Winding Around the Ponds

A Visit to North Kingstown's Ryan Park


Hiking is quite a sport for many Rhode Islanders, my family included. In this marvelous state, there is always a new trail to explore with our dogs, armed with a backpack filled with goodies and of course, a camera to capture the beauty of nature. Recently we traveled to Ryan Park, located near the artsy town of Wickford, RI, tucked between Post Road and Route 4. Ryan Park is known for its attractive surroundings, softball fields, and a superb hiking trail that takes you through dense forests and around lovely ponds.

With multiple entrances to the park, including the main south entrance Ryan Park and another one off of Ten Rod Road, we chose the one directly in back of the fields. The path’s trailhead leads around the boat landing area and then winds through the fern-encrusted forests surrounding Belleville Pond. Parts of the path are quite narrow, but not enough to deter my dogs, my husband and myself.

If you stay on the path and don’t venture off into the forests, you will wind past some magnificent nesting grounds for ospreys, swans, and other wildlife. Wildflowers are abundant and there are quite a few varieties that will peak your interest. We crossed a bridge that provided us access to the surrounding areas of Belleville Pond.

The now-complete process for the recent reconstruction of the Belleville Pond dam was quite amazing, which required using rubber sheathing, rocks, lumber, concrete and what must be an unbelivable amount of manpower to hold back the immense force of the pond. Not wanting to turn back and retrace our steps, we traveled around the barriers and crossed the construction area, always conscious of our footing.

The hiking trail continues on through the forests, where we captured views of people fishing, picnicking, and generally having a great time in the outdoors. There are some muddy patches along the trails, which our dogs always seem to find in our hiking adventures.

You can veer off the path a bit, which will gain you entrance to the pond (bringing relief to our muddy dogs), and then quick access back to the trails.

Depending on which path you take, plan on allowing for 1 to 2 hours of good hiking. Maybe bring some sunscreen along with you, as there are many areas that are quite open and not much shade to protect you from the sun.

The path we took led us back to the boat landing area, where we enjoyed our much-needed refreshments, and a rest before heading back home. Make sure you stretch those leg muscles as much as you can, to prevent getting shin splints.

If hiking isn’t your sport, but shopping is, head on down to the town of Wickford and enjoy some browsing and maybe some ice cream, or whatever ‘floats your boat’ (pun).

Stay tuned for more adventures of hiking in Rhode Island, and don’t forget to pack your bug spray!

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