Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge Trail
1040 Matunuck Schoolhouse Road
Trustom Pond, the centerpiece of Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge, is the only pond near Rhode Island’s coast that does not have a developed shoreline. The entire refuge is 787 acres and is the second largest of the five refuges in Rhode Island. Its gently rolling terrain slopes gradually to the Atlantic Ocean, and the types of habitats found here include barrier beaches, red maple swamp, grass fields, forests, and tall shrublands.
The diversity of vegetation on the refuge and the lack of development around the pond provide an undisturbed home for almost 300 species of birds, including the threatened piping plover and the rare least tern. Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge is well-known in southern New England as a premiere spot to view waterfowl that migrate in the spring and fall, as well as those that remain for the winter. Hooded and red-breasted mergansers, common goldeneye, and ruddy ducks are just a sample of the 31 species of waterfowl that visit the pond. The refuge is also a popular place to find shorebirds and grassland birds, and it is a haven for many amphibian species.
Two main trails lead visitors through the varied landscape and provide ample opportunities for encountering the refuge’s wildlife. Both trails begin at the refuge parking lot near the visitor contact station. A stop at the contact station offers visitors a chance to gain valuable information, such as recently-sighted species and upcoming activities, from dedicated volunteers. The trail system is approximately 3 miles long and leads to Otter and Osprey Points at opposite ends of Trustom Pond. Both points have wheelchair and stroller accessible viewing platforms that offer a superb opportunity for wildlife observation and photography.
Kettle Pond Visitor Center and headquarters located in Charlestown, RI, celebrates the Trustom Pond Refuge and all of the other refuges in Rhode Island (Ninigret, John H. Chafee at Petaquamscutt Cove, Block Island and Sachuest Point) This facility contains enticing interactive exhibits, a gift shop, classrooms for special events, and knowledgeable people where visitors can come and explore the refuges and learn about the wildlife and coastal environments of each refuge.