Hiking is a great way for you to have some time to yourself, enjoy the great outdoors, and generally have a good time. It’s no secret that hiking in Rhode Island is a great thing to do, but there are many other reasons why the walking trails in this Southern New England state is such an amazing experience.
Rhode Island is a state with a rocky shoreline and diverse forest habitats. That’s why you’ll find so many places to take nature walks with scenic views around every turn. You can take a leisurely stroll along a sandy beach, go bird watching, take nature photographs, or take a hike on dirt trails in the woods.
So the next time you’re visiting the eastern shore of the United States, grab your hiking boots and check out some scenic walking trails in the Ocean State. You can enjoy ocean views along a salt marsh, stone walls within a majestic old forest, or migratory birds on the rocky coastline.
Taking a hike along walking trail can open up your horizons to places you may never have seen before. You may even spot a historic cemetery with the grave of a Revolutionary War veteran or the wildlife habitats of local wildlife.
Even if you are new to hiking, you’ll find easy trails and moderate trails full of scenery. Hiking in Rhode Island teaches you to appreciate nature in all its glory.
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Outdoor activities available in Rhode Island
Rhode Island is a small state with a lot to offer in the way of outdoor activities. From camping, hiking, and fishing to golfing, tennis, and even water sports there are plenty of things to do when it comes time to enjoy your time outdoors. Hiking is a great way to spend your time out in nature with the beauty of the outdoors surrounding you. You might even get to see some wildlife!
Rhode Island has a large amount of scenic trails that are easy and accessible for all ages. They offer trails that have a lot of history and scenic beauty that will surely put a smile on your face while you’re out hiking.
Hanging Rock Trail is one of the most famous hiking trails because it’s known to be one of the most beautiful in the state. One of the many things that make hiking in Rhode Island so great is that there is a lot to do and see for those that enjoy the outdoors.
How to get started with hiking
Whether you’re a novice or expert hiker, the five tips below will help you get started and make sure you don’t commit any rookie mistakes.
- Contact your local hiking club – they can help you find beginner hikes that match your skill level and offer guidance on how to prepare for your hike.
- Do the research – Once you’ve found a trail that feels right, research it – check for distance, elevation, terrain, weather conditions and accessibility.
- Get fit! – Try to exercise every day to give your body the best chance of recovering from a long hike.
- Time your hike – don’t expect to hike for three hours, and definitely don’t take on a hike at the weekend when you’re tired and sore.
- Wear proper gear – you’ll want a good pair of hiking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and a good camera (or phone) to capture the views.
Why hiking in Rhode Island is good for your mental health
Hiking is a wonderful way to relieve stress. It offers mental health benefits, helps individuals meet new people, and create lifelong memories. Rhode Island is the perfect location for any hiker!
Taking a long walk outside is a great way to bond with family and friends. Especially if you’re planning on taking others along on a hike. Hiking can be a great way to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy the outdoors together.
List of best Rhode Island walking trails
What’s better than getting outside and enjoying the fresh air? Rhode island is full of scenic places that are perfect for all levels of hikers. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk through nature, or something more challenging, these are the top trails in Rhode Island.
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Reserve – Middletown
Sauchest Point is one of my favorite hikes to do when I’m trying to get pictures of wildlife. There are deer that frequent the park that aren’t afraid of people as well as lots of cool shoreline birds. Recently, bird watchers have been flocking to this area to catch a glimpse of a certain Arctic visitor who’s here for the winter!
Not only are there plenty of animal life to see, but there are great views of the sound! You can see views from the trails, but they also have viewing platforms. The National Wildlife Refuge Trail definitely has a lot to offer if you are looking to go hiking in Rhode Island!
Hanging Rock Trail – Middletown
This trail is just right around the corner from Sauchest Point. The Hanging Rock is one of the most well-known hiking trails in Rhode Island. This trail is perfect for beginners and people of all levels.
The Hanging Rock is a perfect hike for those that enjoy a beautiful view and nature. The trail winds through the lush beauty of the Rhode Island forest and offers many different views.
Black Point Trail – Narragansett
The Black Point trail is the perfect spot for a hike that is no longer than an hour. It’s a wonderful view of the beaches, and is perfect for those that want to relax and enjoy the the ocean. There are also some cool ruins that can be seen along the trail.
Cliff Walk – Newport
The Cliff Walk in Newport is an absolute must see! The Cliff Walk takes you along the coast along the rocky uplands of Newport and also along the mansions and Salve Regina’s beautiful campus.
This walk is a seven miles out and back hike if you do the full length. There are various points that you can start the trail from. If you have the stamina, it’s worth the long hike! I would recommend going on a nice sunny afternoon because it can get pretty chilly on the shoreline! This walking path is great for
Long Pond Woods Trail – Hopkinton
The Long Pond Woods trail is one of the more challenging hikes in Rhode Island due to some elevation gain. The 220 acres of rocky and steep terrain provide an incomparable bird’s eye view of Long Pond. The park features plenty of woods and nature for a nice peaceful hike. While this trail is in Rhode Island, there are some trails that lead into Connecticut!
Rocky Point Walking Trail – Warwick
Rocky Point State Park has been a long time favorite for many Rhode Island natives. You can get some great views of the coastline on this 1.6 mile loop for all skill levels. The paved parking area also has 5 designated accessible spaces.
Beavertail State Park – Jamestown
Beavertail State Park is one of my favorite places to hike in Rhode Island. Not only is the Beavertail trail along the cliffs filled with great views, but there’s also a lighthouse, old bunkers, and lots of wildlife!
