Wickaboxet Loop Trail

Posted By on March 27, 2014

Wickaboxet Loop Trail

6.27 miles, 2.2 mph

wow. best. trail. ever. this one was on my list of hikes to do in 2014, and am i ever glad i got to it! there is so much to see, and the trail itself is such fun to hike, that i simultaneously wanted to go as fast as possible to see everything, and as slow as possible so i didn’t miss anything. fortunately, my natural snail’s pace was a good compromise.

i started this off at the trail head at the end of saddle rock road in west greenwich. i was a bit daunted right away by the steep climb up from the parking area. little did i know that this was just a taste of things to come. once i got to the top of the ridge on the white-blazed trail, the land headed back downhill. and more downhill. and i was chuckling a little to myself thinking it was gonna be so not fun to climb back up at the end. i was correct, though i can’t imagine what was so funny…

bench

bench

this bench kind of made me smile on the way out. i absolutely collapsed onto it on the way back. thanks, james and marjery!

log bridge

log bridge

at the veeerrry bottom of the white trail you cross acid factory brook on several impressive log bridges. the white trail, which traverses the pratt conservation area, ends just a little past here. it’s a bit under 3/4 of a mile. at this point you come to the blue-blazed wickaboxet loop trail.

rattlesnake ledges

rattlesnake ledges

where to start? this is a fairly newly-cut trail, maybe 2012. and part of it runs along old woods roads that criss-cross the wickaboxet wildlife management area, a state-owned property. it runs at first through an open beech forest. then it picks up a woods road the brings you to rattlesnake ledges. my only quibble with the blazing is that there is really no good blazing at places where you really want it, like trail forks and crossings. you have to go a bit along the way you think might be correct before you see a blaze that confirms you guessed right. fortunately, i guessed right each time.

one of the unmarked trails that intersects the blue-blazed trail goes up to rattlesnake ledges. it’s pretty hard to miss—there’s a lot of trash and graffiti at the intersection. must be a popular local party spot.

panorama from rattlesnake ledges

panorama from rattlesnake ledges; click to embiggen

the view from up here is gorgeous, and it’s really not a bad climb. the trail wraps around the ledge outcropping making for a gradual ascent. as always, click the above panorama for a big version.

big cellarhole, prolly a barn

big cellarhole, prolly a barn

there are also countless stone walls and an amazing number of cellarholes (you paying attention, rhode island ruins guy?). this one was a monster; i’m guessing it was a barn.

gravestone

gravestone

there is an historical cemetery on the property too. i was just saying last time that you hardly ever see middle-aged people in these old cemeteries, and then i find dorcas wilcox, who died at the age of 39. i wish i could have read the rest of the stone, but it’s just too hard.

decaying cabin

decaying cabin

not far beyond the cemetery there’s the remains of an old cabin which even features bed springs.

ant mounds

ant mounds

after sharing part of the flintlock trail with the tillinghast management area and then spending several miles going through the woods, you come to a second short stretch along an old woods road which is lined on both sides with many dozens of ant mounds. there was no activity that i could see, so i’m not sure how old they are or if they are still in use, but there sure were a lot of them.

once the blue-blazed trail reenters the woods you come back into the open beech forest where the loop begins. then the looooonnnnggg climb back up the hill to the bench (thanks again, james and marjery!), and then back to your car. i honestly didn’t want this trail to end, i was having so much fun.

i have added this hike to the hikefinder. i’m not sure who prepared the trail map that i’ve linked to, but it includes the tillinghast management area trails as well, making this a substantial trail system. i found it a while ago and downloaded a copy to my hard drive. i’ve put it on my website because i have no idea where to find it again. i will also probably be replacing it eventually with a map of my own, which will include the highlights.

Comments

5 Responses to “Wickaboxet Loop Trail”

  1. […] that’s called out on my map seemed somehow spookier today. basically, this is the same core hike i did on march 27, but from a different trailhead. in march i started from the pratt conservation area at the end of […]

  2. Mike Parker says:

    Thanks for the nice write-up Auntie! As one of the creators of the trails (along with TNC Preserve Mgr Tim Mooney) in the Tillinghast Pond Mgmt Area and vice-chair of the West Greenwich Land Trust, which owns & administers the Pratt Conservation Area, it was my idea, with approval from DEM, to connect the two preserves via a trail network with Wickaboxet in the middle.

    A word on your comment regarding the blazing…it is purposely obscure so as not to attract too much attention. Wickaboxet has a history of ATV intrusion (I’ve encountered them at the top of Rattlesnake Ledge) and we wanted to keep them on the gravel roads and off the trails through the woods.

    Again, I’m glad you enjoyed it and thanks again for the kind words.

    Mike Parker
    West Greenwich Land Trust
    Appalachian Mtn Club Narragansett Chapter

    • auntie says:

      thanks for stopping by and commenting, mike. you guys rock. i have massive respect for the work you do. if i sometimes whine and moan, it’s with love. the tillinghast/wickaboxet/pratt complex of trails is wonderful, with wickaboxet my favorite, despite the gravel roads and minor atv damage. i highly recommend that all my readers pay a visit. and i am an amc member, too, so i support your work financially in my own small way.

  3. […] 1—wickaboxet wildlife management area, west greenwich, […]

  4. […] have 2 more local hikes planned before i leave on monday after today’s. i hiked this once before, and i remembered there was a heck of a climb back up from the factory brook crossing on the […]

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