HOP RIVER STATE PARK TRAIL
After a few crazy days of wild weather, I figured a simple hike was the safest bet when it came to battling the terrain.
I settled on an extension of a familiar trail that I had visited before on a September bike ride through Vernon. The Hop River State Park Trail is made atop the last remains of the old railroad line cutting through 20+ miles of forest and neighborhoods in its journey from Manchester to Coventry.
Instead of a bike this time around, I took my trusted dog Sampson for a whirl. We arrived at the small lot located at Burnap Brook Rd., one of four entry ways to the line along this stretch of the trail.
Before even setting foot on the path, we hiked down a gentle slope to check out the normally-calm Burnap Brook. That brook was now a river, spilling its banks in a tumultuous roar after a gush of torrential rain. The sight of it was mighty impressive and I was glad I took this early detour to check it out.
Getting my fill, I made my way to the gravelly trail and headed in an easterly direction. My first instinct to come here was right on target. Despite random debris from the overnight storm, the path was relatively clear and easy to travel. Sure, there were sticks and branches strewn about, but they didn’t cause any concern. And, what water was on the trail flowed in the funnels on either side leaving the main corridor dry.
As we carried along, I couldn’t help to compare this part of the trail with its counterpart just miles away. Benches periodically offer visitors a bit of a respite, though there was no need for that on this short morning jaunt. And, the remains of old wooden telephone poles that once dotted this former rail bed, still stand stoically among the living forest.
Keep in mind the trail is linear. So, unless you are hiking with a partner and parking a car at another entry point, your only choice is to turn back. That’s what I did about a mile in. But, our return trip was just as interesting as the one we set out on – adding a different spin to our simple, yet peaceful hike in the woods.
Directions: Take I-384 East toward Providence. Continue onto US-44 E/US-6 E. Keep right to continue on US-6 E. In a little more than four miles, turn right onto Burnap Brook Rd. Trail parking is on the left.
Trail Distance: 2 miles
Trail Difficulty: Easy