Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:12 Sanderson Road (RI 5), Smithfield, RI
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free

asri.org; 401-949-5454

Bathrooms: At the visitor center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain next to the bathrooms

Discover an unexpected landscape near a very busy urban area at Powder Mill Ledges.

Enjoy a quiet walk through the pines at Powder Mill Ledges.
Photo by: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

This 120-acre wildlife refuge offers trails ranging from 0.5 mile to 1.25 miles through woods and wetlands, and beside a pond and a brook. The visitor center, which is also the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s headquarters, houses a library, where you can browse through a great selection of nature books. A gift shop and bird-feeding station are also inside. What is so striking here is that this sanctuary is just off two busy highways. Once you start walking, though, the sounds drop away and you’d never guess how close you are to civilization.

The shortest hike is along Orange Trail, which you can pick up from the center. You can either do the inner loop (0.45 mile) or the outer loop (0.85 mile). If you want to explore farther, you can connect to the 1.25-mile Blue Trail at three different points. Blue Trail then links to Yellow Trail (0.75 mile).

Visit in winter for great snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, or to take part in one of the Audubon events, such as winter wildlife wreath making or New England owl talks.

Remember: When you look outside the boundaries of this property, you’ll see a stark reminder of what our landscapes can turn into if we don’t protect them.

Plan B:

About 2 miles south of Powder Mill, Snake Den State Park is a 1,000-acre park with self-guided walking trails and a working farm.

Where to Eat Nearby:

You’ll see a lot of dining options on RI 5 and US 44.


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