The Story of the Yawgoog Trails

Unofficial

Tippecansett Trail to Beach Pond ("Tippecansett South")

Total distance (one-way): 5.25 miles (8.44 kilometers)
Total hiking time (one-way): approximately 2 hours


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 north of Route 138 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. In Connecticut, the hunting season starts on September 1 and runs through the end of February. Hunting is prohibited in Camp Yawgoog.

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Tippecansett Trail begins at the same place Yawgoog's Blue Trail does -- at the state border. It coincides with the Blue Trail and the AMC Narragansett Trail through Dinosaur Caves and Cliffs; it leaves the Narragansett Trail by turning right (east) and arrives at a trail juncture at Dinosaur Rock. "Tippecansett" is a Narragansett term meaning "at the great clearing" (Huden p. 251). The trail appears to have been completed around 1941 (Leonard, "Sunday, March 9").

The Tippecansett Trail used to pass through the Curtis Tract, reaching the Sandy Beach dining hall. It turned right (west) on Camp Yawgoog Road to end at the beginning of Yawgoog's Yellow Trail and to meet with the Appalachian Mountain Club's Narragansett Trail; by 1989, however, the Tippecansett's course was changed so that it did not enter the Curtis Tract, being diverted to the Blue Trail instead.

From Dinosaur Rock the trail heads north on or near the Rhode Island/Connecticut state line. After turning east, hikers will encounter a section of trail that was relocated in 2009 to avoid an erosion problem. The relocated portion runs south, southeast, then northeast to return to the trail's original route; brush piles should be in place to block access to the old path. Now heading east, the Tippecansett Trail meets and end of Hill 431 Trail on the right (south) -- about 0.3 mile (0.5 kilometer) after Dinosaur Rock; the former bike path leads to Hill 431, the highest point in the Reservation, and then connects with the Blue/Freeman Trail closer to camp. The Tippecansett Trail heads left (northeast) from the Hill 431 Trail intersection and crosses an intermittent stream.

Shortly before reaching the Galkin Trail hikers will pass by Rhode Island Historical Cemetery: Hopkinton 79. The cemetery is not visible from the trail, but it is to the right (south) of the path and is overgrown. The site is described as being 30 feet by 25 feet in size and containing 13 fieldstones (RIHCC). Fieldstones are usually flat roughly-shaped stones embedded vertically in the ground; they are typically a few inches tall and contain no inscriptions. A search of old deed records might shed more light on the burial ground.

(image)
A fieldstone in the cemetery
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 32.497', W 71° 46.946' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

After crossing the stream, the Galkin Trail will join the Tippecansett in about 0.2 mile (0.4 kilometer), also on the right (south), in Walnut Grove. Leaving the Galkin Trail behind, the Tippecansett comes to an open area of forest and then an intersection of grassy roads. To the right (south) are two stone cellar holes. Off the trail and straight ahead (southeast) is an overgrown road that ends at Rhode Island Route 138 (Spring Street/Rockville Road). A schoolhouse used to exist somewhere west of here ("Hopkinton, Washington County"); the Grassy Pond school was still in operation in 1873 (Langworthy p. 200).

(image)
Northern foundation
(closer to intersection)
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 32.515', W 71° 46.774' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

(image)
Southern foundation
(farther from intersection)
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 32.495', W 71° 46.773' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

Back at the intersection of grassy roads, a much clearer road with yellow trail markers on trees takes a sharp left (north) turn. Soon, to the right (northeast), a depression will be seen in the woods. This may have been a small quarry used to provide fill for the straightening of Route 138/Spring Street in the early 20th century; the dirt road is the original route of Spring Street. The gentle curve of the modern route replaced the sharp corners of the previous route in order to accommodate faster automobiles.

(image)
Earth quarry site
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 32.591', W 71° 46.814' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

(photograph)
1939 aerial view of the current curve of Route 138/Spring Street and the
previous route, which includes an east-west stretch between two sharp
bends. Grassy Pond is in the lower right corner. (RIDPW 1319)

The road/trail leaves Reservation property and then passes by two houses on the left (southwest) and arrives at Route 138. The AMC Tippecansett Trail follows the paved road left (northwest) about 150 yards (145 meters) then crosses it at the Exeter/Hopkinton town line.

