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Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Charlestown

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Hunting is permitted here (hunters should check with the property manager before hunting). During hunting season everyone using the trails here should wear blaze orange. Remember, hunting season includes much of the late fall, winter and spring. More details.

In Rhode Island the primary hunting seasons typically run from the second Saturday in September to the last day of February and from the third Saturday in April to the last day in May, however this can vary from year to year and depends on what game is being hunted. During hunting season you should wear at least 200 square inches (a hat OR a vest) of blaze orange. During shotgun deer season, which is typically in December, you should wear at least 500 square inches of blaze orange (a hat AND a vest). For more information see the RI DEM website.

Description & Overview:

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There are two parts to the Ninigret Wildlife Refuge, the Kettle Pond area, north of Route 1 and the Salt Pond area, south of Route 1. The Kettle Pond area abuts the ASRI Kimball Sanctuary and Burlingame State Park.

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is one of five national wildlife refuges in Rhode Island. Established in 1970, it consists of 858 acres of diverse upland and wetland habitats including grasslands, shrub lands, wooded swamps and freshwater ponds. Formerly part of Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Landing Fields, the refuge now provides visitors with six miles of hiking trails. You may enjoy an excellent view of Ninigret Pond, the largest coastal salt pond in Rhode Island, from the observation platform at Grassy Point. For the birding enthusiasts, over 250 species of birds have been recorded at Ninigret. Also, refuge shores support a large diversity of marine life such as blue crab, bay scallop, and winter flounder.

The parcel of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge where the Kettle Pond Visitor Center is located is referred to as the headquarters unit. Purchased in 2001, this parcel of forested uplands is home to pitch and white pines, black and white oaks, blueberry shrubs, sweet fern, and princess pine. Hiking along the trails offer visitors a chance to witness visual reminders of the great ice sheet, see changes in the seasonal vernal pool, and views of Watchaug Pond.

Ninigret Wildlife Refuge Website

Trail Safety Information
 

What's There:

Hours: sunrise to sunset, open all year

Miles of Trails: 6 miles

Miles of ADA Accessible Trails: 2.8 miles

Trail Width: Some trails are wide, well-graded, accessible trails; others are narrower

Trail Rating: Moderate   Explanation

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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.

Skiing/Snowshoeing: Yes

Are Dogs Allowed? Leashed dogs are allowed at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center trails, except for on the Toupoysett Pond Trail.

Is Horseback Riding Permitted? No

Are Bicycles (non-motorized) Permitted? No

Is Hunting Permitted? Yes. Contact property manager for details before hunting. Walkers wear orange during hunting season!

Other Amenities: Restrooms are available at the Kettle Pond visitor center and the East Entrance parking lot. At the adjacent Burlingame State Park there are restrooms too, as well as camping, picnic facilities, and a swimming beach.

Trailheads:

Trailhead Name: Kettle Pond Vistor Center

Coordinates: 41° 22.066' N    71° 41.111' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Acme Maps

Google Maps is the mapping system used on the new ExploreRI maps and shows the trailhead located on a terrain view, a street map or an aerial photograph. Clicking on this link will take you to the full Google Maps website, which is not part of ExploreRI.org.
Acme Maps shows the trailhead located on a topographic map. The Acme Maps website is not part of ExploreRI.org.

Driving Landmarks: If you are coming from the North on U.S. Route 1 South, just follow the signs and the entrance is on your right. If you are coming from the South on U.S. Route 1 North, you will have to double back to travel a short distance heading south on Route 1. The address is 50 Bend Road, Charlestown, RI 02813.

Parking: Yes: Parking lot, 60 spaces, no overnight parking

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? Yes


Trailhead Name: East Entrance to Salt Pond area

Coordinates: 41° 21.898' N    71° 39.37' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Acme Maps

Google Maps is the mapping system used on the new ExploreRI maps and shows the trailhead located on a terrain view, a street map or an aerial photograph. Clicking on this link will take you to the full Google Maps website, which is not part of ExploreRI.org.
Acme Maps shows the trailhead located on a topographic map. The Acme Maps website is not part of ExploreRI.org.

Driving Landmarks: If you are coming from the North on U.S. Route 1 South you will have to double back to travel a short distance heading north on Route 1. If you are coming from the South on U.S. Route 1 North, you will veer off of Route 1 onto Old Post Rd. Enter Charlestown's Ninigret Park and drive through the park to get to our parking area, public restrooms and kayak launch site. Follow the road past the tennis courts, playgrounds, Frosty Drew Nature Center, frisbee golf course, stay straight at the turn for the Charlestown Senior Center, go past the new bark park and you will see a brown sign on your right.

Parking: Yes: Parking lot, 34 spaces, no overnight parking

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? Yes


Trailhead Name: West Entrance to Salt Pond area

Coordinates: 41° 22.099' N    71° 40.276' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Acme Maps

Google Maps is the mapping system used on the new ExploreRI maps and shows the trailhead located on a terrain view, a street map or an aerial photograph. Clicking on this link will take you to the full Google Maps website, which is not part of ExploreRI.org.
Acme Maps shows the trailhead located on a topographic map. The Acme Maps website is not part of ExploreRI.org.

Driving Landmarks: This will be the second entrance coming from either direction. There will be large brown highway signs to guide you, but from the North you will have to double back at Wildflower Road to travel a short distance heading north on Route 1. This entrance is directly off of Route 1 and is just past a gas station and real estate office on your right.

Parking: Yes: Parking lot, 43 spaces, no overnight parking

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? Yes

 

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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

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