location: William C. O’Neill Bike Path (South County Bike Path) – The trail starts and free parking is available at the Kingston Train Station.Â 1 Railroad Avenue, West Kingston, Rhode Island 02892
hours: The bike path is open daily from dawn to dusk
good for: All ages
On one of the first nice days in May, my husband and I decided to take our children for a bike ride (six year old) / stroller ride (10 month old twins) and we wanted to try a new location. We had never visited South County’s William C. O’Neill Bike Path, formally known as the South County Bike Trail, and made that our destination for the day. With a printed copy of the bike path map from the webpage for my map-loving son, we set off for the Kingston Train Station, the start of the bike path. We went on a Sunday and there was plenty of parking available for the bike path at the station and in its overflow lot. Young train fans will be especially thrilled if you are there for the arrival of an Amtrak train like we were. The path is approximately 8 miles and follows the old easement of the Narragansett Pier Railroad to the South County Museum. Our goal was to make it to the second Point of Interest/Historical Site on the map, the South County Land Trust and Tefft Historical Park, as I was pushing the twins’ stroller and not biking.
You travel through a very brief industrial area at the start of the path, but then you experience rural South County as you pass a turf farm and travel through the Great Swamp Wildlife Area and Genesee Swamp. The path has a good mix of sun and shade and the portion we traveled was flat and smooth, which makes it perfect for families with small children. There is a crossing at Ministerial Road, but there is a crosswalk and all of the drivers were very considerate of those crossing. While on the trail, we saw beaver dams, many birds and bikers, joggers and walkers of all ages. We packed a picnic lunch and ate on one of the many benches along the side of the trail.Â There were also signs along the trail that provided historical and factual information on the areas that we were passing through.
We did not make it to our original destination, but did walk/ride approximately 1.5 miles. Our goal for the summer is to finish all 8 miles of the trail. We recently purchased a bike trailer for the twins and should be able to cover much more of the bike trail on our next visit. There are numerous parking lots along the bike trail and you pass through the villages of Peace Dale and Wakefield en route to the end of the path at the South County Museum in Narragansett. We hope to visit the bike path again soon and finish the trail in one to two more trips, as the 8 miles is a manageable goal with two babies and a six year old.
If you go, be sure to pack sunscreen because not all of the bike path is shaded, as well as a bag for trash because there were no trash cans on the section of the path we traveled.