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Roger Williams Park

Providence, City of Providence

6.0 miles of trail

1.3 miles

Easy

Moderate

Difficult

1.3 miles of trail at this site are wheelchair and stroller-friendly, however, these trails may not meet ADA standards.

Close

Very Easy

Trails that are smooth and relatively level with no steps, no roots, stones or uneven ground. These may be paved, crushed stone, continuous boardwalk and similar surfaces. These trails have a route that is quite obvious such as a single point to point trail or an easy loop or network of trails.

Easy

Relatively flat and smooth trails with a route that is quite obvious such as a single point to point trail or an easy loop or network of trails.

Moderate

May have a few hills or steep sections and multiple surface types including rocks and roots. Trails are generally well-marked but following them requires a trail map.

Difficult

Strenuous trails, trail systems that mostly involve multi-mile loops and trails that are narrow and may have obstacles such as stream crossings or rocky areas, some trails are less well marked.

Click on the "Trail Map (PDF)" button to download a PDF of the trail map that you can print and take with you on the trail.

Avenza maps are special, free maps that you can use in the Avenza app on your smart phone. These maps let you see your location on the map as you walk. Download the Avenza App for free in the Apple App Store or on Google Play

Click on the Avenza Trail Map button to "purchase" the free map for this trail from the Avenza map store. If this is your first time, Avenza will ask you to set up an account to check out. However, all Avenza trail maps listed on ExploreRI are free.

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.

What’s There:

Roger Williams Park covers over 435 acres in the South Elmwood neighborhood of Providence, and consists of recreational ponds, public gardens, extensive walkways and trails, tennis courts, ball fields, playgrounds, public art, the Roger Williams Park Zoo, and other recreational amenities. The Park maintains several public historic buildings, including the Bandstand, Museum of Natural History, Botanical Center, Temple to Music, and the Casino. It is also home to the Providence Police Department Mounted Command horse stables.

The Park was created in 1871 after Betsey Williams bequeathed 102 acres of farmland and woodland to the city of Providence to be used for public purpose. Horace Cleveland, a leader in the Urban Parks Movement, created the design for the Park. It was intended to serve as a refuge for those working in highly industrialized Providence in the late nineteenth century.

Miles of roads and trails wind through the park providing countless options for walking. In addition there are five marked trails that make it easy to explore different parts of the park. These trails are described below. See pages 2 through 6 of the park map for maps of the individual trails. The trails have varying lengths and difficulty ratings. Be sure to keep an eye out for poison ivy while you’re out walking in Roger Williams Park! Also, trails sometimes cross roadways, so be aware of vehicle traffic through the park.

Big Lakes Trail: Follow the white diamond blazes along this trail around Roger Williams Park’s Pleasure Lake, Edgewood Lake, Elm Lake and Cunliff Lake. This trail is mostly unpaved with some steep, difficult sections, and passes by the Dalrymple Boathouse, the Swan Boat dock, and the beautiful Temple to Music overlooking Cunliff Lake.
Mileage: 3.2
Difficulty: difficult

Bluff-to-Bluff Trail: Follow the red diamond blazes along this trail by some of the Park’s smaller lakes – Polo Lake, Willow Lake, and Roosevelt Lake. This mostly paved trail passes by the Museum of Natural History and the historic Betsey Williams Cottage. Be sure to take a look at the huge, beautiful Sycamore tree in front of the Betsey Williams Cottage!
Mileage: 1
Difficulty: difficult

Hawthorne Trail: Follow the yellow diamond blazes along this flat, paved loop trail that begins at Broad Street and passes by the Tennis Courts, Baseball fields, and the Haitian Independence Memorial.
Mileage: 0.75
Difficulty: moderate

Roosevelt Lake Trail: Follow the blue diamond blazes along this flat, paved trail around Roosevelt Lake. Along the way, you’ll see the beautiful Japanese Garden, Carousel, Bandstand, and the historic Casino.
Mileage: 0.57
Difficulty: moderate

Temple View Trail: Follow the yellow diamond blazes along this trail out to an amazing view of the Temple to Music from the center of Cunliff Lake. This trail is unpaved, but mostly flat and is a short – but worthwhile – trip. The trail follows an esker, which is a long ridge of gravel and sand originally deposited by streams that flowed in sub-glacial ice tunnels.
Mileage: 0.48
Difficulty: easy

Roger Williams Park Conservancy website

Providence Parks Department website

Bicycles: Only on streets that are also open to cars and in the bike park

Other Amenities: There are many, many amenities within the park including a playing fields, tennis courts, boating, playgrounds, among other things. Also within the park are the Roger Williams Park Zoo, the Botanical Center, and the Museum of Natural History.

Getting There:

Elmwood Avenue Entrance

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: Many would consider this the main entrance to the park. It is off of Elmwood Avenue, about 1/4 mile north of Route 10, which connects with I-95. Once in the park there are various parking options. See the map for details.

Parking: Yes: Other

Coordinates: 41° 47.173' N    71° 25.161' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Acme Maps


Hawthorne Avenue Entrance

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 entrance to the park is off of Broad Street, just south of where Broad Street crosses I-95, but note that since there is no exit here off I-95 this is not necessarily the best entrance to use if you are arriving via the highway. Once in the park there are various options for parking, including the parking lots for the tennis center, which are on the right about 1/4 mile after you enter the park. See the map for details.

Parking: Yes: Other, no overnight parking

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? Yes

Coordinates: 41° 47.569' N    71° 24.49' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Acme Maps


Park Avenue Entrance

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 entrance to the park is off of Park Avenue, at the south end of the park. This entrance is easily reached from Route 10, which also connects with I-95. Once in the park there are various options for parking. See the map for details.

Parking: Yes: Other, no overnight parking

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? Yes

Coordinates: 41° 46.406' N    71° 24.888' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Acme Maps


RIPTA Route 6 ends in the park. RIPTA routes 1, 20 and the R pass within easy walking distance of the park.


 

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This site report was last updated on June 16, 2020

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