5 Scenic Rhode Island Bike Paths

East Bay Bike path in Rhode Island with stone walls and trees lining paved path

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Despite its small size, Rhode Island is actually home to quite a few bike paths and rail trails. Several of them even span over 10 miles one-way and each of them offer its own unique sights and stops.

While I’m a mountain biker at heart, I do love a good spin on skinny tires down a flat and scenic bike path, so I was really excited to take on the challenge of checking off Rhode Island’s bike paths. In this post, I share which ones I think are the best plus a few tips on the best stops along the way.

Bike rentals

I actually had a difficult time finding a road bike rental. I called several shops and even though they said they offered rentals on their site, they didn’t have any available. So I was super stocked when Dan from Little Compton Adventures had a bike I could use. As an added bonus, he gave me a private tour around Little Compton, which was awesome and beautiful!

Becky smiling for the camera on road bike at beach in Rhode Island overlooking the ocean
Enjoying beach views with my rental from Little Compton Adventures

1. Blackstone River Bikeway

Blackstone River Bikeway multi-use path in Rhode Island lines with greenery
Blackstone River Bikeway

The Blackstone River Bikeway is the crown jewel of Rhode Island bike paths. It’s super scenic and passes by a number of interesting features and historical sites from the birth of the American Industrial Revolution. If you only have time to do one bike path in Rhode Island, make it this one!

The multi-use paved path is currently 10 miles (one-way), but the vision is to build an uninterrupted 48-mile path between Worcester, MA and Indian Point, Rhode Island.

This stretch is known as the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which is a National Parks Service National Historic Park.

Read more about biking the Blackstone River Bikeway

2. East Bay Bike Path

Cyclists on East Bay bike path in Rhode island with water on both sides and Providence skyline in distance
East Bay Bike Path

The East Bay Bike Path stretches continuously for over 14 miles from the outskirts of Providence all the way down to the quintessential Rhode Island town of Bristol.

Because of its proximity to the city as well as its beautiful water views and path-side restaurants, this bike path is definitely more popular and busier than the other paths in the Ocean State.

But for good reason.

The sailboat-studded vistas out onto the bay are beautiful and there are tons of great stops along the way depending on what you’re interested in: delicious food, museums, beaches, and more.

>> Colt State Park Loop

A great side-loop from the East Bay Bike Path is the Colt State Park Loop. Admittedly, I kind of got lost doing this loop, but Colt State Park is really beautiful, so it’s hard to get frustrated if you get lost there 🙂

Highlights

  • Pedaling through Colt State Park
  • The Audobon Nature Center & Aquarium is located a short distance off the path via its own foot/bike path
  • Tons of restaurants and shops to explore in Bristol
  • Waterdog Kitchen for great food and creative drinks
  • Borealis Coffee Company (this would be a great destination if you start in Bristol)
  • Views out over Pomham Lighthouse

3. Ten Mile River Greenway

  • Length (one-way): 3 miles
  • Surface: Paved
  • Start/end: Ten Mile River Greenway (recommended start)
  • Start/end: The other end of the greenway comes out at a school and there isn’t really public parking.
Ten Mile River Greenway bike path through pretty forest in Rhode Island
Ten Mile River Greenway

Located in the northeast corner of Rhode Island, the Ten Mile River Greenway is a really nice, scenic pedal along Ten Mile River and the James Turner Reservoir. When I rode it, there were actually dozens of swans hanging out on the lake, which was really cool too see.

This bike path is one of the few bike paths in Rhode Island that was not built on a former railroad. As such, it follows the natural contours of the land. While it’s still pretty darn flat, the paved path is a bit more undulating than other bike paths on this list.

Highlights

  • Watch for birdlife on the James Turner Reservoir
  • Check to see if anything is happening at Slater Memorial Park, which the path passes. There is often live music or art exhibits at the Rhode Island Watercolor Society.

