Walkabout Trail

Thompson, Connecticut 6277

Walkabout Trail

Walkabout Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The Walkabout Trail was created in 1965 by more than 300 Australian soldiers. These young men found themselves in Rhode Island with little to do for more than a month until the destroyers their country had purchased were ready to ship off and head “Down Under.” The state's Division of Forestry asked the Aussies if they were interested in helping develop the 3489-acre George Washington Management Area."

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Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes with Kids: Connecticut, Massachusetts, & Rhode Island (The Mountaineers Books)
Cynthia Copeland, Thomas J. Lewis, & Emily Kerr
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"The Walkabout Trail (in Burrillville and Gloucester), with its 2-, 6-, and 8-mile options, is a good first family hike. The trail markers are bright and easy to follow and the route is level, though rocky and damp in places. If you hike in late summer, the trail will be less muddy, and you can end the day with a swim in Bowdish Reservoir. A plaque imbedded in a rock near the park office tells the story of the Australian sailors who blazed the trail twenty-five years ago, naming it “walkabout” in reference to the aborigines who wander the Australian countryside."
Discover Rhode Island (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Christie Matheson
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"A mostly flat loop trail with two options for shorter loops. The George Washington Management Area, which includes the George Washington Memorial State Forest and the Casimir Pulaski Memorial State Park, is a peaceful 3,489-acre oasis in the quiet northwest corner of Rhode Island. Here deciduous and hemlock forest, white cedar swamp, marshland, the Bowdish Reservoir, and numerous ponds provide habitats for many species of wildlife. Warblers, thrushes, hawks, and owls thrive, and resident otters can be spotted in winter scrambling across the ice of the reservoir."

Walkabout Trail Trip Reports

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A fun 8 mile loop that you can shorten if you'd like. There's a campground at the trailhead & a hiker's shelter near the beginning of the trail at the far end of the campground (not sure why they chose to put it there, but hey, better than none at all I guess). The first leg hugs the lake shore. After that, it's windy & sometimes boggy trails through rhododendron & mountain laurel & pine...lots of cool mushrooms. I hiked this with my 10 year old daughter. The highlight was Hemlock Grove -don't skip that part. After Hemlock Grove though, if you want to shorten the hike, go right a head & take the central equestrian trail/gravel rd back to the campground. Actually, if it has been raining, I recommend taking the shortcut. The trail after Hemlock Grove gets less & less scenic, and more & more boggy...plenty of puddles and bogs if there's been much rain. So, you're not missing much by taking the shortcut, unless you like wet feet. One bog was kinda' cool looking toward the end of the loop, but IMO wasn't worth the extra distance.
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Fascinating, long trail, mostly easy. Either I'm colorblind or the sign at the entrance near the Reservoir beach has the trail-marking colors backwards. Anyway, the orange blazes show the long, 8 mile loop. That's the one I took. Blazing is almost universally good, and easy to follow. The trail is rocky, root-strewn, but well maintained. There are a few places where newly planted pine saplings have stretched across the trail, but this presents no impediment to speak of. The Aussie sailors have done a good job and the walk, though interminable, is fun. Bring stout boots, though, as there are a lot of pointy rocks in the trail that would be unpleasent in thin-soled shoes.

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Trail Information

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Trail Type
Skill Level
5 hours
USGS: Thompson, CT
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