Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Cliff Walk -- Newport, Rhode Island

One of the best parts about blogging is that it makes you a better writer in the long term.  The more I blog the more I find my "voice" and discover what a good blog post looks like.  Between my style of writing, the pictures I take and the way I present the information, it all gets better.  When I visit some of my favorite places a year or so later, I can update old posts to give you, dear reader, a better blog post. Today, we are revamping my post on Cliff Walk with some real Nikon photos, a better flow and information.  So let's chat (again) about a world famous walk and Rhode Island's most popular visitor attraction, Cliff Walk.

Cliff Walk in the winter 

What's a Rhode Island post without a little intro to our country's smallest state?  It's no secret I am one of Rhode Island's biggest fans.  Ocean, architecture, history, charm, scuba diving, shops and some amazing seafood, what more could you want (I bet you Utah folk just said mountains).  Newport is just one of those iconic New England towns and when you catch it on a beautiful clear summer day, sitting on the dock eating oysters at your favorite restaurant while the band plays and the cocktails are poured, those long hard winter New England months seem all worth it and so far away.  When you catch Newport on one of those days, it's hard to describe how lovely it is.  

What is it:
If you find yourself as a tourist in Newport, there is a lot to do.  Among one of my favorite things (and the one thing I insist every visitor do) is take a walk on Cliff Walk.  It is a world famous walk along the eastern shore of Newport, Rhode Island.  This walk combines the rugged Atlantic coast/Rhode Island shoreline with the mansions of Newport's gilded age.  The 3.5 mile long walk starts off as an easy paved trail in the southern portion (about 2/3 of the trial), past famous mansions like The Breakers, before turning into rugged and rocky shoreline and dirt paths through tunnels and by the lawns of private properties. A walk, a hike, a little bit of both with breathtaking scenery from the waves of the Atlantic to the manicured lawns and gardens. This is the only National Recreational Trail within a National Historic District in the United States.

Couple walking down a paved section of the trail

Cliff walk is an amazing way to see another perspective of the Newport Mansions.  On one side, you will pass famous sites like The Breakers, Forty Steps, Rough Point, and Mrs Vanderbilt's Tea House (more on all this later).  On the other side, you get sweeping views of the Atlantic and Rhode Island's coastline. During my latest trip in December, we walked about 80 percent of the trail- about from the Breakers over to the end, walking the road back to the Breakers.  From the more developed areas to the rockier quieter section, we loved it all.  

Short detour on a more rugged section of Cliff Walk

The trail leaves the nice paved path and crosses over this rocky beach

Need to Know

Free admission
Open sunrise to sunset 365 days a year
Dogs allowed on leash only
Bathrooms- Two unisex toilets on Narraganset Avenue
Time to finish: 2.5 hours
Parking: First Beach Memorial Blvd -71.297055, 41.475944
Narragansett Ave Forty Steps -71.297055, 41.475944

There are a few tunnels throughout the walk
A view of The Breakers from the trail


It is great all year round. Cliff Walk in the summer will bring warmer temperatures but will also bring a lot more people. The winter will have more unpredictable weather and likely a chilly breeze, but you will likely have portions of the trail all to yourself.   
Source Click HERE for an interactive map.

"The walk starts at the western end of Easton's or First Beach at Memorial Blvd. and runs south with major exits at Narragansett Ave., Webster St., Sheppard Ave., Ruggles Ave., Marine Ave., Ledge Rd., and ends at Bellevue Ave. at the east end of Bailey's Beach locally referred to as Reject's Beach". -

Click HERE for an interactive map.

Map Credit: City of Newport, Commonwealth Engineers & Consultants, Inc., and the RI Dept of Transportation Source

Walk a Section

There are five unique segments to Cliff Walk

1. Memorial Blvd. to Forty Steps
2. Forty Steps to Ruggles Ave: covers a close up of Mansions at Salve University campus; there are several sets of steps.
3. Ruggles Ave. to Belmont Beach: covers a touch of rough terrain and waves breaking near walk when wind is strong from South.
4. Belmont Beach to Ledge Rd: covers pieces of Rugged Terrain especially at Rough Point, however this is most rewarding for serious hikers not afraid of heights.
5. Ledge Road to Bellevue Ave: sometimes missed by Cliff Walkers, but if you have done segment 4 this is easy and better than walking out Ledge Rd.

If you only have a short time to do a piece of Cliff Walk drive down Narragansett Ave. to the Forty Steps and walk south past Salve Regina College and the Breakers.

Viewpoint along the trail

Information along the trail
There are QR Codes all over the trails that link to some great information about the walk, the area and neighboring mansions.  I also think these small stands with QR codes are the perfect way to give visitors information, without having big obtrusive signs that get damaged or graffitied.  It was really fun to be able to scan the code (get an app that can read these for free) and learn some more information about exactly what I was looking at.


“The Cliff Walk Trail Marker program is a noteworthy enhancement to the Walk, one that offers readily accessible information to what visitors see as they travel along the ocean’s path,” said Bob Power, Chairman of the Cliff Walk Commission. “The Walk is not only the first National Recreational Trail in New England, but it is also set in a National Historic District. Now visitors can learn about the fascinating sites they pass, such as The Breakers, Marble House, Bailey’s Beach, Rough Point, 40 Steps and others. The content of most of the information accessed at the sites was researched and written by students from Salve Regina’s Cultural and Historic Preservation Department. The markers themselves were crafted and installed by the Boy Scouts, Troop #3 Newport, Led by Conner Flynn, as part of his Eagle Scout project.” Read more about this new marker program here.

Couple walking down the trail 
Antique gate along the trail 

Be Aware
Parts of this walk do pass over a public right of way over private property.  Be cognizant of your surroundings and like any trail, be respectful and bring all and any trash off the trail with you.  Also noote that in some spots the trail is less protected and there are steep drops and cliff edges.  In some sections, just a couple of feet from the path are abrupt drops of over 70 feet and wild bushes and weeds often hide this danger. The further south you walk, the more rugged the terrain will become. Expect to cross over large rocks and boulders and proper shoes are a must. Fine sand and sea spray on some of the rock surfaces can make the walk very slippery. If you get poison ivy, keep your eyes peeled especially during the summer months.  Poison Ivy which grows well in rainy summer weather along some areas of the path.

Taking in the views along Cliff Walk
Paved section of the trail 


  1. You took some stunning photos once again, definitely not neglecting Rhode Island on my next US trip!

    xo Naomi in Wonderland

    1. Glad I could convince you of the beauty of this tiny state!

  2. I've always wanted to travel to the North East! Looks amazing! :)

    1. Tedi you should! It is absolutely beautiful! Really has that old school charm I miss it!

  3. Katie writes: "One of the best parts about blogging is that it makes you a better writer in the long term."

    I agree. Both the writing and spelling have improved since I've been reading your blog. Nice work, Katie.

    1. The spelling is definitely due to typing WAY too quickly and lack of proper proof reading. Trying to devote more time to (quality) blogging in a busy schedule can be tough! Thanks for the kind words.


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