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Thursday Hike: Native American Ceremonial Stonework Hike

Thursday November 4, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Join us for our free guided trail walks on Thursdays. This hike begins at 9am (instead of the regular 10am start time). We will visit various local conservation properties, including some of our Westerly Land Trust preserves.  Walks are between 1 ½ to 3 hours and are open to all ages with our target group being agile seniors. Please keep in mind that these are wooded trails with stumps, roots and rocks so be sure to wear hiking boots or good walking shoes. Also, you’ll want to bring water and maybe a snack.

This hike:

Native Americans throughout New England built approximately 24 different types of stone structures as part of the rich, spiritual lives they led. Many of these sites have been forgotten and left abandoned in deep forests, and the stone structures themselves remain something of an enigma. The ceremonial landscapes the indigenous peoples left behind often remain untouched, primarily due to their location in less desirable landscapes throughout the Northeast. On this hike we will visit two sites separated by about a half a mile, leaving from the same parking lot. The first site is most likely a Lunar Standstill site. Tracking the motion of the moon, the sun, and the stars was very important to early cultures, and the Natives of New England were no exception. The second site we will hike to is to a much more subtle site than the first, one most likely overlooked by casual hikers who assume it is the remains of past farming activities. The hike will be less than 4 miles overall, and we will move at the speed of the slowest hiker. We will not be on trails for most of the hike, so it will be slower going than your typical hike and the use of walking sticks is highly encouraged as the terrain for much of it is fairly rough. You will have the option to return to the car after the first site if desired as the second site is on the opposite side of the parking lot.

Directions: The start for the hike is off of Route 165 in Exeter RI. Coming from Connecticut, you will cross into Rhode Island on RT 165 by going over the Beach Pond causeway. On the Rhode Island shore of the causeway there is a parking lot and launch ramp. From the parking lot entrance, go 4.6 miles further to the parking lot on your left. Note that you will pass a white church on the left, and just before the destination parking lot you will see a sign for another parking lot on the left for the JB HUDSON TRAIL. Go past that to the next parking lot on the left. We will leave the parking lot and start hiking at 9:00 AM. Bring water and a snack if desired.

Leader: Markham Starr. Pouring rain cancels the hike, but if in doubt about the weather you can call or text me at 860-908-3870 on the morning of the hike after 6:30 AM.


Due to COVID-19:

  • We recognize many people still have concerns about gathering; therefore, please sign up with the designated hike leader, so that person will know how many will be attending and cap the group size if necessary.
  • Maintain a safe and comfortable distance from other hikers.
  • Please bring a face mask in case it is needed.



  • There are still a few open Thursdays before the end of the year. If you would like to lead a hike, please contact Sally for availability. [email protected]
  • Inclement weather will cancel the hike. If in doubt, please contact leader.
  • Please notify the hike leader if you plan on attending.


In State Management areas everyone is required to wear 200 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange from the second Saturday in September to the last day of February and the last Thursday in April to the last day in May, annually.


Thursday November 4, 2021
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category: