Great Swamp Management Area

West Kingston, Rhode Island 2892

Great Swamp Management Area

Great Swamp Management Area Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This relaxing loop on woods roads travels through upland and wet-footed woods, past fields, and alongside open and vegetated waters—the habitats of pond turtle and croaking frog, patrolling kingfisher and dive-bombing osprey. Covering nearly 3,400 acres, with a 138-acre impound, Great Swamp is one of the most extensive freshwater swamps in the region. Spring migration swells bird counts and species sightings.

Following the management road south, you don’t have to walk far before you see the wet-footed forest and undergrowth. Snags pierce the thicket, and power lines open views. You may pause to observe the lily pad–capped black-water pools, aquatic mammal scent mounds, and sunning baby turtles, or listen to the screech of a fish hawk. The travel corridor alternates between partial shade and sun exposure, and the marsh visuals are richly textured and colored."

More Great Swamp Management Area Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Discover Rhode Island (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Christie Matheson
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"Dirt roads and double-track trails lead to a large, quiet pond. This 3,349-acre management area comprises freshwater wetlands, red maple swamp, cedar swamp, forest, and a small percentage of agricultural land. It also includes 2 miles of shoreline habitat at the northern edge of Worden Pond, plus several tributaries of the Pawcatuck River. Bird species here include grouse, wild turkeys, pheasants, bobwhites, and ducks; mammals include whitetailed deer, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and mink. Hunting is allowed in season. Spring migration season is a popular time in the swamp for bird watchers." Read more
Best Easy Day Hikes: Rhode Island (Falcon Guides)
Steve Mirsky
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"One of the largest preserved marshlands in Rhode Island, this hike takes you into the heart of all the bird-watching action. From ospreys to warblers, numerous waterfowl, and beaver are just some of the species that call these lands home. The trail begins behind a brown metal gate, heading down a flat and sandy access road. Pass a signboard with map, then walk through a mixed deciduous woodland of mostly swamp maple. The roadbed is the only elevation separating you from wooded swamp on either side, with a trail surface of pressed stone dust and gravel giving it the texture of asphalt. Soon you’ll have views alternating between wide open marsh and low-lying brush. A drainage pipe runs underneath the roadbed at about 0.3 mile, connecting wide open marsh that you’ll now see on both sides of the trail." Read more

Great Swamp Management Area Reviews

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see for yourself
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Great Swamp is a nice, quick ride. Pretty flat and not terribly exciting but perfect if you just want to get out into the woods and get a little exercise.

Great Swamp Management Area Photos

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Trail Information

West Kingston
Nearby City
100 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2.5-3 hours
Great Swamp Management Area, 277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston 02891; (401) 789-7481. Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Parks and Recreation, 2321 Hartford Ave., Johnston 02919; (401) 222-2632;
Local Contacts
State management area map (available online at
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018