10 Beautiful Hikes Near Providence for Adventurous People
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As Rhode Island’s bustling capital city, Providence is well known for being home to Brown University and having some seriously delicious clam chowder. But what you may not know about Providence is the city’s proximity to the ocean and to forested areas of the Northeast make it a prime location for outdoor adventures. There are so many wonderful places to go hiking near Providence to explore the outdoors, giving locals access to some of the most beautiful views and scenery in all of New England. We created this guide to some of the best hikes near Providence so you can make a plan to get outside!

Photo Credit: Wilson Loo Kok Wee (Flickr CC)

Best Hikes Near Providence, RI

Roger Williams Park Trail

  • Distance from Providence: 0 miles
  • Trail Length: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 101 feet

Located in the heart of Providence, the Roger Williams Park trail may seem like an unlikely spot for a good hike. However, this nearly 4-mile loop trail has so much to offer that we couldn’t leave it off our list! From historic homes to gnarly trees to magnificent structures and waterside views, it’s a really cool hike, especially given that it’s located in such an urban environment.

Depending on what you’re looking for, there are dirt trails leading around the park as well as paved sidewalks, meaning you can bring along strollers or wheelchairs if you so choose. The dirt paths offer a more moderate walk/hike and feel a bit more rugged, if getting out in nature on a time crunch is your goal.

Photo Credit: m01229 (Flickr CC)

Cliff Walk

  • Distance from Providence: 35 miles/50 minutes
  • Trail Length: 6.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 324 feet

Arguably the most quintessential and beloved trail for hiking near Providence is the Cliff Walk, a nearly 7-mile trail bordering the ocean near Newport. This trail is unique from the others on the list because it’s partially paved and partially rugged, meaning there’s truly something for every hiker here. No trip to Newport would be complete without doing at least a small part of this trail!

To one side of the trail is the ocean, with waves that crash against the cliffs below, and to the other side are some of the most magnificent, grandiose mansions in the East Coast. Some are privately owned, some are new historic sites, schools, and museums, and a few are even open to stay in as bed & breakfast type establishments. One thing is for sure, though – these elegant homes are a huge part of the view of this trail. It’s fun to look at them and dream about what their stories are as you’re hiking!

Farther down the path, there’s a more rugged section where you’ll be walking on jagged rocks instead of paved trails. This area is where the hiking fun begins, as you feel like you’re really exploring the area, rather than just walking on the sidewalk! With stunning views of homes and the ocean throughout, there’s a reason why we love the Cliff Walk so much.

Photo Credit: enjoiskate8 (Flickr CC)

Rocky Point Walking Trail

  • Distance from Providence: 11 miles/30 minutes
  • Trail Length: 1.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal

One of the nicest things about hiking near Providence is that most trails, no matter how hard they are, have some kind of historical element to them. The Rocky Point Walking Trail is definitely one such area, and for this reason, it is one of the most beloved hikes near Providence. Making a loop around a historic amusement park, this trail is an easy, short adventure into nature.

Here, you can still see remnants of Rocky Point Park‘s old cable car system as you traverse flat, mostly paved walking paths that border the sea. Along the way, you can find piers that jut out into the water and nice places to stop for a picnic. We love this trail because it’s peaceful, accessible, and beautiful, the perfect combination in a leisurely spot for hiking in Rhode Island.

Beavertail Trail

  • Distance from Providence: 34 miles/45 minutes
  • Trail Length: 2.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal

Perhaps one of the most iconic waterfront hikes near Providence is Beavertail Trail, which boasts breathtaking rocky shores with waves that crash powerfully onto the coast. Everyone who does this trail loves the variety of water views, especially toward the northern side of the loop. One extra nice thing about hiking in a place like the Beavertrail Trail is that it’s exceptionally beautiful, even on foggy, rainy, or cloudy days.

