Climbing & Hiking Trails - 13 min read

15 Best Rhode Island Hiking Trails (All Seasons)

Alaina Johnson

Alaina Johnson, Updated November 8, 2022

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Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the United States, but it doesn’t lack stunning views and interesting things to do. The state has many historical sites, as well as a coastline that is brimming with seashells and wildlife. If you’re looking to get outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty that the state has to offer, there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from.

Whether you’re looking for beachfront trails, pine forest paths, or routes that lead to a panoramic outlook, Rhode Island has something for everyone. Many trails are pet and kid-friendly, meaning you can bring the whole family along. During the summer months, there can be an influx of mosquitos so don’t forget the bug spray!

There’s nothing more revitalizing than getting outdoors, exploring nature, and breathing in the crisp fresh air. If you’ve been looking for a nearby hiking trail in Rhode Island, you’re sure to find several exciting options below.

1. Rome Point Trail

Credit: manny120683 / Flickr

Rome Point Trail is a short loop trail that generally takes hikers under an hour to complete. There are often birders exploring the area, as many native species call the space home.

During the winter, the trail is popular with cross-country skiers. If you want to hike with your dog, make sure to bring a leash. The trial is open all year and is beautiful during all four seasons.

If you’re taking on the trail during the warmer months, bring bug spray as mosquitos and flies can be a nuisance in some areas. You’ll likely spot various signs of wildlife along the path, including chipmunks!

The trails are wide and well-maintained. If you want to make an afternoon of this hike, you can bring a picnic lunch.

You’ll reach a beautiful beach and a cove at the end of the trail, where you can take a dip. There is even a possibility of seeing seals on the beach.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.4 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 68 Feet

2. Cumberland Monastery Trail

Credit: Andrew S. / AllTrails

The Cumberland Monastery Trail is a loop route that may take a little over an hour to complete. It’s popular with birders, hikers, and mountain bikers.

If you’re planning a visit, the best time to enjoy the trail is between March and October. The trail is dog-friendly but they must be kept on a leash. However, there are often off-leash dogs.

There is plenty of wildlife in the area, such as beavers, deer, ducks, and butterflies. There is a swampy area, which may be flooded if there has been recent rainfall.

The trail is considered moderate throughout but there are a few steep sections. You can manage with sneakers but hiking boots will provide further support and stability.

During the summer months, bug spray is highly recommended. There is a decent amount of tree cover, which provides shade on a hot day.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.2 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 229 Feet

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3. Whale Rock Trail

Credit: Molly Amster / AllTrails

This out-and-back trail is located near Narragansett, Rhode Island. Unfortunately, no dogs are allowed so you’ll have to leave your pup at home.

The area is popular with birders, so consider bringing along a pair of binoculars if you want to spot some of the native species. Once you reach the shoreline, you can explore the area and look for shells.

On one side of the path, the Rhode Island National Guard property has a fence. This doesn’t affect the trail but it may take away some sense of being in a forested natural environment.

There are beautiful ocean views, as well as a mix of wooded and beach trail surfaces. The trail is not wheelchair friendly but it’s good for younger kids who want to get some trail experience under their belt.

The parking lot is relatively small, so consider arriving early to find a spot. You may have to wait for someone to leave if you arrive later in the day.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.1 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 85 Feet

4. Great Swamp Trail

Credit: Jay Humes / AllTrails

The Great Swamp Trail is a loop route that’s located near Wakefield, Rhode Island. Hikers can expect the hike to take around 1.5 hours in total.

For the best experience, visit this trail between March and October. During the winter, the trail is great for cross-country skiing.

The trails are wide and well-maintained. If you arrive earlier in the day, you’re likely to spot some wildlife. The surface of the path is mainly gravel or packed sand.

During the hunting season, hikers are required to wear orange. This can either be a hat or a vest to ensure visibility.

This path is relatively quiet and it’s easy to find a sense of solitude while you’re on the path. If you’re looking for less elevation gain, head left at the first fork in the trail.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.3 Mile
Total Elevation Gain: 144 Feet

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5. World War II Memorial Loop

Credit: J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

This trail is great for families of all ages. Located near Smithfield, Rhode Island, the World War II Memorial Loop is a great afternoon activity.