The Beavertail trail itself is a 2.3 mile loop. While I love the Cliff Walk, I tend to come here because the parking situation is much less stressful. I get the rocky areas I like, without having to deal with parking meters. Plus, there are great views of the water from the parking area as well.
Mount Hope Trail – Bristol
The Mount Hope Trail is a great place to enjoy a peaceful hike in Rhode Island. This is a perfect location for a hike that is no longer than an hour. It is a 2.5 mile loop that is partially paved. The trail offers breath taking views of the ocean.
Swan Point Cemetery Perimeter Loop – Providence
The Swan Point Cemetery Perimeter trail is a 2.4 mile loop located near downtown Providence. The trail is good for all skill levels. It features views of the Seekonk River, but make sure you wear boots that are appropriate for muddy areas.
There’s also lots of wildlife to see, especially birds. You can choose to explore any of the inner portions of this trail the cemetery is old and has many paths to explore, just make sure you’re respectful.
Fort Adams State Park – Newport
Situated at the mouth of the Newport Harbor, Fort Adams offers an exceptional panoramic view of both Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. After your hike, you can also take a tour of the historic Fort Adams!
Weetamoo Woods Trail – Tiverton
Weetamoo Woods features various hiking trails with lots of scenic views. If you’re worried about getting lost on the various trails that this park has to offer, make sure you download the AllTrails app (or one that’s similar) to help you navigate the woods!
Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge – Tiverton
Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge is a 1.6 mile hike that is great for all skill levels. This trail features some nice views of the Sakonnet River and it’s also a great place to go bird-watching. There’s also some nice trails through nice wooded areas.
Napatree Point – Watch Hill
Napatree is special to me because it is where my boyfriend took me on our first date. I was completely in awe by the beauty of the beach. This is a great trail for people that want to enjoy some fresh air.
This is a great trail to explore, and there are many places to take photos. The views from the top of the dunes gives you a great view of the ocean and the sound. There is also an old war bunker situated at the end of the trail!
Colt State Park – Bristol
With 464 acres of lawns, four miles of paved pathways, hiking trails, historic stone walls, and one of the state’s most spectacular shorelines, Colt State Park is a favorite among visitors and locals alike.
The trails are very flat, so it’s a great place to go hiking with the whole family. On top of hiking, this is a great place for photographers. It’s also pretty accessible. The parking area off of Asylum Road has 9 designated accessible parking spaces.
Neutaconkanut Hill Park Loop – Providence
The Neutaconkanut Hill Park loop is truly a hidden treasure in Providence. There are various trails to explore, each with their own treasures. Some features of the various trails include a small bridge and gentle stream and large jagged rocks that had huge spiritual significance to the Native Americans.
Quonochontaug Pond and Beach Sand Trail – Weekapaug
This is one of my favorite spots to go for hikes in Rhode Island. One year, I was coming to this trail at least once a week because I had discovered seals hanging out in the pond. While they were not close at all, I was able to see and photograph them with my 600mm zoom lens.
Even if you’re not a wildlife fanatic like I am, you can enjoy a nice leisurely walk down the beach and listen to the calming sounds of the waves crashing along the shore. There’s also a great overlook just up the road.
Big River Management Area – West Greenwich
This area in West Greenwich has so many different trails to explore. This area features of forests, wetlands, various rivers, and ponds, including Carr’s Pond. Due to how many trails there are, make sure you get the trail map, whether you print it out or download it to your cellphone.
Clay Head Trail – Block Island
Taking a trip to Block Island? There’s more to do than just going to the beach! Believe it or not, there are a couple hikes to do on the island. The Clay Head trail is an out and back hike with great views of the ocean. The views are so unique along the edge of the island. It’s worth every mile!
Fort Getty State Park – Jamestown
Fort Getty Park is located in Jamestown, which is an island in between Newport and the mainland. This park features a beautiful rocky beach that’s great for walks. You can even view Dutch Island Lighthouse from the park. This park is also a campground so it’s great if you’re into hiking and camping!
Watchaug Pond Trail – Charlestown
Watchaug Pond Trail is located in Charlestown, Rhode Island. There is an easy walking trail through the woods that takes you right to the pond. It is a 2.2 loop that is doable for all skill levels. It’s also a great place to take dogs for a walk. Dogs love to swim in the pond!
Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge Trail – Wakefield
The Trustom Pond Trail is a 2.5 mile loop that features various wild flowers and other vegetation. There are plenty of wild animals to see, and they even have a viewing deck that you can watch wildlife from.
When I hiked this trail, I saw ospreys and pair of swans with their babies. It’s a nice relaxing walk that is great for all skill levels. This is actually one of my boyfriend’s grandmother’s favorite spots for Rhode Island hiking.
Rodman’s Hollow – Block Island
This 230-acre glacial outwash basin, located in the southwest part of Block Island never disappoints. Not only is the landscape breath taking, but there are so many plants and wildlife to see here. You can be sure to experience some great birding, hiking, and panoramic views of the ocean.
North Lighthouse Trail – Block Island
The North Lighthouse Trail is a nice walk along the beach on the northern end of the island. There is plenty of wildlife to see here, including seals that frequent the area! You can also walk up to the historic North Lighthouse! It’s a beautiful walk, especially in the summer.
There are a variety of trails to choose from in Rhode Island, from paved paths, coastal paths, and forested paths. There are various hikes for all skill levels throughout the state.
There are a ton of nature trails in Rhode Island with some scenic views. Just keep in mind, most of the trails are relatively flat. If you’re used to hiking mountains and trails with elevation gain, you might find these trails fairly easy. But, the hikes in the Ocean State are worth it for the views!
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