An Easy Walk Along a River–Stillwater Scenic Trail, Smithfield, RI


A canopy of color greeted us on this easy walk alongside the Stillwater River

It’s getting too cool for us to venture out on our bike as fall settles in, so we headed out to explore to find a place to take in the foliage. Fall leaves have clung to their branches long past when we thought they’d be all gone. Our first stop had a huge public event going on, so we headed on our way and came across Stillwater Scenic Trail, in Smithfield RI.


The river encounters small rapids as it leaves the Stillwater Reservoir

We had been here on our bike over a year ago in the summer, so this visit offered a very different view. Our pace was slower (we were walking) and we took the time to poke around more and stroll down to the edge of the stream.


Blue sky and bright foliage along the way

The sound of rushing water accompanied us for almost the entire walk, at least until we reached the dammed reservoir. I never grow tired of the sound of rushing water tumbling over rocks, headed to the sea. The Stillwater River is part of the Woonsaquatucket River watershed.


Bright fall colors alongside the Stillwater Reservoir

The waters that flow past the path we walked on eventually end up in downtown Providence as part of the Providence River, before heading into Narragansett Bay. The more I walk, the more I see watersheds.  Understanding how these waterways connect is fascinating (to me) and these waterways have strong impacts on the environment we all live in.


Garter snake happily sunning itself on the trail

We spotted a small garter snake sunning himself on the path. I used a stick to urge him out of the path, but he was pretty determined not to go far, and puffed himself up hoping to frighten us.


Same unhappy garter snake, making itself as puffed up and scary looking as it could manage

Seeing its transformation in an instant from pencil thin stick-like creature to an almost kaleidoscope circular pattern was startling, and beautiful.

We met mostly dog walkers as we strolled. This is a short, one mile path, so a two mile round trip visit is about what you can count on, unless you choose to make more than one circuit of the trail.

The path was created by utilities as a right of way, so it is wide, relatively flat, and in good repair. We found several benches along the way which provided rest stops for me. Turns out I had strained some leg muscles the day before, so benches and rocks to rest on were welcome.


Too soon the color will be gone, till next year…

Some foliage remains even as I write, but it will soon be gone. The days grow shorter, and winter will soon be here. Enjoy the time, make plans to get out, bring along a friend or loved one. Easy Walks lend themselves to easy companionship on the way.

Happy Trails!


beech cliffs 2018

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

2 responses to “An Easy Walk Along a River–Stillwater Scenic Trail, Smithfield, RI

  1. Karen

    This was very helpful! I am dog sitting this weekend and was looking for a flat, dog friendly trail. This was perfect. So pretty with the leaves turning and the water rushing – we had a lovely fall afternoon stroll.

    • Marjorie

      Thank you for letting me know and for telling us what we can see in real time. Stillwater is such a quiet, picturesque Easy Walk. Enjoy your time with your furry friend. A beautiful weekend to be outside!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.