The whole loop generally takes around 1.5-2 hours to complete. For the best weather, visit from March through October. Dogs are welcome to join but they must be leashed for the entirety of the visit.

There is a World War II memorial site, as well as a bomber crash site. The path isn’t always well marked but if you download a map beforehand, you’ll be able to navigate the trail with ease.

Free street parking is available, providing easy and accessible access to this loop. If you want to do some bird spotting, consider bringing a pair of binoculars. Bug spray is highly recommended during the warm months.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4.4 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 410 Feet

6. Long Pond Woods Trail

Credit: Alethea Saccoccia / AllTrails

Long Pond Woods Trail is an out-and-back route that may take anywhere between 1.5-2 hours to complete. The best time to visit is between March and November. The conditions during this period are generally ideal for hiking.

On this trail, no dogs are allowed. If you’re searching for a dog-friendly trail, there are plenty of other options in the area.

Before you head out on this route, download a map on your phone. The path isn’t always well marked, so it can be helpful to have a backup.

Due to several rocky inclines, sturdy hiking shoes are recommended. There is a canopy of tree cover, which provides adequate shade on sunny days.

After rainfall, the trail can get muddy and slippery. There are a few scrambling areas, which can become tricky once they’ve been rained on. There is a beautiful overlook that’s great for photos.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4.5 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 469 Feet

7. Carr’s Pond and Tarbox Pond

Credit: This.Usually.Works / Flickr

This loop trail is located in the Big River State Management Area, which is located in Coventry, Rhode Island. There are often birders, hikers, and mountain bikers who are enjoying the trail.

Expect to set aside 1.5 hours to hike this trail. There are even a few spots to swim, so pack a towel and a change of clothes if you plan on taking a dip.

Many species of wildlife live in the area, including beavers. After heavy rainfall, the path can get muddy and waterproof boots are recommended. During the hunting months, hikers are required to wear orange to increase visibility to the hunters.

If you’re wanting to add more mileage to your hike, there are other trails that you can include. Younger kids may struggle with this trail, so consider picking another route if you’re bringing them along.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.0 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 269 Feet

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8. Mount Tom Trail

Credit: Aaron Zurblis / AllTrails

Mount Tom Trail is a loop trail that’s locked within the Arcadia State Management Area. The path is located near Rockville, Rhode Island.

The route is popular amongst backpackers, hikers, and even cross-country skiers during the winter months. If you want to bring your pup along, the trail is dog-friendly but they must be leashed.

During the months of hunting season, it’s required that visitors wear brightly colored orange. This enables any hunters in the area to gain better visibility of other people.

There are restrooms by the parking lot, as well as a picnic area. Some sections have exposed roots, so watch your step to avoid tripping.

Though the trail is marked, it’s encouraged that hikers download a map beforehand. This prevents anyone from getting lost.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6.7 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 623 Feet

9. Duval Trail

Credit: Tori Almonte / AllTrails

Duval Trail is a loop route located near Wakefield, Rhode Island. Due to the high mileage, hikers can expect to dedicate 3+ hours to complete the trail.

Apart from hiking, the path is also popular with birders and trail runners. The best months to visit are between April and October.

If you plan to bring your pup along, there are off-leash areas for them to run around freely. There is a beautiful overlook of Block Island, which is visible on clear days.

The paths can be narrow in some sections and there is some decent elevation gain. The trail can be manageable for younger kids who already have some trail experience and can manage the length.

Pine and oak trees surround the trail and provide canopy cover. Hikers will wind through an old cemetery, which holds historic significance and can be an interesting detour.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 7.6 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 656 Feet

10. Beavertail Trail

Credit: James Hatcher / Flickr

Beavertail Trail is located in Beavertail State Park and is a loop route that often takes hikers under an hour to complete. If you bring your pup along for the outing, they must stay leashed per park rules.

There are gorgeous views of the water and many species of birds that call the area home. Beware of poison ivy, as some reviews have mentioned finding it along the path.

