Dates Visited: June 25 & June 26, 2016
Location: 117 Memorial Blvd, Newport, RI (by Easton’s Beach)
Hours: open everyday dawn until dusk
Parking: 3 hour metered parking is available at Easton Bank (but limited). You can also park at other entry/exit points along the trail off Bellevue Ave (such as The Breakers mansion at 44 Ochre Point Ave which is free for a limited parking time and Narrangasett Ave.)
Distance: 3.5 miles each way
Time To Allot For Walk: The website suggests 2.5 hours. I would allot 3-4 hours if you’re walking the entire trail (and back)
Dog Friendly: Yes
Highlights: scenic, free, always open, good for people of all ages, popular with joggers
The Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island, is not only a historically important attraction, it is also a great way to burn some extra calories or stroll along the shore, depending on your energy level.
Construction of the Cliff Walk began in 1880. Since then, the trail has been extended and designed over a series of redevelopment projects.
The Cliff Walk, which begins at Memorial Blvd or Bellevue Ave (depending on where you start) takes you on a series of breath taking views and, at times, challenging trails. Most people begin the trail at Memorial Blvd next to Easton’s beach (also known as First Beach). This trail ends at Bailey Beach. There is one “comfort station” on the walk at Narragansett Rd.
Rather than backtracking on the trail to get back, which you can do, it is easier to take the first right at Bailey Beach which leads onto Bellevue Ave. You can follow Bellevue Ave all the way back to Memorial Blvd or one of the many access points along the trail since it runs parallel to the cliff. It is easier because it is a straight and more direct route. I used this path to get back and it cut my walking time in half.
The views of Rhode Island Sound and First Beach from the Cliff Walk are astounding.
The first two thirds of the 3.5 mile trek (starting from Memorial Blvd) is easy and well defined. However, the terrain gets rocky, challenging and more scenic after the first 2 and a quarter miles. The steps and paths go from being well defined and wide.
to rugged, rocky and narrow
Other than the challenging terrain, the Cliff Walk is an easy, fun trail (it’s best to stop and turn around at the Breakers mansion or Webster Street if you’re starting from Memorial Blvd to avoid the more rocky terrain).
The Cliff Walk is also a good place for birding. There were lots of birds flying here and there, calling out to each other and even a few relaxing on the rocks. They look like they’re conspiring.
Perhaps the most well known part of the trail is the 40 Steps. In addition to providing you with an up close look of the shoreline, the 40 Steps also provides a little bit of history to the trail. The 40 steps is where the servants and workers of the mansions used to congregate during the Gilded Age.
One of my favorite parts of the walk was watching the people on the various water crafts and other flotation devices.
Another great thing about the Cliff Walk are the unusual features of the trail. Tunnels, makeshift trails, colorful flowers, even a memorial attached to a rock and other decorative items are scattered throughout the Cliff Walk. The memorial on the rock is dedicated to former surfer pro Ryan Patrick Roberts, nicknamed “Gazoo”. Roberts, a Newport native, passed away February 5, 2000. One wonders how they got the plaque on there and made it stay there.
The Cliff Walk also offers many great views of the mansions and other buildings built along the shore.
Some of the visitors at the Cliff Walk weren’t contend to stay on the trail.
There were a lot of dogs on the trail during my visits. It is a great place to take your pup for a walk. But, you may want to avoid the rockier terrain when you take your dog to the Cliff Walk.
Remy is a 10 month German Short Hair Pointer and a loyal Red Sox fan I presume.
Winston, a 4 year old Maltese from Seattle, WA, took the easy way around the Cliff Walk
Fion is an 8 year old Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. Her breed is named after the area of France where that breed originated from (Vendeen).
Believe it or not, Penny, a Great Pyrenees, is only one year old.
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