Seven Pond Path - Part I
Total distance: 10.2 miles (16.4 kilometers)
Total hiking time: approximately 4 to 6 hours
This hike starts by circling Hidden Lake on the White Trail, then follows the Yellow Trail along the shore of Yawgoog Pond. The route follows the Red Trail and then the Narragansett Trail to visit Long Pond, Ell Pond and Ashville Pond. The route takes Stubtown Road to Canonchet Road and leaves it to visit Blue Pond. The hike returns to Canonchet Road and North Road then takes in Wincheck Pond before ending with the Red Trail at the Three Point dining hall.
Caution: Hikers should be very careful, by wearing at least 400 square inches (2,580 square centimeters) of blaze orange material, such as a vest, when hiking south of the Reservation during hunting season. The Rhode Island hunting season starts on the second Saturday in September and runs through the end of February. Orange is also required in Rhode Island from the third Saturday in April through May 31. Hunting is prohibited in Camp Yawgoog.
From the crossing of the White Trail and Camp Yawgoog Road, follow the White Trail and circle Hidden Lake, taking in the view from the peninsula on the pond's eastern side, and then return to Camp Yawgoog Road.
Take the Yellow Trail to Cooning Orchard, taking in views of Yawgoog Pond from Deer Cove, Hemlock Ledge and Armstrong Point along the way; please see the description for the Yellow Trail for more details on this stretch of the hike.
From Cooning Orchard, head southeast on the connector to the Red Trail. Note that the route is now marked in both red and in yellow for the AMC Narragansett Trail; the Narragansett Trail will be followed to its end. The hike leaves the Red Trail behind and follows the yellow blazes to North Road. Please see the description of the Long and Ell ponds area for the next phase of the hike; Long and Ell ponds are the third and fourth of the trip.
After visiting Ell Pond, descend on the Narragansett Trail between the two ponds.
Eastern view of Long Pond from its southwestern corner in 1951.
Judging from the topography, it appears to be Long Pond, not Yawgoog Pond.
The Scout may be pointing to the large rock outcrop by the pond.
The view is presently obscured by trees.
(Yawgoog Alumni Assn. p. 17)
After a few steep, but short, up-and-down sections, the trail, now heading east, passes by a very large boulder and along a stone wall built on a ledge. Stone walls were usually built to mark property lines; some walls continue to mark current boundaries.
Large boulder on the Narragansett Trail
Stone wall on ledge
The Narragansett Trail soon arrives at the parking area for the Long Pond fishing area. On either side of the short path between the Narragansett Trail and the parking area are two signs of an old homestead. A small stone enclosure can be seen north of the connecting path, and a larger stone enclosure, possibly a corral, can be seen to the south.
Small stone enclosure in winter
Larger stone enclosure in winter
Leaving the parking area behind, the Narragansett Trail meanders through the Rockville Wildlife Management Area, crossing one stream on a log bridge and another on stone slabs.
Stone bridge over stream
After passing by farmer cairns and large boulders, the trail veers right (west) at a large ledge. The former swimming area at Ashville Pond is soon reached; the Town of Hopkinton ended swimming here in 1989 for liability and financial reasons (Rowland, "Ashville Pond Closed"; Rowland, "Council Douses Bid").
Panoramic view of Ashville Pond from the former swimming area
Autumn view of Ashville Pond from the former swimming area
The Narragansett Trail ends at the parking space near the former swimming area. It should be noted that, according to a 1937 map from the Rhode Island State Planning Board (RISPB), the Narragansett Trail used to extend all the way to Route 138 in South Kingstown. The same map also indicates that the portion of the trail between Ashville Pond and Long and Ell ponds was known as the Raymond Path.
From the parking space, proceed left (southeast) onto the paved Stubtown Road, walking single-file on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Just before reaching a house on the left (north), a footpath can be seen heading into the woods; it leads to the small but tidy Francis Tanner Cemetery (Rhode Island Historical Cemetery: Hopkinton 7), with inscriptions going back to 1777.
Francis Tanner Cemetery
The road soon meets Canonchet Road in the mill village of Canonchet. Canonchet was a leader ("sachem") of the Narragansetts in the seventeenth century.
An article in The Boston Daily Globe ("Thunderbolts Attack Village") mentions a single powerful storm that occurred here during the early morning of April 21, 1916:
Practically all of the industrial portion of the village was wiped out, the big plants of the Canonchet Line and Twine Company and the Union Line and Twine Company being destroyed. The cotton mill of Lafayette L. Edwards was damaged, but stone and cement construction saved it.
The home of Oscar Edwards was as completely ruined as if a heavy charge of dynamite had been exploded under it, and Albert Baton was buried beneath his bed and the plaster from walls and ceilings. He escaped unhurt. His first thought when taken out was to ask for his pocketbook.
A sign of mill activity is the underground sluice that empties into a stream near the intersection of Stubtown and Canonchet roads. The sluice runs underneath the residential property at the intersection and is fed by a canal from Ashville Pond.
Stone and concrete terminus of sluice in winter
Turning left (north) onto Canonchet Road, the route revisits Ashville Pond at its fishing area.
View of Ashville Pond from Canonchet Road