After rainfall, the dirt path can get muddy. In this case, waterproof boots are recommended over sneakers. The trail takes visitors to the Beavertail lighthouse, which makes for a great photo opportunity.

Several offshoot trails can be added to the main path to boost mileage. If you’re looking for a short trail that doesn’t lack in views, this is a great option for hikers of all ability levels and ages.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.3 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 98 Feet

11. Weetamoo Woods Trail

Credit: Evan Lipton / Flickr

This wooded loop trail is located near Tiverton, Rhode Island. The route is popular with birders, hikers, and cross-country skiers during the snowy months.

The path is surrounded by trees and is well marked. After rainfall, some sections can get muddy so waterproof boots are recommended.

Some segments are rocky and there are also exposed roots. You’ll want to watch your footing to avoid tripping over the uneven surface. Shoes with sturdy soles can help.

Dogs are welcome to join in on the trail, though they need to stay on their leash. Free parking is available off of Lafayette Road on a first come, first served basis.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.7 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 262 Feet

Related Read: 20 Best Hiking Trails in Connecticut

12. Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge Trail

Credit: Phillip Kidd / Flickr

This refuge trail is located near Exeter, Rhode Island, and is a quick nature adventure for those looking to complete a morning or afternoon hike. There are often other hikers in the area, as well as birding enthusiasts looking for the species that frequent the refuge.

There are pine trees and open meadow areas. Unfortunately, no dogs are allowed on the trail so the pups will have to stay at home.

The path is well-maintained and there is plenty of signage. There are some areas where you can explore the river and soak in the beautiful water views.

Restrooms are located at the trailhead. You’ll want to apply some bug spray before getting on the trail, as it can get buggy during the summer months.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.3 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 200 Feet

13. Vin Gormley Trail

Credit: Andrew Urban / AllTrails

The Vin Gormley Trail is a loop route located near Charlestown, Rhode Island. You’ll often find other hikers, as well as mountain bikers and trail runners enjoying the path as well.

If you’re looking to beat the heat during the summertime, head out to the trail early so you can get in a few hours of cooler weather. It can get buggy during the summer, so bug spray is necessary.

Some segments of the trail are paved, while others are dirt and can get muddy after heavy rainfall. There are small sections of rock scrambling, so sturdy footwear is encouraged to provide ankle support.

While this trail is long, it’s relatively easy. If you’re bringing kids along, it’s recommended to gauge their energy levels before you get too far out.

The terrain stays varied and the scenery is diverse and interesting to look at. Overall, this is a solid hiking trail option for those looking for an extended outing into nature.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 7.8 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 393 Feet

14. Steere Hill and Heritage Park Loop

Credit: Benjamin S. / AllTrails

This loop trail is well-marked and frequently maintained. Hikers can expect this path to take around 1.5-2 hours to complete.

You may run into a few trail runners, especially if you go from March through November. During the winter, the trail may get icy and be covered in snow.

Dogs are more than welcome to join in on the hike, though they must be kept leashed. There are various streams for them to cool off in, as well as an old dam and several bridges to cross.

For hikers looking for more of a challenge, you can add on a few extra miles by jumping on one of the other loop trails. The path is kid-friendly, though it may be too long for some.

There are several informative signs posted, which educate visitors on the wildlife and history of the area. The surrounding space is generally very green, which makes for a beautiful view as you hike.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.7 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 354 Feet

15. Sprague Farm Town Forest Loop

Credit: Brian Platt / AllTrails

This loop trail is located near Chepachet, Rhode Island. It generally takes a little over an hour to complete, making it a great option for a quick morning hike.

You may come across a few trail runners on the path as well, though it’s generally a fairly secluded and peaceful hike. The trails are well-maintained and wide, giving everyone plenty of room.

Dogs are allowed but must be kept leashed. The trail surface is generally farm roads and forest trails. The path meanders through a pine forest, which provides plenty of shade on hot and sunny days.

For those looking to add on more mileage, there are detours you can take onto other trails. There are sections of old historic ruins that many people enjoy exploring.

During the hunting season, everybody is required to wear bright orange for safety. This enables hunters in the area to gain increased visibility of other people around them.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.7 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 213 Feet

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