The white-blazed Tillinghast Pond Loop alternates between forest and field, with a half-dozen or more spots to pause and look out over... more » the pond.
Leaving from the north end of the parking lot, the trail winds quietly among towering white pines, almost immediately leaving the rest of the world behind. Before long, the pond appears on the right, below, as the trail follows the spine of a small glacial esker. At the end of the ridge, the trail switches back sharply to the left; a spur trail to the right provides an even better view.
Here, the trail overlaps with Plain Road for about a tenth of a mile, before cutting back to the right at the corner of a hayfield. This next segment of trail generally winds between the hayfields and the pond's edge, passing a bench at Howard's Rest, crossing a small stream, and leading to an observation platform. The platform is somewhat obscured from the trail, but don't miss it! Step out over the pond, and you'll swear you're in Maine rather than 40 minutes from Providence.
Departing the platform and turning right, hikers leave the hayfields behind, and follow and up-and-down path through the forest for the next half-mile or so. Near the northeast corner of Tillinghast Pond, a bog bridge carries the trail over a low drainage area, where ash trees dominate instead of oak and pine.
The second half of the loop is fairly straightforward, but two more scenic spots await: one seems to provide a last look at the pond from the bottom of a hill, but there is another lovely overlook coming up on the east side of the pond, down a short side trail. Along the way, there are two junctions with the Flintlock Trail, which explores the open woods to the east of Tillinghast Pond. The Pond Loop concludes with some of the largest white pines in the area, before returning to parking lot kiosk. less «