River Trail to Shelter Trail Loop

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Arcadia Management Area

River Trail to Shelter Trail Loop is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Exeter, Rhode Island that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from March until December. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length4.9 miElevation gain337 ftRoute typeLoop
dog friendlyKid friendlyHikingForestRiverWildflowers
Description
Waypoints (1)

This is a variant on the many ways you can hike around Breakheart Pond and the Shelter Trail. You can start at the Frosty Hollow fishing area (parking there), and cross over Frosty Hollow Rd and follow the Shelter Trail clockwise (white blazes). Keep your eyes open for the blazes as they can be somewhat faded in spots. As the recorded map shows, this part of the trail heads towards the northwest but then switches south and twists back and forth before heading back in a northerly direction. It can feel confusing to anyone who keeps an eye on the sun for direction - but stick to the trail and the blazes and you'll enjoy the walk. Most of this part of the hike is very easy over pine needles. Near the end of this section you cross though a long open field until you reach Plains Rd. (a drive-able dirt road). Turn right and follow this road for a half mile, then turn left at the 4 way crossing with Frosty Hollow Rd. through a red gate onto Matteson Plain Rd. (trail). Don't mistakenly turn into the RI DEM Education Center, this trail is a few hundred feet after that entrance. Matteson Plain Rd splits after a short while to the east and becomes the Newman Trail, which you will follow easily for .7 miles to the Hicks Trail on the right. The Hicks Trail hugs the western side of Breakheart Pond and is very flat, wide, and easy hiking. At the pond parking area, cross the bridge at the dam and make a sharp right back onto the Shelter (aka River) Trail. This is the most interesting part of the hike, where the trail follows alongside Breakheart Brook. It gets slippery and can be difficult after very wet weather. Nothing dramatic, but be prepared for muddy shoes and a few steep ups and downs. At approx. 1/2 mile from the bridge the trail bears up and to the left then comes to a fence opening with a 3 way trail intersection just after. Make a sharp right and follow this easy walk back to the parking area (about 10 minutes). Aside from the piece along the brook, this walk is all very easy and can be done in just over 2 hours with a few breaks.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (40)
Photos (452)
Recordings (41)
Completed (98)
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robyn coccia
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Hiking
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Bonnie Pelletier Donahue
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Hiking

It was ok

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Glenn Flosdorf
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HikingMuddy

The first mile or so of the trail if you go counter clockwise along the brook is nice though it can get slippery & muddy after a rain however after that much of the trail is service road till you get to Shelter trail after going through the field.

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Alexandra Neill
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Hiking

A little muddy, but worth walking upstream next to the river

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Christopher Sowa
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Hiking

Good trail. A bit narrow and muddy today on shelter part

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Sarah Enright
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HikingBugsMuddy
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Sarah Enright
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Hiking

I didn’t exactly stick to the trail (I never do) there was a long stretch of just a boring dirt road, other than that it was beautiful. The old cemetery is really cool. It’s a pretty easy trail, great hike to take your kids on. Ran into very few people, but everyone I did encounter pulled up their masks and followed social distancing.

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Keila Carvalho
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HikingFlooded

Fun hike a little tricky in the beginning but over all fun

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Casey Hayes
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Hiking

Okay so I started this trail clockwise, and it was pretty unfulfilling and mostly on a road halfway of the trail, which I didn’t super enjoy. The last part after breakheart pond is very wet and muddy, but has great views of the rapids in the river. I liked the last part of this trail much better than the whole of it.

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Camille Speca
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Hiking

I loved this 5+ mile trail. We parked by the fishing pond and chose the white trail. This trail had excellent markers for the first 2 or so miles, after, markers were sketchy. I had to refer to the map in a few places. Otherwise, this is a beautiful trail, it has some uphills and a few pretty rocky areas, but overall, it's an easy hike with beautiful scenery including a pond, several small streams, meadow, pine forest and wide bridle trails. Will definitely do this one again!

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Grace Hebert Arnold
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Hiking
First to Review

The Shelter Trail is pretty flat and easy. The last section is John B Hudson; which is pretty, but very challenging, rocky, steep and sometimes icy or muddy. Then back on Shelter Trail back to the fishing spot.

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Brendan Johanson
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Hiking
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Kristin Miner
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Lisa Allen
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Debbie Sayer
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Hiking
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Nikki Gladding
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Hiking
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M Gagnon
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Hiking
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Rachel Williams
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Sarah Enright
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Terrie David
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Hiking
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Hwa Lee
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Sarah Luczkowski
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Greg Morris
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Eve Needham
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robyn coccia
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Michael Bourgoin
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Carl Richards
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Mountain biking
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Jesse Coker
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Cody Volpe
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