The easiest access to the Narragansett-Grassland Trail is from the parking lot on Old Mill Road. The trail is not blazed, but look for a wooden kiosk, which serves as the trailhead.
The trail starts in a shady, upland forest of oak and black birch, featuring lively birdsong almost year-round. Soon the path slopes gently but steadily downhill, past mountain laurel, ferns, and chipmunk burrows. At the bottom of the hill, a side trail on the left leads to a stone fireplace. The cabin that once accompanied it has long since disappeared.
Straight ahead, the trail breaks out of the forest and a large, open field suddenly comes into view. A mile-long grassy trail loops around the field, maintained under a contract with the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. The trail and the habitat were both enhanced in 2008, when The Nature Conservancy heavily thinned the pines on the east and north sides of the field. A healthy shrub community of blueberry, huckleberry, and bayberry has filled in the gaps between the remaining trees, providing cover and food for a host of songbirds. In 2009, we added six nest boxes in and around the grassland, which have attracted bluebirds and tree swallows to the preserve.
The wide, flat trail invites leisurely exploration, and four evenly spaced benches offer opportunties to enjoy the show. Turkey vultures often glide overhead during the day, and a dozen or more deer will come out to feed in the evenings. When your batteries are sufficiently recharged, the trail at the grassland interpretive panel will take you back up the hill to the parking lot.
The trail around the grassland is flat and easy, but climbing the hill back to the parking lot may be challenging for visitors with limited mobility.
The western edge of the field is on the preserve boundary. Please respect our neighbor's property.
Bring insect repellent in the summer months. Mosquitoes can be aggressive in late spring and early summer.
More than 50 bird species have been recorded around the grassland, including Kingbirds, Prairie Warblers, Indigo Buntings, and Grasshopper Sparrows, which nest in only one other location in Rhode Island.