Hot Hikes for Cold Days (Plus, What to Pack)
Warm up as you traverse these local hiking trails.
The days might be short and cold, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend them inside binging on Netflix (though we’re not judging if you do). Pick a hike (see our list below), then pack up and roll out with locally sourced hiking gear, certified for homebodies and adventurers alike.
Pick A Hike
LONG AND ELL PONDS
Old Rockville Road, Hopkinton
Distance: 5.7 miles
Lush, dark and beautiful, this hike takes you through a forest of rocks and boulders, all alive with greenery in the summer and intricate ice work in the winter. Outcroppings overlook the ponds and are home to gnarled pines. While it’s a challenging hike filled with ups and downs and narrow stone steps, it’s worth tackling for the scenery alone.
BEN UTTER TRAIL/STEPSTONE FALLS
Plain Road, Exeter
Distance: 3.2 miles
This hard-to-find trail features log waterfalls, small streams and its namesake, Stepstone Falls, while the remains of an old gristmill provide a historic element. The small falls freeze in the winter, becoming unmoving milky swirls, but are still beautiful to behold.
2321 Hartford Ave., Johnston
Distance: 2 to 3 miles
Past fields that are normally home to acres of tulips, this large swath of land has everything from swamp to field to cliff to forest. The hike is moderate, though the entirety of the area is quite large and if it rains, puddles (more like small lakes, really) form. It can be hard to reach some areas unless you have a good idea of where you are. If you can make it to the overlook at the top of the hill, there are scenic views of Johnston and Scituate.
Across from the athletic fields on Bradford Road
Distance: 2 to 3 miles
Used by the Westerly High School cross country team for training, the trail is open to the public when the high schoolers aren’t stampeding. The trail hums with life, home to frothy wildflower fields and crickets in the warm months while birds patrol the airspace year-round. Bring binoculars and don’t expect a strenuous hike; you’ll be too busy gawking at your surroundings.
769 Sachuest Point Rd., Middletown
Distance: 2.4 miles
Sachuest Point is a scenic waterfront walk, and what makes it even better is that you can go off the beaten path onto the beach and peruse the beaten sands for shells and other treasures. Breathe in the salty sea air and keep an eye out for the many birds that call this area home.
WOLF HILL FOREST PRESERVATION
Waterview Drive, Smithfield
Distance: 6 miles
Level: Moderate to difficult
Wolf Hill is famous for its scenic views of Providence and, on an especially clear day, the Mount Hope bridge in Bristol. History buffs take note: The trail follows old farm roads and passes the site of a WWII-era plane crash.
So you’ve picked what hiking spot you want to hit up, but the question remains: What do you bring? Check out these locally-sourced items.
1. Weetamoe Camo Rain Cape, $249, Cleverhood, cleverhood.com 2. Ginger Zinger Granola, $8.95, Beautiful Day Granola, beautifuldayri.org 3. Yeti Rambler 20 oz. Tumbler in Tahoe Blue, $20, Downcity Outfitters, downcityoutfitters.com 4. Glee Gum, $11.95 for a twelve pack, gleegum.com 5. Polished brass flask, $18, Frog and Toad, frogandtoadstore.com 6. Sunscreen, $18.99, Raw Elements, rawelementsusa.com 7. Yeti Rambler Colster, $24.99, Downcity Outfitters 8. Louiseville Vegan Jerky, $9.95, Newport Jerky Company, newportjerkycompany.com 9. The North Face Recon Backpack, $99, Downcity Outfitters 10. Best Easy Day Hikes Rhode Island, $9.95, Barrington Books, barringtonbooks.com 11. Slim Power Bank portable charger, $18, Frog and Toad 12. The Rhode Island Family Hiking Guide, $22.95, Frog and Toad 13. Cool Beans Body Butter, $15, Rachyl’s Goat Milk, travisfamilyfarm.com 14. Poler Workerman beanie, $24.95, Downcity Outfitters 15. Candy Cane Goat Milk Lip Butters, $3.50, Rachyl’s Goat Milk 16. Travel-size Sea Salt hand cream, $4.75, Frog and Toad 17. Tick and Insect Repellent Spray Mist, $19.99, Newport Jerky Company 18. Put Some Hair on Your Chest 5 oz. flask, $28, Frog and Toad 19. Yeti Rambler Colster, $24.99, Downcity Outfitters 20. Walk About Dog treats, $12.99, Newport Jerky Company 21. Whiskey Marinated Beef Jerky, $8.99, Newport Jerky Company 22. Poler Classic Rucksack backpac, $89.95, Downcity Outfitters 23. The Gentlemen’s Hardware Multi-Tool Flashlight, $16.50, Barrington Books 24. Yeti Rambler, 36 oz. bottle, $49.99, Downcity Outfitters. 25. Rhode Island and Connecticut state map, $7.95, Barrington Books 26. Glorious Grape and Cool Beans Goat Milk Lip Balm, $3.50 each, Rachyl’s Goat Milk 27. Glee Gum, $11.95 for a twelve pack, gleegum.com 28. Limited edition granola bars, $14 for a six-pack, Beautiful Day Granola 29. Fred Perry Tipping Stripe beanie, $75, Downcity Outfitters 30. Eco Tint Stick, $15.99, Raw Elements 31. Clever Zipster Rain Cape, $189, Cleverhood