first performance in 1924 and hosts performances by the Rhode Island Philharmonic to this day. It's such a lovely building in the park and it's worth taking a short hike to see it.
How would you like to take one of the best hikes in Rhode Island? What are some of your favorite trails in the state? Let us know in the comments!
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More to Explore
Best Hikes In Rhode Island
Does Rhode Island have good hiking trails?
Yes, Rhode Island has many good hiking trails. Some of the best areas for hiking include the following:
Check out AllTrails+ for more and you can try it for free!
What are the best months to hike in Rhode Island?
The best months to hike in Rhode Island are from early May through mid-October if you’re looking for a warmer weather hike. However, there are numerous trails that can be hiked throughout the year. Just make sure you are prepared with cold-weather gear if hiking in the winter.
Check out the Ultimate Hiking Packing List for gear you may need for hiking throughout the year.
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