East Bay Bike Path – RI
Length: 14.3 miles, one way Surface: Asphalt Difficulty: Beginner
The East Bay Bike Path (EBBP) is a scenic rail trail following an abandoned railroad line along Narragansett Bay’s coves and marshes, and through several parks and conservation areas. This bike path is part of the East Coast Greenway and will connect to the Blackstone Bikeway when it is completed. If you are a cyclist looking for a fast, uninterrupted ride, consider another route. For the trail user interested in a relaxed slice of nautical New England life, however, the EBBP is an excellent choice. There are many amenities along the trail which make it easy to relax on a bench, enjoy a lemonade slushy, ride a carousel, or dine on a patio overlooking the marina.
The trail takes you through an alternating landscape of stunning natural areas, as well as more urban enclaves. Spur trails lead to several parks and conservation areas, including Colt State Park in Bristol, Burr’s Hill Park in Warren and Veterans Memorial Park and Haines Memorial State Park in Barrington.
In Bristol, watch for an intersection on the path marked by bike racks. Here, a path leads to the Rhode Island Audubon Society’s Environmental Education Center. The center features a state-of-the art, fully accessible natural history museum and aquarium, as well as all-season guided tours, nature walks and special family programs.
About a mile further on, the trail passes the entrance to Colt State Park. If you have to choose just one of the parks along the East Bay Bike Path to explore off trail, this might have to be the one. Many consider this park to be the state’s finest, with its western border an open panorama to Narragansett Bay and hundreds of acres of lawns, trees and gardens as well as four miles of bike trails. Follow Asylum Road west to the park entrance. While there, visit the Coggeshall Farm Museum at the southern end of the park; this is a working farm and living history museum depicting agrarian life during the late 1700s.
Cautions: While the trail is paved, it suffers from significant pavement separations in the Warren and Barrington areas, as well as some heaving in a few locations; all of which challenges cyclists’ seat cushioning ability and wheel rim spoke strength. Also, be prepared for strong winds coming off the ocean.
These directions start at Bold Point as recommended below and take the previously mentioned spur through Colt State Park, with a total added length of 1.2 miles.