Recommendations for a weekend in RI
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Ben Balcombe
(chiefsilverback) - F
Recommendations for a weekend in RI on 08/26/2008 14:54:42 MDT Print View

First things first, hello everyone and apologies that my first post is a request for information!

I'll be in Providence, RI for 2 weeks from Mon 1st and I'm thinking about using my weekend to get out and do some hiking.

With that in mind can anyone suggest an area/particular route to take in, maybe a 2 day route with night under canvas?

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Recommendations for a weekend in RI on 08/26/2008 15:04:12 MDT Print View

RI is painfully flat. If you are looking to get away for the weekend, I'd recommend going to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It's about a 3 hour drive from Providence, but well worth the trip. If that sounds good. I'd be happy to make further recommendations and there are a few NH hikers on this site as well.

Ben Balcombe
(chiefsilverback) - F
Re: Recommendations for a weekend in RI on 08/26/2008 15:11:40 MDT Print View

Hi Bill,

I'm perfectly happy to travel a bit so any recommendations would be good.

What about heading due west into Connecticut?

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Recommendations for a weekend in RI on 08/26/2008 17:17:45 MDT Print View

Painfully flat? Emphatically no. Painfully less-than-alpine? Well, yes. And you won't find any National Forests or large tracts of public land in the Ocean State, either. (You WILL find the ocean and some nice beaches, if water play is your thing.)

Rhode Island now has its own border-to-border "long distance" (70 miles?) hiking trail, the North-South Trail (Mass. border to the Atlantic Ocean). But I suspect you may be hard pressed to make good use of this non-loop trail in a weekend.

The primary hiking areas in RI are the Arcadia and George Washington management areas, state land in both cases, where "backcountry" camping is technically on a permit basis, though in reality stealth camping would be a very low-risk activity. Both are rather small in area, but with a decent trail network for doing loop hikes. Arcadia is accessible off of SR 165, which is approached from the Providence area via US 95 south. George Washington is on US 44, west of Providence, near the Connecticut line. Either location would be a 30-45 minute drive from the PVD area. The North-South Trail threads both of them, marked with white plastic emblems on trees, and AT-style blazes mark other trails.

Neither of the above areas would be likely to set John Muir's Sierra-spangled heart a-thumping. But I'd be willing to bet ol' Emerson could still find sufficient setting among the deep deciduous woods and laurel-lined brooks here for a bit of transcendental meditation.

Rhode Island has the distinction of being the only New England state that does not play host to the Appalachian Trail. This is not merely a coincidence, mind you. But if you lack the requisite 3 hours to make the drive to the nearest white blaze, with a bit of imagination and improvisation you *can* make lil' Rhody work for your intended purposes.

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/26/2008 17:47:26 MDT Print View

Rhode Island's mean elevation is 200'. It's highest point is 812'. Sure it has a couple of small preserves with trails, but if you have the time, I'd go to New Hampshire. I don't know much about Connecticut. If you're interested in NH, I' be happy to recommend a weekend trip.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/26/2008 17:57:08 MDT Print View

>>If you're interested in NH, I' be happy to recommend a weekend trip.<<

Really, any number of us could easily champ at that bit. But I'm more enthralled by the simple novelty of "Weekend in Rhode Island" for the subject heading - on BPL of all places. Besides, the carbon footprint tends to be really low for RI in-state travel, to say nothing about avoiding the horror of getting around Boston and the tolls on the way up the Whites.

Edited by blister-free on 08/26/2008 17:57:46 MDT.

Ben Balcombe
(chiefsilverback) - F
Re: Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/27/2008 04:31:34 MDT Print View

Bill, any recommendations for NH would be good. Thanks in advance...

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/27/2008 09:05:25 MDT Print View

Ben,

How many days and how many miles per day are you looking to do?

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/27/2008 11:35:15 MDT Print View

>>Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Eh, phooey. No points for romanticism around here, I take it.

Fine then, have it that way. Burn through 80 bucks of gas, $8 in tolls, and 8 hours in traffic for a night in the woods. Take I-495 across Massachusetts or risk deliverance, and best not to leave on a Friday evening or return on a Sunday night.

Of course the Whites are beautiful. But beware the commute.

Ben Balcombe
(chiefsilverback) - F
Re: Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/28/2008 04:45:43 MDT Print View

Bill - Nothing too strenuous so a circular route, 10 - 12 miles each day with nice stop over?

Brett - I haven't completely discounted RI, but as I'm over on business the gas goes on expenses and a couple of hours drive isn't too bad!

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/28/2008 07:55:10 MDT Print View

Ben,

Since you’re coming from RI, the most convenient way to get to the Whites is to take I-95 to I-93 which goes through Boston. Depending on when you leave, you might want to avoid the I-93 traffic and take I-495 around Boston as Brett recommended. I-93 runs through Franconia Notch and there are a number of trailhead parking areas right off of I-93. If you leave a car overnight at a trailhead, you will need a permit, available at various visitor’s centers and at some area stores. Permit information is available here: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/passes .

