Glen and I are avid hikers, and we recently heard about a desert in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. A desert in the middle of the lush, green forests of New England? Naturally, we had to learn more about it.

The Rhode Island Desert, West Greenwich Sand Dunes, or as the locals call it “Big River Desert” is part of the Big River Management Area in West Greenwich. The “desert” itself used to be a stone quarry. With the stone gone and the quarry abandoned, all that remains is a huge desert area full of massive sand dunes.

Our first stop was the sledding dunes on Division Street off of RI-3. From what I hear, this is the place to go sledding in the winter. The dunes create giant snow-covered hills that produce some of the longest and fastest rides in Rhode Island! I’ve read that people will drive for miles just to go sledding here. We plan to make the trip this coming winter to take our son and his friends out to try it for ourselves!

After spending so much time out in the sandy dunes, we needed to find some shade. Fortunately, the Big River Management Area has plenty of wooded trails too.

Glen and I didn’t plan this part of our hike ahead of time, so we just headed down the first trail from the parking lot. We hiked part of the Upper Piney and Burnt Sawmill Road trail, which was mostly flat and easy to travel. This particular trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking.

It was a great day of hiking and adventure! Getting away from civilization, out into nature, it felt so normal we could even forget there is a global pandemic going on. At least for a few precious hours.

To learn more about the RI Desert and our trip read our Blog

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