The Tippecansett Trail leaves Route 138 behind and heads right (north) on a dirt road at the town line. The trail passes by two dirt roads on the right (east), the second of which is the AMC's blue-blazed Dye Hill Trail; all vehicles are prohibited both roads. The yellow markers of the Tippecansett Trail continue on the dirt road to another intersection with a dirt road. This time, the other road enters from the left (west). A small sign on a tree at the intersection indicated that the Tippecansett Trail travels on "Noah's Ark Road," heading north and crossing a stream.

(image)
Former sign for Noah's Ark Road
Image by David R. Brierley

Continuing on the road, the trail reaches an intersection with another dirt road on the right (northeast) that leads to private property that includes a gate flanked by substantial stone walls. The Tippecansett's yellow blazes lead left (northwest) and soon pass a lone stone marker on the right (east), among the shrubs; it marks the Rhode Island/Connecticut boundary. A carved "C" with faint yellow paint faces west, while a carved "RI" faces east.

(image)
Rhode Island / Connecticut Boundary Marker
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 33.679', W 71° 47.446' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

Soon after leaving the boundary marker, the trail/road meets with the southern Pachaug-Tippecansett Crossover (0.6 mile / 1 kilometer) at another intersection of dirt roads. The red-on-blue blazes of the Crossover lead left (northwest) on a dirt road to the Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) Pachaug Trail (0.6 mile/1 kilometer - see The Beachgoer). The yellow blazes of the Tippecansett Trail lead right (north) to yet another intersection. The trail crosses the dirt road and becomes a footpath, leading north. By now, hikers may hear traffic on Route 165 and motorboats on Beach Pond. On the trail, a few feet from the intersection, is a geodetic survey marker embedded in a boulder; a "witness post" sign accompanies the marker. Near the marker, the Tippecansett Trail veers right (east), while an unmarked trail heads left (north) along the state border. Travelers should be aware that a number of unmarked trails exist in the Beach Pond area; continue to follow the yellow markers.

The Tippecansett Trail descends to another dirt road, heading left (northeast). The trail follows the road briefly, passing by the blue-blazed Hemlock Ledges Trail, which leads right (southeast). The yellow blazes of the Tippecansett Trail continue on the road for a few yards more, then veer from it to the right (east). After crossing a stream, glimpses of Beach Pond will eventually be seen on the left (north). Before crossing another stream, a short side path leads to a rock that juts into Beach Pond for a good view.

(image)
Panoramic view of Beach Pond from its southern side
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.174', W 71° 46.787' (Datum: WGS84)
Larger image
Google Map

The Tippecansett's yellow blazes climb to meet the white-blazed Deep Pond Trail at a four-way intersection at the base of Hemlock Ledges. The AMC Deep Pond Trail leads right (southwest) and the Tippecansett Trail turns left (northeast); the blue-blazed Hemlock Ledges Trail meets the Deep Pond Trail (west branch) nearby. From a low boulder painted with "LOOKOUT" at the four-way intersection, an unmarked path climbs ahead (southeast) a few yards to the side of the ledge. A few white blazes lead left (northeast) through a cleft in the rock formation to the top. The climb rewards hikers with a good view of Beach Pond. J. Harold Williams wrote about this spot, "I remember the biscuit and pies we baked in the reflector oven on the bluff at the east end of Beach Pond and the wonderful fishing and swimming there." (Williams and Anthony vol. 1 p. 13)

(image)
Boulder marking path to Hemlock Ledges
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.161', W 71° 46.630' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

(image)
Cleft in rock formation at Hemlock Ledges
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.137', W 71° 46.603' (Datum: WGS84)

(image)
View of Beach Pond from Hemlock Ledges
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.137', W 71° 46.603' (Datum: WGS84)

(image)
Autumn view of Beach Pond from Hemlock Ledges
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.137', W 71° 46.603' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

Returning to the four-way intersection and proceeding right (northeast) on the Tippecansett Trail, the yellow blazes hug the shore of Beach Pond. The trail crosses a stream on a fine footbridge built as an Eagle Scout project on May 29, 2004, by Dylan Audette of Troop 35 West Greenwich, Rhode Island.