4. William C. O’Neill Bike Path

Cyclist riding bike through tunnel of trees on William C O'neill bike path in Rhode Island
William C. O’Neill Bike Path

The William C. O’Neill Bike Path (formally known as the South County Bike Path) follows a portion of the railbed of the Narragansett Pier Railroad, which ran from 1876 to 1981.

I rode it with my mom (on her birthday!) and we had a great time cruising along the pretty paved path through densely wooded areas and exploring the Narragansett Pier.

The trail ends behind the Narragansett Elementary School, but there are plans to extend it another mile. If you’re up for a bit of off-road adventuring, there is actually a dirt trail – the Canonchet Farm Trail – that continues from the Community Center down to Narragansett Beach. I would only recommend taking this route if you’re on a gravel bike with wide tires or a mountain bike. It’s fun, though!

Mountain biker riding over low wood bridge section of trail in woods of Rhode Island
If you’re up for an adventure, take the Canonchet Farm Trail down to Narraganset Pier

If you want to stay on the road to get to the water just hop on Mumford Road from the Community Center and then take a left on Kingston Road. This will lead you to the pier.

Important note: There are a few sections of this bike path that are on quiet roads. Just keep following the signs for the bike path.

Highlights

  • Watch for migratory birds at the Great Swamp, the largest swamp in New England. There is a nice viewing area about a mile from the Kingston Station.
  • The Narragansett Pier is a fun place to grab something to eat or drink or walk along the beach. You will need to ride the road (with a good shoulder) to get down to the pier. You could also take the Canonchet Farm Trail if you have a gravel or mountain bike.
  • Visit the South County Museum to learn about the history of what it was like to live in coastal Rhode Island a hundred+ years ago.

5. Washington Secondary Bike Path

Bridge on the Washington Secondary bike path in Rhode Island
Bridge on the Washington Secondary Bike Path

At 19 miles long, the Washington Secondary Bike Path is Rhode Island’s longest bike path. It’s actually a link-up of several independently-named bike paths including the Cranston Bike Path, Warwick Bike Path, West Warwick Greenway, Coventry Greenway, and the Trestle Trail.

>> Trestle Trail & Coventry Greenway

Starting in the east, the Trestle Trail and Conventry Greenway make up about 5 miles of the Washington Secondary Bike Path and these miles are by far the most scenic.

If you’re looking for a nice 10-mile pedal, I recommend just doing this portion of the bike trail. The trail passes through verdant forest (in the summer) and past small ponds and marshes. It’s quite nice!

>> West Warwick Greenway, Warwick Bike Path, & Cranston Bike Path

The remaining 14 or so miles of the Washington Secondary Path into the outskirts of Providence are meh. There are some scenic stretches, but also quite a few road crossings and industrial areas.

The pavement isn’t as great either from roots and frost heaves. This part of the path is great for locals who live in the area, but could definitely be skipped if you’re just visiting Rhode Island.

Highlights

  • The first 5 miles on the Trestle Trail and the Coventry Greenway
  • Summit General Store near the Trestle Trail parking is supposed to have great sandwiches
  • Udder Delights Ice Cream is located about 7 miles from the Trestle Trail Parking and just off the bike path. They serve high-quality ice cream in cones, sundaes, milkshakes, and more

Other Bike Paths

There are three more bike paths in Rhode Island that I haven’t ridden yet:

  • Fred Lippitt Woonasquatucket River Greenway: This is another bike path that starts/ends near Providence. It’s 6.8 miles one-way and while I haven’t ridden it personally, from the research I’ve done it looks more urban and probably used for commuting.
  • Quonset Point Bike Path: A 2.5-mile bike path that ends at Calf Point Pasture beach with great views out over Narragansett Bay.
  • Warren Bike Path: This is a short 0.9-mile multi-use path near Warren Rhode Island. It ends at a causeway that once had a railroad bridge that spanned the Warren River.

Related posts:

What are your favorite bike paths in Rhode Island? Did I miss any? Leave a comment below!

Discover the best of the Ocean State by exploring one of Rhode Island's many bike paths including the Blackstone Bikeway and more.
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