Francis C. Carter Preserve Yellow Trail is a 2.6 mile out and back trail located near Charlestown, RI that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding.
Stone walls are never far from sight, with plenty of ups and downs... The Yellow Trail runs east-west across the Carter Preserve, with the main trailhead at the parking lot on Route 112. Just a few steps from the parking lot there is an observation platform overlooking a large vernal pool. Depending on the season, there may be a pond here or a grassy meadow. An interpretive panel describes this pond's annual disappearing act. Ahead on the left and right, are the access points for the Split Rock and Red Trails, respectively, which are described in separate trail guides. The Yellow Trail continues straight ahead, and soon demonstrates the kettle hole topography found on much of the preserve. About a third of the way along, an impressive rock outcropping looms above the trail. Young hikers are encouraged to find their way to the top, just watch your step! Across the trail, a small depression holds water in early spring, attracting wood frogs and salamanders. At the half way point, hikers will encounter several small stone piles, or cairns. It remains a mystery whether they were built by Native Americans or 19th century farmers. Farther on, watch for a second rock outcropping on the left; this one features an intact stone wall that rises up and over the ledge. The last quarter-mile of the Yellow Trail settles down into a relatively flat stand of oak and birch forest, winding around a low bog or two. It concludes at the intersection with the Narragansett-Grassland Trail. To the right is a half-mile trail to an open field; just to the left is the Old Mill Road parking lot.