Come once or return several times as the seasons change to get a different perspective of this gorgeous waterfront trail. On sunnier, calmer days, the water is a vibrant turquoise color, which looks completely different than the typical grays and greens of the Atlantic. However, in cloudier weather, the area has nostalgic, moody vibes that are perfect for watching the waves crashing on the shore or sitting peacefully on the overlooks and listening to the sounds of the ocean.

Photo Credit: Dan Gray (Flickr CC)

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge Trail

  • Distance from Providence: 37 miles/1 hour
  • Trail Length: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal

Located in dearly beloved Newport, RI, the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge has its own beautiful coastal hiking trails that locals can enjoy. While the ocean views here are quite stunning, the main attraction at this refuge is the wildlife watching opportunities. For those who want to learn more about local animal species, there are few better hikes near Providence than Sachuest Point.

For wildlife lovers, you have the chance to catch a glimpse at the many deer that call the preserve home, as well as the local coyote pack that roams the area. There are also TONS of marine bird species that reside in this coastal area, making it a perfect spot for birdwatching aficionados to spend a day.

Photo Credit: Peter Rintels (Flickr CC)

Tillinghast Pond Loop

  • Distance from Providence: 30 miles/40 minutes
  • Trail Length: 2.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 101 feet

Located on historic farmlands, the Tillinghast Pond Loop trail offers an easy to moderate walk through the forest and alongside the water. People really love this hike for photography and for escaping city life and enjoying the serenity of nature. Instead of the coastal scenery that most of the hikes near Providence offer, this forested area has serene views across Tillinghast Pond, perfect for picnicking or taking a relaxing stroll.

Long Pond Woods Trail

  • Distance from Providence: 36 miles/45 minutes
  • Trail Length: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 469 feet

Experienced hikers, rejoice! The Long Pond Woods Trail is one of the only trails you’ll find in the state of Rhode Island that offers challenging terrain, including some areas for scrambling if you wish. This trail runs through several nature conservation areas, including the Nature Conservancy and Audubon lands in the area. Because of its proximity to wildlife habitats, dogs aren’t allowed on this trail, but you’ll enjoy the wildlife viewing opportunities and moderate terrain if you are looking for Rhode Island hikes that offer a little bit more of a challenge.

Photo Credit: cmh2315fl (Flickr CC)

World’s End Trail

  • Distance from Providence: 49 miles/1 hour
  • Trail Length: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: xx feet

For some of the most spectacular views of the Boston skyline, the World’s End Trail is a local favorite for hiking near Providence. Located in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area just an hour from Providence’s city center, this easy, accessible trail offers beautiful rocky shoreline paths, bird watching, and views over the harbor of the city. For easy hiking near Providence for the whole family, you can’t go wrong with World’s End! We’d recommend heading here on clear days for the best views and hiking conditions.

Mount Monadnock

  • Distance from Providence: 98 miles/2 hours
  • Trail Length: 3.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: xx feet

For more experienced hikers, New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock is one of the most popular and challenging hikes near Providence. As one of the most popular summit trails in New England, the trail does tend to get quite crowded, especially in the warmer months. While it is about a 2 hour drive from Providence, the challenge of this summit hike is well worth the trek.

Requiring some serious scrambling and steep ascents, this short hike is definitely not for beginners or the faint of heart. However, if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and a huge sense of accomplishment at the summit.

Mount Greylock via Gould Trail

  • Distance from Providence: 138 miles/2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Trail Length: 6.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,267 feet

The highest point in Massachusetts is at the summit of Mount Greylock, which is located in the northwest corner of the state. For another fun, day-long summit hike, this is a fantastic spot for hiking near Providence. There are many ways to reach the summit, but one of the best ways to go is by hiking the Gould Trail. Along the way, you’ll find interesting rock areas, cabins, and forested areas to enjoy, but the real treat from the top is getting to see the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial and the surrounding views. Plus, you can say you hiked all the way to Massachusetts’ highest point!

Additional Resources for Hiking near Providence

What to Bring

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

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Kay Rodriguez is the founder of Urban Outdoors. She's also the writer and photographer behind Jetfarer. When she's not writing furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, surfing, or playing in the snow.

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