Narragansett Trail and Lantern Hill
IMPORTANT NOTES: The former portion of the Narragansett Trail between Route 49 (Pendleton Hill Road) and Tom Wheeler Road in North Stonington that was on land owned by the Groton Sportsmen's Club has been closed by the Club. The Connecticut Forest and Park Association is working on a reroute. Another portion of the trail, between Wintechog Hill Road and Route 2 in North Stonington, is temporarily closed for land clearance; the trail will be reestablished there.
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 this route during hunting season. The Connecticut hunting season starts on September 1 and runs through the end of February. 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.
On the way up Lantern Hill, after the path leaves a level stretch, hikers should watch for the blue markers carefully, as the Narragansett Trail will diverge from the main route by veering right (southwest); both routes meet at the top of the hill, though. Hikers should also beware of other unmarked trails on the hill. Panoramic views can be enjoyed from the summit.
The Narragansett Trail descends the hill by heading south; again, beware of unmarked paths. The blue blazes turn east to enter the North Stonington public works area, behind the town dog pound. The trail passes between a small retention pond to the left (north) and the dog pound to the right (south); it then turns turn left (north) onto the road between the pond and the large transfer station building; proceed to Wintechog Hill Road and cross it carefully to enter the forest on the other side. The trail joins a grassy road as it turns into a footpath that climbs Wintechog Hill. Instead of rising to the top of the hill, the path runs along its flanks, crossing the right-of-way of a buried natural gas pipeline. The trail eventually descends the hill to cross an old meadow along its southern edge. The route crosses the Shunock River/Brook below the dam at Gallup Pond.
Adjacent to the pond is Route 2 (Norwich-Westerly Road), which hikers should cross very carefully. Turn left (north), toward the traffic light, proceed a few yards, and turn right (southeast) onto Ryder Road. Please walk single-file on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. About 700 feet (200 meters) from Route 2, the trail enters the forest by turning left (northeast) into The Nature Conservancy's Gladys Foster Preserve; watch for the blue markers on trees. The Narragansett Trail then climbs Cossaduck Hill. The rest of the journey is covered by other sections in this guide:
- Follow the Connecticut Countryside route from the preserve to the point where the trail meets Green Fall River on Green Fall Road.
- The trail leaves the road by turning left (north) to follow the river to Green Fall Pond and its dam. At the top of the dam, turn right (northeast) and follow the solid blue blazes. Do not follow the orange-on-blue blazes that cross the dam's causeway. The trail will cross an earthen dike, then the Green Fall River, and arrive at an intersection of trails on the northeastern shore. Hikers may wish to use the ponds's water pump, waterless latrines, and swimming area; if so, leave the solid blue blazes by following the orange-on-blue blazes that hug the shore of the pond and turn left (south) onto the road that leads to the pond's amenities. Hikers may return to the solid blue blazes by retracing their steps. After passing an Adirondack shelter at the old mill site, the trail reaches the three-way intersection with the AMC Tippecansett Trail. Care should be taken as the two branches both have yellow and blue markings; avoiding the left path that descends sharply, bear right (south) to Dinosaur Caves. Proceed along the state border to Camp Yawgoog Road. Consult the description for the Green Fall Pond Area, in reverse direction, for more information.
- Turn left (east) onto Camp Yawgoog Road briefly; in Rhode Island the Narragansett Trail is marked in yellow. Turn right (south) onto Yawgoog's Yellow Trail, which overlaps the AMC Narragansett Trail.
- At Cooning Orchard, follow the yellow blazes that overlap Yawgoog's Red Trail through the rhododendron swamp. After the trail rises from the swamp, the yellow blazes leave the Red Trail by veering left (east) to North Road. See the description of the Long and Ell Ponds Area for more detail.
- From the trail intersection between Long and Ell Ponds, follow the yellow blazes down (southwest) the rock formation and continue until the Narragansett Trail and this hike end at the former Ashville Pond swimming area on Stubtown Road. See the discussion of the Seven Pond Path for more information.
For the full description of this hike and driving directions, please see the Narragansett Trail and Lantern Hill.