Long and Ell Ponds Area
Total distance: 1.15 miles (1.85 kilometers)
Total hiking time: approximately 30 minutes
(one-way, from the Red Trail to the ponds)
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 in the Long and Ell ponds area 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.
The route to Long and Ell ponds begins at the juncture where the main Red Trail turns right (southwest), after rising from Cedar Swamp. To get to the ponds hikers should take the left-hand (eastern) trail from this juncture. Just a few yards before reaching North Road (also called Hopkinton-Rockville Road, Long Bridge Road, Old Rockville Road, Rockville Road, and West Rockville Road) an unusual tree can be seen on the right (southwest); this tree has fallen and two of its branches have grown into trees themselves!
The trail then turns left on the road to head east; walk single-file on the left side of the road, which reaches the parking lot for the Long and Ell ponds area. The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Narragansett Trail continues toward the ponds and beyond. Land in the area is owned and managed by several entities, including:
- The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, as part of the Rockville Wildlife Management Area,
- The Audubon Society of Rhode Island,
- The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island
Swimming, campfires, and littering are prohibited. The Audubon Society prohibits geocaching on its portions of area; see the map.
The rocky trail leads south from the parking lot on North Road toward the ponds. After roughly six minutes of hiking, the trail arrives at a fork of four trails. The unmarked path on the right leads westward to a view of Ell Pond, now mostly obscured by trees (perhaps a vista can be opened). A plaque is embedded in a boulder there to mark the locality's significance as a National Natural Landmark. The author is seeking older images of Ell Pond.
The former view of Ell Pond as photographed by Lawrence S. Millard and
published in 1978 in 25 Walks in Rhode Island by Ken Weber (p. 23)
Present view from about the same location
A glimpse of Ell Pond
Back at the fork, the Narragansett Trail continues straight ahead (southwest) to descend the ravine between the two ponds and then crosses a stream. The stream flows from Ell Pond to Long Pond and it has been called Pepsi Stream by some Yawgoog staff because of its brown, cola-like color. Curving around Long Pond, the Narragansett leads away from camp and ends in Hopkinton at Ashville Pond (see the Seven Pond Path).
The unmarked left-hand (eastern) path leads from the fork and arrives at a massive rock formation in just over three minutes. Hikers can either scramble up the formation by turning toward the pond or take an easier path behind the formation; a great view of the region can be seen from the top of this enormous outcrop. The outcrop was a filming location for the 2012 movie Moonrise Kingdom. Hikers should not continue any farther around the northern shore of Long Pond, because it is private property. Travelers can return to Yawgoog by retracing their steps.
Rock formation at Long Pond
Panoramic view of Long Pond
Note: Horses are prohibited in Camp Yawgoog (land north and west of North Road). If horse riders, hoof prints or feces are observed on trails, please contact Narragansett Council. A sign noting the prohibition of horseback riding and other activities is posted on the trail to North Road; please notify the Council if the sign is missing. More information is available.
Driving Directions to Long and Ell Ponds from Yawgoog: Turn right (southeast) at the intersection of Route 138 (Spring Street) and Camp Yawgoog Road and immediately veer right (southeast) onto Wincheck Pond Road, until it ends at Canonchet Road (less than 0.25 mile/0.4 kilometer). Turn right (south) onto Canonchet Road for 0.4 mile (0.6 kilometer) and veer right (southwest) onto North Road (not the hard right turn onto Yeles Lane). The Long and Ell Ponds parking area will be seen to the left (south), about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) on North Road, which becomes a dirt road along the way. Additional roadside parking is available farther down on North Road.
Driving Directions to Long and Ell Ponds from Interstate 95: Take Exit 2 to Route 3 South (Main Street) via Woodville Alton Road. Turn left onto Route 3 for 0.5 mile (0.9 kilometer), then turn right (northwest) onto Canonchet Road. Follow Canonchet Road for 2.8 miles (4.6 kilometers) and make a hard left (southwest) turn onto North Road. The Long and Ell Ponds parking area will be seen to the left (south), about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) on North Road, which becomes a dirt road along the way. Additional roadside parking is available farther down on North Road.
- Map: Long and Ell Ponds Area (JPG)
- Ell Pond Preserve
The Nature Conservancy's portion of the area.
- Long Pond Woods
The portion owned by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. The Society offers Scouting programs.
- Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM)
- Park and Management Area Regulations (PDF)
- Wildlife Management Area Maps (Arcadia, Rockville, etc.)
- Camping and Hiking in Black Bear Country
Important safety tips from The American Bear Association. Black bears have been seen in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
- Images from the Appalachian Mountain Club, taken March 31, 1940.
- Long Pond
- Part of Ell Pond, with part of Long Pond in the distance. Note the clear view of Ell Pond that existed then.
- Bookmarked Geocaches
- A discussion on maintenance of Scouting-related geocaches.
- Bad Ideas, Bomb Scares, etc.
Cautionary tales of geocaches placed without landowner permission or careful thought about location.
- Narragansett Trail
Selected geocaches on the Narragansett Trail. Note: The Audubon Society of Rhode Island (ASRI) prohibits geocaching on its portions of the Long and Ell ponds area; see the map.
- Moonrise Kingdom