William C. O'Neill (South County) Bike Path
The William C. O'Neill Bike Path, also known as the South County Bike Path, is the state's fourth-longest bike path, stretching 7.8 miles from Kingston Station in the village of West Kingston in South Kingstown to Mumford Road in Narragansett. The path is envisioned to connect Kingston Station to the Narragansett shore, and future studies will consider an extension of the path toward Narragansett Town Beach and spurs toward Kingston village and the University of Rhode Island.
Click here to download larger version of map at right in PDF.
The bikeway has been built in three phases since 2000. These are listed below chronologically:
- 2000: Kingston Train Station to Rodman Street, South Kingstown (4.1 miles).
- 2003: Rodman Street to Route 108 (Kingstown Road), South Kingstown (2.9 miles).
- 2011: Route 108, South Kingstown, to Mumford Road, Narragansett (0.8 miles).
Path Features & Riding Experience
The path is largely built on the former right-of-way of the Narragansett Pier Railroad, which dates back to 1876. After the railroad ceased operations in the late 1960s, many ideas were considered for the corridor. The late Senator William C. O’Neill was instrumental in advocating for the railroad’s re-use as a bike path to make it safer for children to ride a bike to school. Visit the website of the Friends of the William C. O'Neill Bike Path to learn more about the path's history and features.
As the path follows the former rail corridor, it is mostly flat with a gradual slope down heading from west to east. Meeting with the ideals of the late Senator O'Neill, the path is immediately adjacent or very close to four schools, including the University of Rhode Island. Cycling the path takes approximately 45 minutes in each direction. Heading from west to east, beginning at Kingston Station:
- The path briefly runs alongside Amtrak's Northeast Corridor with some historic railroad features on site.
- Quickly, the path crosses into the northern edge of the Great Swamp Management Area. Scenic views abound and benches are installed along the stretch to allow riders to pause and observe the landscape. Particularly interesting are two small bridge crossings.
- The path then skirts residential areas as it passes South Road and Curtis Corner Road before heading into a deeply forested area.
- Here the path crosses a hiking path network for the town's Tri-Pond Park. An excursion of its own, the paths wind around three ponds along dirt paths and a series of foot bridges.
- Approaching Route 108, the path drops in elevation using a series of switch backs that's best navigated by walking your bike - especially if it's a busy day on the path.
- Riders next pass through the village of Peace Dale where they leave the path and traverse an on-road segment of Railroad Avenue.
- After getting back on the path at Church Street, the path runs along Riverside Cemetery. The clearing offers views of church steeples and other buildings in Wakefield, South Kingstown's largest village and commercial hub.
- The path crosses the Saugatucket River and leads directly to Main Street in Wakefield. Scores of shops, restaurants and bakeries abound. Another bridge crossing and pedestrian path is a short walk or ride away (you can see this bridge when you pass over the bike path bridge just before reaching Main Street).
- After passing underneath Woodruff Avenue, the path passes through a residential area before again hitting a commercial district along Route 108.
- The newest segment of the bikeway begins here. After crossing Route 108, follow an on-road route down MacArthur Boulevard. The off-road path segment is located on the right as the road bends sharply to the left.
- The off road section follows a sweeping curve and then passes through a long tunnel under Route 108. The artwork painted on the walls is ever-changing, and anyone is welcome to contribute to this public art space.
- The path enters Narragansett and passes through a remote wooded section before ending at Mumford Road. By taking a right, cyclists will reach Route 1A (Kingstown Road) and can use an on-road bike route to reach the ocean.
Directions to Parking Lots:
Kingston Train Station, South Kingstown:
Take I-95 to Route 4 South. Follow to Exit 5B (Route 102 North). At the second traffic light, turn left onto Route 2 South (South County Trail). Follow for about 7 miles, and then turn left onto Route 138 East (Kingstown Road). The entrance to the train station parking lot is about one mile on the left. Park in the rear of the lot, away from the station, where the path begins.
- Intersection of Route 108 and Railroad Street in Peace Dale: Take I-95 to Route 4 South to Route 1 South to the Historic Wakefield exit. At the intersection with Route 108, turn right. Follow Route 108 to the intersection of Railroad Street and the parking lot is on the right. Note: Route 108 makes a hard right turn at the Peace Dale Library and a hard left at the intersection with North Road.
- Main Street at Robinson Street in Wakefield: Follow directions above to the Historic Wakefield exit off Route 1. At the intersection with Route 108, stay straight on Main Street (Route 1A). The parking lot is about a half mile on the left.