Former Westerly, RI Girl Scout camp offers family-friendly hiking

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  • Access: Off Dunns Corner Road in Westerly, turn at the Paul E. Trombino Memorial Little League Complex onto Moorehouse Road and drive to the trailhead.
  • Parking: Available at a small lot.
  • Dogs: Allowed, but must be leashed.
  • Difficulty: Easy, with some hills and rocky, rooted paths.

WESTERLY-Generations of Girl Scouts once gathered at Camp Wahaneeta to hike the hilly terrain, rock-hop across brooks, play sports in the meadow, swim in the pond and learn outdoor skills.

But the camp closed in 1996 and the Scouts sold the property in 2012 to the Westerly Land Trust. Since then, volunteers have built bridges over streams, blazed trails, cleared blowdowns, repaired old structures and created a 73.7-acre public preserve with color-coded paths that are perfect for family hikes.

If you’re more ambitious, though, and want to hike through deeper woods and along rockier trails, the Wahaneeta Preserve abuts the Woody Hill Management Area, which includes a wildlife marsh, an overgrown cemetery and stone foundations built by early farmers.

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A rebuilt bridge crosses a stream that runs from a small pond where Girl Scouts once swam at Wahaneeta Preserve in Westerly.

Overall, the connected preserves include 1,200 acres of public land that can provide a great outdoor experience for hikers of all ages and interests.

A hiking buddy and I recently decided to hike through both preserves. At the trailhead, we stopped at a kiosk to check a trail map and then set out to explore.

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