With 300 acres and 7 miles of marked hiking trails at NBS, nature is accessible for people of all abilities.


Universal Trail

The Universally Accessible Trail invites individuals who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids to explore of a mix of views and wildlife habitats. The 1,500-ft trail is ADA-compliant. It begins at the Welcome Center trailhead entryway and passes through open fields, native flower plantings for pollinators, shrub-land, and forest habitat, with views of the chicken coop and the Good Garden organic gardens.  Packed stone dust provides a wide, even surface, which transitions to boardwalk through the forest, extending to a viewing platform overlooking Red Maple Pond and its abundant wildlife. The Universal Trail is currently under construction.
Distance: .3 miles. 


Quarry Trail

This trail passes through open fields and forest including the Yew Forest, an interesting land feature remaining from a time when portions of the property were leased to local nurseries. NBS maintains the fields for grassland nesting birds such as Tree Swallows, Bobolinks and Sparrows. Find the old slate quarry that has become a pond. Listen for frogs calling and the trickling of the spring water that feeds the pond. Distance: .4 miles.

Woodcock Trail

A level, grassy trail through old field habitat, small clearings and forest stands of black cherry and black locust. Visit the old Gardiner family cemetery plot. Distance: .5 miles.

Hanging Rock Trail

This rocky walk along the most eastern of the Sanctuary’s three ridges provides excellent views of the ocean, Gardiner Pond to the south, the Sakonnet River arm of the Narragansett Bay to the east and St. Georges School to the west. Notice the area’s unique rock form called “puddingstone” or Purgatory Conglomerate. The highest elevation of the rock trail is 70 feet. There is no access to the beach or road from this trail. Distance: 1 mile.

Red Fox Trail

This trail with lovely views passes over a stony ridge with oak, red cedar and hickory trees. Stone walls and small patches of grass remain from its past use as a pasture. Compare this ridge rock with the “puddingstone” or Purgatory Conglomerate. Notice that this ridge is made up of diabase, the only igneous rock at the Sanctuary. Distance: 1.2 miles.

Nelson Pond Trail

Walk this ridge trail along the east side of Nelson Pond. Views from the cliffs are ideal for bird watchers and photographers. Look to find the stone walls below the surface of the pond; evidence of the pastures of years past. This trail also passes a vernal pool, a seasonal pond where frogs and salamanders lay their eggs. Distance: 1.4 miles.

Valley Trail

This dead end, shady, secluded trail, in between Hanging Rock and Red Fox Ridges passes through a mature forest community. See ash, oak, beech, maple, cherry, holly and ferns. This trail provides an alternate view of our ridges from below. Distance: 1.2 miles.

Gardiner Pond Trail

This trail parallels the Hanging Rock Trail below the rocky ridge and provides easy access up via a short staircase. Climb to the top and enjoy the view then continue to the end of Hanging Rock.

Gray Craig Trail

This looped trail has a boardwalk and leads across Paradise Brook and through a marsh. Follow the loop up to the top of the ridge and back down. Distance: 1 mile. 

Woodland Trail

This trail meanders through red maple and black gum woodland characteristic of wet areas of Aquidneck Island. Part of the trail follows the route of an olde bridle path. Find the area known as Eagle Rock where NBS campers build forts and play hide and go seek. Distance: 1.1 miles. 

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