This one-mile hike in North Kingstown is one of the best family hikes in Rhode Island. It will bring you through the woods to the shore of Narragansett Bay. It has many trails to explore, exciting finds to be found, a beach to comb, a bridge to view, and, at the right time of the year, seals!
There is a lot to Explore on this New England Forest Hike.
I am speaking about the John H. Chaffee Nature Preserve (Rome Point) in North Kingstown, RI. The hike starts with a well-maintained, flat, wide trail that is about a mile long. Many people are out with their dogs.
One of the great things about hiking here is that there are many great little trails to explore, but it’s tough to get lost because the water and the road encapsulate the preserve. You can discover big rocks to boulder, and things people have set up like the Tibetan altar and the “mailbox.”
Stone walls are frequently encountered in southern New England. I think they are beautiful and speak of the area’s history. They were first built in the late 1600s by farmers clearing their lands of our rocky soil to demarcate their farms. To read a fuller account of the stone walls, click here.
A typical historical rock wall speaks of New England’s farming history in Chaffee Nature Preserve in North Kingstown, RI.
The reward at the forest trail’s end is a gorgeous view of Jamestown, RI.
The lovely one-mile, wooden trail ends at a rocky beach that you can continue hiking along. It provides a beautiful view of Jamestown and the Jamestown bridge. If you continue along the beach to the north and round the bend, there is a lovely sandbar and marshy bay area.
Around the north bend of the beach is Rome Point, where you can see…
The Seals of Rome Point
This is a great hike to take from late October through May as it is the home to the visiting Rome Point Harbor Seals who come and hang out on the rocks. The easiest way to get to the seals is to walk down the main trail until you reach the end. You can see where that is in the picture above of the bench at the water’s edge. Turn to the left and walk along the water until you reach Rome Point. It will be about an hour’s walk. Ahead of you, there will be rocks about 350 feet offshore. That is too far to see the seals well with your naked eye, so be sure to bring a telescope or binoculars
In January 2016, there were about 65 seals on the rocks. If you check the above website, it will keep you abreast of seal activity and specifics. For best seal viewing, go on a calm, windless day, or the seals will be hiding in the water, instead of on the rocks.
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