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North South Trail: Charlestown to Wood River Junction

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East Beach State Beach

North South Trail: Charlestown to Wood River Junction is a 12.2 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Charlestown, Rhode Island that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length 12.2 mi Elevation gain 688 ft Route type Point to Point

Dog friendly

Kid friendly

Backpacking

Hiking

Horseback riding

Mountain biking

Walking

Running

Forest

Lake

Partially paved

River

Wildlife

Bugs

Historic site

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

This is a nice, easy hike to start you journey along the North South Trail in RI. Maybe not quite as scenic as some of the other hikes along the North South, and you'll spend some time on both paved and dirt roads, but there a few pleasant surprises. Nice covered bridge maintained by the AMC in the middle - far from anywhere.

Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area - (401) 789-7481

Start at Charlestown Town Beach in Charlestown, RI. Get there by heading south on Route 1 (Post Road) from Route 112. Just shy of 4.5 miles, there is a jug-handle marked "All Turns West Beach Road East Beach Road" on the right. Turn here to head back north on Route 1. After passing through the light to head north, proceed about a half mile. East Beach road is on the right. Follow it to the end where there is parking at the beach.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (30)
Photos (159)
Recordings (32)
Completed (57)
Jennifer Cummiskey
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HikingBugsFee

$30 to park at the beach! Otherwise great hike!

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Michael Calabro
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Hiking

Well marked, fairly easy 12 mile trip. Lots of road walking.

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Justin Wadja
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Hiking

Way too much road walking. Hopefully the rest of the 80 miles is actually in the woods. Very well marked though.

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Roger Barthelet
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Hiking

I generously gave this hike 3 stars because of the great trail markings. There was no way you could take a wrong turn with all the blue blazes. The hike itself was easy although 55 to 60% of it was on roads of some kind. Some were dirt roads, others were tarred. . Parking in Wood River is limited but available at the Meadowbrook Pond Fishing Area & Boat Launch on Church Street. This is where we parked the 2nd car for when we completed the 12 mile hike from Blue Shutters Beach. This is on the left just past the intersection of Church Street and Switch Road going west on Church Street. From everything I have read, this is the least scenic leg of the 80 mile hike. The highlights of this hike was a covered bridge with seating where we enjoyed a lunch break. Also of interest was some foundation ruins, and large animal footprints. Possibly large coyote or mountain lion. It was one of the easiest 12 mile hikes that I have done.

LISA MURPHY
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Mountain bikingOver grown
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Jeanne Casiano
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My grandson and I hiked 9.6 mi of this section SOBO, preferring to skip the first couple of miles of blacktop and finish at Blue Shutters Beach. The trail was open, easy and pleasant, with no tough climbs and no uncertain terrain. Finding the covered bridge was fun and provided a great spot for a break, as did the picnic table at the no-longer-used campsite in Burlingame State Park. The finale at the beach was a welcome reward for that last mile of trekking on more blacktop in unrelenting sun.

Jon Magnuson
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Mountain biking

Rode north to south and was a bit more challenging than expected, as about 25% of the trail within Burlingame was washed out by recent rains which meant some real "off-road" biking. Once we hit the paved stretches, it was clear all the way to the beach at the southern-most end of the trail. Cooled our tired feet in the surf! A local science teacher we encountered at the start pointed out a geological phenomenon called a "glacial erratic" (see photo). Apparently, only one of a very few in all of Rhode Island. He recounted how local Narragansett tribes would rock it back and forth creating a sound which could be heard for miles - they used it to summon outlying villages to great gatherings. The erratic is located 20 feet off the road approx. 200 yards east of the intersection of Shumankanuc Hill Rd and Kings Factory Road (on the southwestern edge of the Indian Cedar Swamp Management Area)

Vicki Bejma
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Hiking

The North South Trail begins at this point on Blue Shutters Beach, Charlestown. I didn't waste time on the beach, but parked in the lot and got moving. That its because within a mile or so, you get to what is perhaps the most dangerous point on the North South Trail: the Route 1 crossing. That crossing is why I never considered going near this section over the summer, what with the beach traffic. Even though I went after Labor Day, I had my reservations. Fortunately, on this particular day they were having a bicycle race that covered part of Route 1. The Charlestown Police were detailed right at the crossing, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to get help crossing Route 1. So, I never really stopped to look at Blue Shutters Beach. Now, of course, with Sandy having battered the coast, I suppose I will never really get to appreciate what Blue Shutters was. I have to say that this section just isn't a very inspiring start to the one trail that runs the entire length of the State. You spend a lot of time on the road in summer home/residential area before getting to Burlingame Management area.

Don Martin
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Hiking

Started our group hike for the North South Trail along this section. Although we completed the N/S Trail South to North we hiked this section north to south to end at the ocean. Had 2" to 4" of snow on ground at 32 degrees. The trail winds its way through wooded wetlands, crosses a brook by way of a small covered bridge and rounds the west side of Ninigret Pond. As with several sections of the N/S Trail has some paved road walking, this time about a mile to the beach. Still a great way to see rural Rhode Island. For more information check our journals at Blackstone Valley Outfitters website.

Henry Ash
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Backpacking
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Laura Wilhelm
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Hiking
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Laura Wilhelm
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Hiking
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Laura Wilhelm
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Hiking
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Michael Diener
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Hiking
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K McG
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Hiking
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K McG
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Mountain biking
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Jeremy Weinand
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Mountain biking
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Susan Pike
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Hiking
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Allan Peckham
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Hiking
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Susan Pike
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Hiking
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Nadia M.
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Hiking
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Dave Fitzpatrick
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Hiking
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Connie Rossi
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Hiking
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Kirsta Wheelock
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Hiking
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Bryon Belleavoine
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Hiking
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Dave Fitzpatrick
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Hiking
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Tim Terreault
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Hiking
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Dave Fitzpatrick
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Hiking
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Chris Raymond
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Hiking
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