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Audette Bridge
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.250', W 71° 46.696' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

(image)
Fall Foliage at Beach Pond
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.290', W 71° 46.857' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

The trail continues northwestward to a small parking lot on Ten Rod Road (Route 165). Ten Rod Road is named for the unusually wide right-of-way it occupies; one rod equals 16.5 feet (5 meters) -- perhaps this is why the number 165 was assigned to the route. The road was used to lead herds of cattle eastward to Wickford, Rhode Island for shipment by sea (Wood pp. 306, 402; WPA, Rhode Island pp. 331, 448).

Hikers may carefully cross the road to the former swimming area at Beach Pond. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management closed the swimming area in 2008, due to budget constraints and erosion concerns. The concession stand, restrooms, telephone and water amenities were removed (Naylor; RIDEM, "DEM Announces").

(image)
Panoramic view of Beach Pond in autumn from the former swimming area
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.463', W 71° 47.195' (Datum: WGS84)
Larger image
Google Map

(drawing)
Artist's drawing of Beach Pond, circa 1881 (Munro p. 251)

(image)
A paper birch (Betula papyrifera) holds on at
the former swimming area at Beach Pond
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.484', W 71° 47.179' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

(image)
Fall foliage near the former swimming area at Beach Pond
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 34.401', W 71° 47.252' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

Postcards from Beach Pond


A straighter section of Ten Rod Road/Route 165 was created beside the former route in the 1930s, creating a lagoon between the two roads at the former swimming area. The lagoon was later filled in to form the parking area.

(photograph)
1934 aerial view of Beach Pond before
the new Route 165 ("Neighborhood Change")

(photograph)
1939 aerial view of Beach Pond after
the new Route 165 (RIDPW 1315)

The sand of Beach Pond was popular for coating "rifles" -- sharpening sticks for scythes used in farming. An annual gatherings to collect the sand became a major event known as "Beach Pond Day" on the last Saturday of June; scythes were used to gather hay in July. Thousands were said to attend the festival in its heyday; a small steamboat is said to have offered rides around the pond. The event's popularity declined by the late nineteenth century as other sharpening materials became common. Furthermore, the reputation of Beach Pond Day began to turn sour when old horses were forced to run in cruel races; drinking, gambling, and brawls were also associated with the event ("Beach Pond Day"; Christensen p. 5; Clauson pp. 89-91).

The water body was also named "Paucamaug Pond" (and other spellings), derived from the Native American expression "pauqu'amaug," meaning "clear (or open) fishing place" (Hughes and Allen pp. 614, 615, 749). The pond is the source of the Pachaug River.

From the former swimming area, the Tippecansett Trail (see the Totally Tippecansett Trail) and the blue-blazed Pachaug Trail continue further away from camp to the northeast; the "Tippecansett North" section ends at Stepstone Falls while the Pachaug Trail heads north of Beach Pond to the Mount Misery area and beyond. The Pachaug Trail also heads southwest on Route 165, eventually ending at Green Fall Pond (see The Beachgoer). Hikers can return to Yawgoog from the former swimming area by going the way they came and possibly take the Blue/Freeman or Galkin trails, upon re-entering Reservation property.

Driving Directions to Beach Pond from Yawgoog: Turn left at the intersection of Route 138 (Spring Street) and Camp Yawgoog Road and proceed west about 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometers) to the junction with Route 165 in Connecticut. Turn right onto Route 165 (Ten Rod Road) and head east 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) to the pond on the state border. Parking areas are available on both sides of the road.

Driving Directions to Beach Pond from Interstate 95: Take Exit 5A in Rhode Island to Route 102 (Victory Highway) and head east about 0.6 mile (1 kilometer); veer right onto Route 3. Travel south for 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) and turn right onto Route 165 (Ten Rod Road). Proceed west for 7 miles (11.2 kilometers) to the pond on the state border. Parking areas are available on both sides of the road.

Trail-related Links

 

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