Rhode Island Gravel - Carolina to Watchaug Pond

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Richmond, Rhode Island
Date Published:
April 13, 2022
Gravel Ratio:
80% G / 20% P
Difficulty Rating:
Enjoyability Rating:
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This route is brought to you by Linda Brocato, one of our 2022 Route Ambassadors and gravel biking enthusiast from Wyoming, Rhode Island. She's quoted as saying "If Colorado has champagne gravel, ours is boxed wine." 😂🍷
Photo Credits: Linda Brocato


The 23 miles are packed with a great variety of scenery and road surfaces. The route contains a combination of singletrack, double-track, and country back roads with views of farmlands, woodlands, pine groves and fields.

The State management areas are multi-use for hikers, cyclists, runners, hunters and equestrians, but no motorized vehicles are allowed. Sweet!

You will see many glacial rock formations in the wooded areas as well as miles of rock walls built from colonial times through the early 1900's. (Rhode Island has more miles of rock walls than paved roads).

As the seasons change, this ride looks completely different. Pictures were taken in April, but In the summer, you'll see fields of wildflowers, blooming mountain laurel, corn fields and rows and rows of sunflowers.  


Throughout the route, there are some metal gates which require tight turns to get around. (These areas are open. to cyclist and are there to keep vehicles out.)

There is a very short but steep pitch at the very beginning at about mile 0.8. There is no shame in hiking your bike!

You'll need to be careful on the roads shared with cars. While they look rural, they are used as shortcuts to the beaches which are just across Route 1. Coming from a local, I can say Rhode Islanders are notoriously horrible drivers. Be VERY careful crossing by bicycle and always use the crossing lights when they are available.

It can be buggy. Wear bug spray especially because Lyme Disease is endemic in Rhode Island. Read up on what the CDC recommends for prevention, know that the deer ticks that transmit Lyme Disease are very small (the size of pinhead) and check yourself thoroughly after riding the route.

Do this ride if you want a great intermediate, mixed terrain ride near the beaches in Rhode Island. While the milage is not long, don't be fooled into thinking this is a beginner ride- there are some moderately tricky areas to keep you on your toes and challenge your bike handling skills!

Other Notes:

This is truly a multi-surface ride. Don't be fooled- while there are not many miles on this route, it is not a beginner ride. Expect to roll over some roots, sandy soil and loose rocks in the first two miles, but all of it is very rideable. Try to hit the roots perpendicular and keep pedaling.

There are no bathrooms directly on the route.  I recommend having at least two water bottles and adequate snacks.
There is The Food Truck on Route 91 with a bathroom and picnic tables which is very popular with cyclists for it's coffee and calzones. You can hit this place twice on this route with just a tiny detour- it is less than 1/4 mile from Kings Factory Road. (Detour at approximately mile 6 on the way out and mile 17 on the way back.)

Watchaug Pond is a 570 acre freshwater pond which is very active in summer with swimming and boating, There is Burlingame swimming and picnic area as well as Burlingame campground surrounding it. There may be hikers on the parts of the route surrounding the pond. (Remember: cyclists yield to pedestrians and equestrians on trails. Don't forget to let them know if you are approaching!)

Also be aware that the ocean is not far from Watchaug pond which is when you'll want to be particularly alert to drivers and use caution crossing roads. (Blue Shutters Beach is the closest beach to the route.)

Hunters are allowed on State management property during certain times from October to April.  Everyone, including cyclist, needs to wear hunter orange during these times.

Public parking is available at Carolina Management Area Parking where this route was started. (See the "driving directions" button below.)

Start is about 3 miles off Route interstate 95 where you can easily find a gas station, grocery store (Stop and Shop), liquor store and pharmacy off the exit.

Driving Directions

Route Contributor

2022 Ambassador: Linda Brocato

Some of my favorite memories as a child were of riding my yellow Schwinn 10 speed on dirt paths and through the woods with a few of my friends.  Who knew that 40 years later, I would still be doing the same thing!

I started mountain and road biking in 1989. Like many, my cycling got put on the back burner while family, kids and work took priority.  In 2017, I got my first experience with gravel.  This local event had stream crossings, dirt, sand, mud, singletrack, double track, steep hills, rocks, roots with minimal pavement.  It verged on the ridiculous and I was hooked! Since then, I have ridden thousands of gravel miles.  I have ridden a few of the organized events like Rasputitsa and Rooted in Vermont, but my favorite rides are local adventures with friends, food and laughter.

Rhode Island is a unique state to ride in.  Within a 30-mile radius, you can put together a rural route in nature that includes beaches, the woods, farms, and covered bridges, but being such a small state, you are never far from urban areas.

In addition to gravel, I love getting people on bikes.  I volunteer with a local chapter of Cycling without Age, NEMBA (New England Mountain Bike Association) and a youth mountain bike team. I enjoy riding with people at all different levels of fitness and experience.  I enjoy creating routes of different distances and difficulty so everyone can enjoy time on their bikes.

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