Length: 77 miles.
Grade: Varied from flat on-road sections to steep and rocky paths.
Trail condition: Good - well marked in most places. The trail is blazed with a combination of turquoise blue painted rectangles and small square plastic markers with the blue and green NST logo that look like this:
Special characteristics: This trail runs the entire length of the state from the Atlantic Ocean to the Massachusetts border. The path passes through eight eight state-owned wildlife management areas (Buck Hill, George Washington, Durfee Hill, Killingly Pond, Nicholas Farm, Arcadia, Carolina and Burlingame) and Burlingame State Park.
Between the management areas, the NST is mostly on low-volume, scenic town roads. Along the way you will see historic villages, small family farms, one-room school houses, tiny walled cemeteries and quaint country churches.
At its northern start/end point, it meets Massachusetts' Mid-State Trail in the Douglas State Forest. The Mid-State Trail continues north to New Hampshire.
The trail is a non-motorized multi-use trail and is mostly used by hikers. Because the trail crosses and sometimes follows some heavily-travelled roads, a through-ride is not appropriate for horses. There are some sections (such as boulder fields and the Ben Utter trail in Arcadia and much of Buck Hill) that are extremely difficult for mountain bikes.
Natural attractions nearby: You name it - wildlife observation, hunting, fishing, paddle sports, etc.
Historical attractions nearby: Historical homes, Native American sites, including former taverns, old rail crossings, historical cemetaries.
Services nearby: None on trail.
To start at the south end of the trail: Take Route 95 to Exit 1. Follow Rte. 3 south to Rte. 216 south to Rte. 1 north. Alternative is Rte. 95 to Exit 9 (Rte. 4). Follow to Rte 1 south past Wakfield and into Charlestown. Turn onto East Beach Road. Trailhead at Blue Shutters Beach.
To start at the north end of the trail: Take Route 95 to Rte. 29d to Rte. 44 west to Rte. 100 north. Turn left onto Buck Hill Road, after about two miles, look for small sign marking entrance to the Buck Hill Management Area. From here, you still have to walk almost a mile to the state line and the very beginning of the trail.
Maps and More
Rhode Island's longest hiking trail - click to enlarge
A set of six maps of the North South Trail is available. They show a series of six one-day hikes ranging from 11 to 17 miles each. For information on the annual through-hike, contact Ginny Leslie at 401-781-8117. To get the maps, send an optional $1 donation to help cover copying costs with a stamped, self-addressed envelope with 65 cents postage to:
27 Post Road
Warwick, RI 02888
Click on maps for closer views
Visit Almost Official Map of the NST for higher-res maps
Burrillville to Glocester
Glocester to Foster
Foster to Coventry
Coventry to Exeter
Exeter to Richmond
Richmond to Charlestown
GARI Committee Chairwoman Sue Barker
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