|Melville Ponds Trails|
|Melville Pond Nature Preserve has five marked
trails (some better marked than others), numerous side trails and walking access to Narragansett Bay, all totaling over 4.5 miles. (see Trail Map) Grassy and semipaved
access roads are also present on the preserve, allowing walkers to mix up
their trail choices and extend their walks. A path is also present along a
bordering fence. There may be wet spots at certain times of year, so
appropriate footgear is advised. Thorny bushes and Poison Ivy may be found on parts of
all trails and, in July and August, mosquitoes and ticks may be present. Poison Ivy is prevelent this year and is quite dense at the extreme western
extent of the blue trail, near the Lower Pond. Although the trails can be
traveled in either direction, the following descriptions assume a
clockwise travel. The Orange, Green, Yellow and Blue Trails start at the bulletin board at the junction of Smith Road and Bayview Terrace. Free parking is available in the parking lot just off of Smith Road, near the bulletin board. Enjoy !!
The orange trail is easy walking, except for a small wet spot and is about 0.7 miles. It takes you along ancient stone walls and through a mature pine forest where the carpet of pine needles prevents much of the underbrush growth found elsewhere. An 1870s map shows this as the property of J. C. Mott and there are foundation remains up the hill to the east. The Navy planted the pine trees, probably in the early 1950's as a water conservation measure. At the bulletin board, take a right, easterly, up the slightly inclining semipaved road for about 0.2 miles to the Third trail marker sign on the right. Turn right and follow the orange colored trail blazes. After about 1/4 mile, you will re-emerge on the semipaved road. A left turn will take you back to the bulletin board. Green Trail
The Green Trail is a pleasant walk by Melville Ponds Seven, Six, Five and Pond Four to Pond Three and along the interconnecting waterways. The trail is usable to Pond Three, is presently being extended to the Pond One parking lot. At the bulletin board, take a right, easterly, up the slightly inclining semipaved road for about 100 yards to the first trail marker sign on the right. Turn right and follow the beaten path and whatever markers you can find. This is not a through trail, yet, and you will need to retrace your steps. Total distance, about 0.5 miles. Yellow Trail
The yellow trail starts at the bulletin board and provides an approximate 0.4 mile loop. This trail was formerly marked with orange markers and some may remain. Crossing the stream, on a new board walk, go left and pass the eighth (next-to-last) of the Melville Ponds on your right. The yellow trail passes over another new board walk at the downstream end of this pond. It is believed that the dam here was one of many constructed by WPA and later used during WWII as part of the navy's reservoir system. Note the recent efforts at clearing the underbrush and the repairs to the dam. Bear left for 50 yards and then turn right and go 0.1 mile, to Mott Farm Road. A small concrete pylon and a trail sign mark this spot. This road provides a power line right of way. Turn right on Mott Farm Road and continue walking uphill for about 140 yards. Look for the path on the right. Another trail sign marks this spot. Follow it to yet another new board walk. Note that the stream under this board walk flows between stoned banks, probably also the work of WPA. Before crossing this board walk, you may want to take a sidetrip to the right around the eighth pond and pass near an abandoned standpipe. It was also part of the reservoir system. After crossing this board walk, you will find yourself recrossing the first board walk and soon back at the bulletin board.
The blue trail, the oldest of the trails, was originally laid out as a Boy Scout project around 1980 and has served fishermen for decades. It also starts at the bulletin board and is intended as a loop that meanders all around Melville Lower (ninth) Pond. This trail is about 0.6 miles and includes: up hill, down hill, rocks and a stepping stone ford, as well as scenic views of the water falls and the pond. From the bulletin board, follow Bayview Avenue to the left (west) until you reach a locked gate. Make a right and following the fence line, you will see the blue blazes for the blue trail. Follow the blazes to the left and around the pond. Poison Ivy has been found at the extreme western extent as the trail turns north away from the fence. Minimize your exposure by using the upper path, away from the water. At the spillway end of the pond, you will find stairs and the stepping stone ford. After heavy rains, this may be slippery and wet and extreme caution is advised. If it appears at all dangerous, do an about face and retrace your steps back to the bulletin board and approach the remainder of the blue trail from the opposite direction. The red trail provides a safe bypass for the stepping stone ford. If passage is considered safe, proceed across, up the steps and turn right just before reaching Mott Farm Road. In several places at this point on the blue trail, there are turnoffs to the left to bring you to the grassy access road. If you wish, you may take one of these and then turn right on Mott Farm Road, and return to the bulletin board via the yellow trail. Otherwise, continue on the blue trail, along the pond and by the waterfall, to where it joins the yellow trail and back to the bulletin board. Red Trail
The trail branches off from the blue trail just south of the spillway and is relatively easy to follow. Turn left (west) and follow along the outfall brook from Melville Lower Pond. After a right turn onto an abandoned roadway (and power line right-of-way), it crosses over the brook. Then, after another right turn onto Mott Farm Road and then, after about 220 yards, still another right turn, it rejoins the blue trail on the north side of the spillway. Trail signs mark each of these right turns. Total distance, 0.3 miles. Trail To Narragansett Bay
The round trip distance to the bay is about 1 mile. From the bulletin board, follow the yellow trail directions to Mott Farm Road and take a left. The road gently meanders down to the bay, which you can see in the distance. At the end of the road, a path wends to the left, where, at its end, you can see 8 foot high cattails growing on the left. Also at the end of the road is a path which crosses railroad tracks and leads steeply down over riprap to the water's edge of Narragansett Bay. The rail line is used for a tourist railroad but is not heavily traveled. The top speed allowed for the train is 10 MPH, allowing you to see it in plenty of time. Reverse directions to return to the bulletin board.