Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Middletown
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Description & Overview:
If you are looking for colorful, easy to see birds, then Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is the place to be. The refuge is home to the second largest wintering population of harlequin ducks on the Atlantic coast. The harlequins, named after the clowns they resemble, can be seen along the refuge's rocky shoreline between November and March each year. By scanning the coastline, visitors may also see loons, eiders, and gannets. More than 200 bird species visit the refuge seasonally, and other occasional migrating travelers include the peregrine falcon, northern harrier, as well as snowy and short-eared owls.
Walking the nearly 3 miles of trails around Sachuest Point offers visitors the opportunity to experience several habitats where interesting animals and plants can be observed and photographed. The refuge includes 40 acres of salt marsh lands and steep rocky shorelines around the perimeter. Most visitors enjoy year-round birdwatching, and elevated observation platforms along the trails provide unobstructed views of the refuge. A short distance away at Third Beach is our recently restored salt marsh habitat, a new birding "hotspot" and a favorite of birders and non-birders alike. In addition, Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is renowned for its fantastic saltwater fishing, and has an active night fishing permit system.
A stop at the visitor center is an ideal way to begin or end a trail walk. Volunteers, staff, and creative exhibits are available to visitors and provide another way to explore Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge.
The Visitor Center is open daily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Hours: sunrise to sunset, open all year
Miles of Trails: 3 miles
Miles of ADA Accessible Trails: 1.4 miles
Trail Width: Mostly wide, well-graded, accessible trails
Trail Rating: Easy Explanation
Trail Rating Key
Easy: Trails are relatively smooth and the route is quite obvious such as a single point to point trail or an easy network of trails in an urban or suburban setting where help is always readily at hand. A map may be useful but is not necessary.
Moderate: Somewhat more strenuous trails or harder to follow trails. Trails are well-marked but following them requires a trail map and a trail map is readily available either at the site or online.
Difficult: Strenuous trails, trail systems that mostly involve multi-mile loops and trail systems where there is no available trail map or the trails are not marked.
Are Dogs Allowed? No
Is Horseback Riding Permitted? No
Are Bicycles (non-motorized) Permitted? No
Is Hunting Permitted? No
Other Amenities: Restrooms are available at the Visitor Center, at the entrance to the refuge. There are NO picnic areas or campsites on the refuge.
Trailhead Name: Main Entrance and Visitor Center
Driving Landmarks: Take route 1 South to route 138 East, over the Newport Bridge. Take the Newport exit and pass through downtown Newport on route 138A. Once through the downtown, you will pass First (or Newport) Beach. Just past First Beach, take a right onto Purgatory Road. Take a right onto Sachuest Point Drive and follow to the end, which will bring you directly into the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge parking lot.
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
769 Sachuest Point Road
Middletown, RI 02842
Parking: Yes: Parking lot, 60 spaces, no overnight parking
ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? Yes
The data on this website come from many sources, including volunteers and organizations across the state of Rhode Island and nearby parts of Massachusetts. We have done our best to make sure the data are accurate and up to date, but any information critical to the success of your trip should be confirmed before you start. The maps and information on this website should not be substituted for topographic maps or other more detailed maps and guides. We welcome corrections and additions. To send a correction or provide other feedback, please use our feedback form (see link above).
This site report was last updated on November 7, 2016