Fall is almost here. Hot, muggy days have already turned cool and brisk. T-shirts and shorts will make way for hoodies and jeans. Soon, there will be a Halloween isle at CVS, and I have already started my yearly regimen of binge watching horror movies.
Grab Your Hoodie and Get Out!
On most weekends, my friends and I can be found wandering around in the woods of Rhode Island. Year after year, we trudge through the bitter winter cold and the sweltering summer heat. We walk across frozen swamps on the coldest days and fish for trout on the hottest. Unless there is a natural catastrophe, a wedding or a child’s birthday party, Sundays are reserved for the woods.
Fall is my favorite time to be outdoors. The foliage puts on a stunning display of bright and muted colors. Conversations are mixed with the sound of crunching leaves under each step, and breaking a sweat is much more pleasant in the brisk autumn air. There are many great trails available to us for hiking, and none of them are too far away. Well, maybe they are by RI standards, but most are accessible within a 40-minute drive. Here are just a few suggestions:
Goddard Memorial State Park near East Greenwich provides easy terrain for the whole family. The trails are wide and well groomed, and the ocean view makes the hike unique. There is ample parking, and you are likely to see other people doing the same. The 1.4 mile loop is easy and fun, and a great spot to bring the kids.
If heading deeper into the woods sounds more appealing, you’ll find good hiking at Arcadia Management Area in Exeter. There is a 10.6 mile looping trail, and the terrain is moderate, or at least a little more challenging than Goddard Park. Just be careful. Hunting season begins September 15 and ends January 31, so you will have to wear orange clothing. At least 200 square inches of orange to be exact, and it is the law. December 2 – 17 is shotgun season, which requires you wear 500 square inches. Just do it. It is for your own safety.
Lincoln Woods is a good spot for easy family hiking. The trails veer off into more challenging terrain for the more adventurous. Parking is easy and abundant, and the main path, which loops around a lake, is a paved road that is anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 miles, depending on which way you choose to go. The hike is as challenging as you want to make it. Though heavily trafficked during the summer, the crowds tend to thin out by fall.
Carr’s Pond in East Greenwich makes for a nice fall hike. The trails are marked, and the terrain varies from easy to moderate. Just be careful to not orient yourself to the nearby Tarbox Pond on your Google Maps. I did that once and was lost for a little bit. In fact, it is a good idea to take a look at a map before you head out to any of these places. I have found myself a little “off track” at all of them on a few occasions. Just remember that most woods in Rhode Island eventually hit a main road if you wander long enough, so you probably won’t get too lost.
Alltrails.com is an excellent resource for hiking trails all over Rhode Island. It gives you key info on each trail, like its difficulty rating, if you can bring dogs, if there is fishing or camping and much more.