There is a visitor’s center just off of the I-93 Lincoln Exit (Rt-112) and one a bit farther up the road at the “Flume” parking area. Rt-112 (also known as the Kancamagus Highway) is a good spot to get gas, breakfast, etc. If you are planning on driving up at night and starting your hike the next morning, there is a campground north of Lincoln on I-93 called the Lafayette Campground. Some of the visitor’s centers and campgrounds are seasonal, so check to see if they are still open before you go.

Camping in the backcountry in the Whites comes in 3 forms, 1) the traditional find your own spot type (there are rules that govern where you can stay), 2) designated backcountry sites and 3) huts that have bunk beds, bathrooms and serve breakfast & dinner (expensive & reservations necessary). Information about 2&3 is available here: http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/campsites/index.cfm .

The designated sites are (arguably) the most convenient. They are first come first serve. I would recommend them.

If you are looking for scenery, I would pick a trip that includes Franconia Ridge. My recommendation is to park your car at the Old Bridle Path/Falling Waters trailhead north of the Lincoln exit on I-93. Hike up the Falling Waters trail to Little Haystack Mtn. Head north on the Franconia Ridge trail past Mt. Lafayette where the trail becomes the Garfield Ridge trail. From little Haystack to some point on the Garfield Ridge trail, you are above treeline. Continue over Mt. Garfield and camp at the Garfield Ridge campsite. Make sure that before you get to Little Haystack Mtn., you have enough water to get to Garfield Pond. The next day come back the same way, but at Mt. Lafayette, descend west on the Greenleaf trail and take the Old Bridle Path trail back to the parking lot.

Weather on the ridge can be severe. This site has good weather information: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather

For supplies in Providence, there is a Whole Foods Market on Main Street (try their Rocky Mountain Mix trail mix) and there is an REI in Cranston where you can p/u maps, dehydrated food and whatever else you need. The best topo’s of the Whites are the AMC maps. The area that I am describing is covered on map #2 Franconia-Pemigewasset.

I’m sure that there is plenty to disagree with in this post, but you will have a blast on this trip.

Good Luck,
Bill

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/28/2008 12:04:53 MDT Print View

Judging by the quality of that suggestion, Bill would make a good tour guide.

Just to clarify, though, Providence to Franconia Notch is a 3 hour (180 mile) drive under the best of circumstances, and weekend traffic can add an hour or more. Also RI weather can be world's apart from what's going on in the Whites, so be prepared for just about anything before committing to that drive.

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Weekend In Rhode Island on 08/28/2008 12:15:27 MDT Print View

Brett is right about the travel time. I usually leave late at night or at the crack of dawn to avoid traffic so I have usually made it up there in about 3 hours. I've heard many theories about which route to take around Boston (95, 93, 495 or 128) depending on the time of day. I'd figure out what time you are leaving and returning and ask someone locally for advice.

Ben Balcombe
(chiefsilverback) - F
Re: Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/28/2008 17:22:30 MDT Print View

Bill - Thank you very much for your incredibly detailed post. Having had a little play on Google Earth those distances certainly look perfectly acceptable for a nice weekend on the hill!

Just out of interested what are the options if I get to the Garfield Ridge campsite and find it full?

Also some of the campground FAQs hint at the sites having toilet facilities but is it still wise to pack the trusty trowel?

Brett - Thanks for the comments re. traffic hotspots and route options from Providence to the Whites!

Edited by chiefsilverback on 08/28/2008 17:26:01 MDT.

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Weekend in Rhode Island on 08/28/2008 19:41:11 MDT Print View

Ben,

Garfield has both tent platforms and a lean-to. The lean-to holds a lot of people. I asked the caretaker the same question the last time that I was there and she said that she has never had to turn people away.

Garfield does have an outhouse.

One more thing to keep in mind. After you pass Mt. Garfield on your way to the campsites, you will travel downhill for a bit and the turnoff for the campsites is on your left. Just after the turn, you will cross a stream. The campsites are another 5 minute walk past the stream. The stream is the water source for the campsites, so it is a good idea to fill up on water before you go to the camping area so you don’t have to go back later. It’s not a big deal, but if you are tired, it’s a bit of a hassle to backtrack.

Just in case you like to check in with someone at night, cell phone reception is remarkably good on most of the ridges, but a bit spotty at Garfield site.

Have a blast and post a report when you get back.

Bill

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
RE= Recommendations for a weekend in RI on 08/29/2008 06:07:12 MDT Print View

Fancy seeing you here Chief! :)

Ben Balcombe
(chiefsilverback) - F
Re: RE= Recommendations for a weekend in RI on 08/29/2008 16:53:57 MDT Print View

Mike - It'll be an even bigger surprise if you're at the Garfield Ridge campsite next Saturday evening!!! ;o)