Social distancing is asking us to do our part to stop the spread of the Corona Virus. It is not easy, but it is essential. Luckily for Rhode Islanders, we live in a beautiful state. Rhode Island offers diverse wildlife and beautiful hiking. Here are 5 family-friendly hikes (don’t worry, there are many more to come).
The Florence Sutherland Fort & Richard Knight Fort Nature Refuge:
Address: 1445 Providence Pike (Rt. 5), North Smithfield, RI 02896
Hours: Open sunrise to sunset
Trails: 3.5 miles
Trail Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Hikers and birders alike will appreciate the Fort Wildlife Refuge for its diverse habitat in Northern Rhode Island. This 235-acre property includes miles of trails that lead to three idyllic ponds. Teeming with a variety of animals as well as beautiful wetland plants, these ponds provide visitors with scenic destinations for wildlife observation and photography.
- Habitat: forest, ponds, wetlands
- Wildlife to watch for: beaver, otter, muskrat, fox, deer, frog, turtle
- Birds commonly found: Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl, Pine Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, Wild Turkey, Great Blue Heron, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Duck
Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge:
Address: 99 Pardon Joslin Road, Exeter, RI 02822
Phone: (401) 295-8283
Hours: Open Sunrise to Sunset
Trails: 5 miles
Trail Difficulty: easy to moderate
Audubon’s largest public property, the Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge contains a wide variety of habitat including fields, upland beech forest, cedar swamp, ponds, and streams. Bridges bring visitors over a small waterfall as well as clear running streams. A lovely historic cemetery can also be found on the property.
- Wildlife to watch for: beaver, otter, muskrat, fox, deer, wood frog, spring peeper
- Birds commonly found: Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, American Woodcock, Pileated Woodpecker, Arcadian Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, Hooded Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager.
East Bay Scenic Walk/Bike Path:
The East Bay Bike Path is the first multi-town bike path built in Rhode Island. It travels 14.5 miles from India Point Park in Providence to Independence Park in Bristol, which follows the shoreline of Narragansett Bay. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells as the path takes you by coves and marshes, over bridges that pass through many local recreational areas.
Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge:
2082 Victory Highway in Coventry
The late Rhode Island artist Maxwell Mays donated over 295 acres of diverse wildlife habitat to Audubon in 2010. The property offers trails through upland forests, wetlands, streams, ponds, and open meadow. The 11-acre Carr Pond, situated entirely within the bounds of the wildlife refuge, is the centerpiece of the property. It is home to river otters as well as many types of freshwater fish and aquatic invertebrates.
- Habitat: forest, ponds, wetlands, streams, and open meadow
- Wildlife to watch for: deer, fox, coyote, red squirrel
- Birds commonly found: Wild Turkey, Hooded Merganser, Eastern Bluebird, Barred Owl, Black-throated Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole2082
Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge:
12 Sanderson Road in Smithfield
Trails: 2.5 miles
Trail Difficulty: easy to moderate
Powder Mill Ledges is home to 100 acres of habitat graced with deep woodlands and interesting rock outcroppings. You will also find the Audubon Society of Rhode Island headquarters at this refuge. The location serves as a hub for nature hikes, programs, lectures and events. In addition to hiking and bird watching, it is an ideal winter destination for snowshoeing.
- Habitat: deep woodlands, small pond, meadows, pine forest and rock outcroppings
- Wildlife to watch for: red fox, grey fox, spring peeper, grey tree frog, green frog, painted turtle, deer
- Birds commonly found: Wild Turkey, Cooper’s Hawk, Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Pine Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Red-eyed Vireo.