Since my family loves spending time in nature, we do a lot of hiking in our home state of Rhode Island. Here are 14 of the easiest and best hiking trails in Rhode Island and one right over the border into Massachusetts.
The Best Hikes in Rhode Island
1. Carr Pond, West Greenwich
Carr Pond is a water reservoir in West Greenwich. On the trail, you will find vestiges of houses and stone walls.
We love this hike because the well-maintained dirt trail is easily accessible, and there are many options for leisurely walks or a long hike around Carr Pond. The whole loop is 4 miles and also brings you to Tarbox Pond. My sons also love the many rocks around to climb.
Mountain bikers also use these trails, as it is one of the best spots for this sport in New England.
Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail, which is open year-round. During hunting season, if you hike this area or other Rhode Island trails, remember to wear an orange hat and vest.
Parking can be difficult for this hike. There is a large lot where New London Turnpike meets Division Road. Many people also park on the street to access the multiple entrance points on Carr Pond Road and Hopkins Hill Road, but there are no parking signs.
2. Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge, Exeter
99 Pardon Joslin Road
On this Audubon property, you will find birds, wildlife, streams, a historic graveyard, and cedar swamps.
3. Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown
583 Third Beach Rd
Covering 325 acres with 7 miles of diverse trails, we love Norman Bird Sanctuary because it starts with flat walks around ponds but leads to an overlook of Third Beach.
There is a parking lot and a fee to enter this sanctuary. Tours guided by naturalists are also available, and it is open from 9 am until 5 pm.
It is also close to the town of Newport, so a great hike to take while visiting there.
4. Purgatory Chasm, Middletown
Tuckerman Avenue, Middletown, RI
This short, flat walk leads to a wooden bridge, a chasm into the ocean, and a sweeping view of Second Beach.
Although it is not a long walk, it is trickier if you want to look down the chasm. If you only want to view the chasm, you can see it after a short hike to a wooden bridge.
The parking is free, but there are only eight spaces which have a thirty-minute time maximum.
5. Stepping Stone Falls, Exeter
This series of shallow waterfalls sits in the Arcadia Management Area.
There are two ways to get to the falls.
You can hike the 3.2-mile round trip Ben Utter Trail to get to them, which follows the Falls River. The parking lot for this trail is on Plain Meeting House Road in Exeter, which is considered a moderate hike.
The other option is to go to 143-165 Falls River Road to start at the falls and hike as far as you want up the trail. Either way, the hike star is the series of cascading short waterfalls.
6. Canonchet Farm, Narragansett
Park at Narragansett Elementary School
This 175 refuge, named after a Native American chief, has a pond, wetlands, and a glacial erratic. There is also a hidden decorated Christmas tree. Can you find it?
It has 1.5-miles of flat trails, which will be a 3-mile hike as a loop.
7. John H. Chafee Wildlife Refuge, North Kingstown
1344 Boston Neck Rd
This hike highlights a view of the Jamestown Bridge and seals in the winter. We do it so often that I wrote a whole post about it. Please read about it here.
8. Ninigrit Wildlife Refuge, Charlestown
5 Park Lane
This hike has four miles of trails set in 858 acres of swamps, grassy fields, and the largest saltwater pond in Rhode Island, Ninigrit Pond. There is even an old airfield. It is a little confusing when you enter the park where to find the hiking trails, and I suggest continuing along the road until it ends in a parking lot.
9. Beavertail State Park, Jamestown
Here are two lighthouses, something I love.
Beavertail State Park provides one of the best sunset views in Rhode Island. It is at the end of Jamestown Island, so you get a panoramic water view.
The 2.3-mile hiking trail loop brings you into forests, or you can scramble along the boulder-covered shoreline. There is also a massive lighthouse and a large lawn for kite flying.
10. Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport
800-870 Ocean Ave
This short (.7- mile loop) dirt hiking trail starts in the Castle Hill Inn parking lot at the end of Ocean Road. The lighthouse is also a great place to watch the sunset.
11. Purgatory Chasm, Sutton, Massachusetts
198 Purgatory Rd.
I included this one since it has long been my boys’ favorite due to all the bouldering they can do. Please read all about it here. It is only about 15 minutes into Massachusetts from Rhode Island.
12. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Middletown
769 Sachuest Point Rd.
This is my favorite Rhode Island hike! If you follow multiple paths, you can hike over two and a half miles on this peninsula between Sachuest Bay and the Sakonnet River. The grasses host many species of birds and animals and many vantage points. Across the bay, you will see the Sakonnet Lighthouse.
Read on for more ways to get outdoors in Rhode Island with One Week of Nature Walks in Rhode Island.
Anytime that you hike, please remember to spray yourself with tick spray. Also, take enough water to keep yourself hydrated for these hikes, and I always have my Contigo water bottle with me. (These Amazon links earn me a commission to support this website.)
What are your favorite hikes in Rhode Island? Any that I missed? Please let me know in the comments.
For more spots with pretty views in Rhode Island, read The Most Instagram Worthy Spots in Rhode Island, The Best Picnic Spots in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and The Best Family Hikes in New England.
2 thoughts on “12 of the Best Rhode Island Hiking Trails”
We do love to head out for hikes when we travel. It was great to read about all the great hikes on Rhode Island. And I love that there are some hiking paths that are good for leisurely strolls for an easier day trip. Such a great variety in the sights on the different hiking paths.
I love that there are so many hikes with beautiful views of the water in RI! Ninigrit Wildlife Refuge looks so serene, and I’d love to watch the sunset at Castle Hill Lighthouse. It looks like the terrain is not too strenuous either, which would be a major draw for me.