- Intermediate Difficulty
- Few trail markers, easy to wander off the main path.
- No Orange
- No hunting allowed, so orange isn't needed.
An intriguing trip up a rocky cliffside and down an abandoned ski slope that's interrupted by highway noise and houses seen through the trees.
[Sidenote: The map below shows a newer trail that seems to avoid climbing the cliffs and walking on private property. We didn't see markers for this trail. Our trail (shown in red) follow the old metal disc markers.]
Diamond Hill was probably once a must-visit. Stories of ski equipment being left behind on the hills to rust the years away paint an image of an interesting and potentially creepy bit of Rhode Island history to explore.
The current reality doesn't quite match the stories. Some cement supports and a large pulley sitting among the trees are about all that's left, or at least all you'll likely notice on a quick hike through the park.
The trail begins on the rightmost ski slope closest to the parking area. This short rocky hill quickly branches to the right into a wooded path that runs along the bottom of the stone cliffs. These cliffs, which you'll soon walk up, are blanketed with graffiti, and overlook Route 114, Cumberland, and beyond. Sadly, the trail runs close enough to the road that traffic noise is a constant distraction for the first half of your hike.
When the trail forks, take the center path and start looking for the metal disks that will mark the rest of your walk. Follow the trail as is angles upwards towards... a giant house on the top of the cliffs. You'll need to walk through the backyard of this house to pick up the next section of the trail, which hugs the edge of the cliffs and overlooks the town below.
The rest of the walk will take you past a water tower and the graffiti-covered cement slabs that once held up the old ski lift. This is the quietest section of the trail, as you'll be up high enough to not hear the traffic at the bottom the hill. Stick to the main path and you'll finish the trip by walking down a wide ski slope, which still holds some rusted pulleys and other interesting objects in the woods that border it.
If you go into Diamond Hill understanding its drawbacks, you can have a fun time and get a good workout as you explore its cliffs. But if you're looking for quiet and solitude in the woods, you'll be disappointed.
Hiked on November 13, 2010
Nestled in the northern part of the state, skiers once flocked to Diamond Hill to take advantage of its steep slopes. The slopes were very steep for a ski area of its size. This is quite apparent as your are making your way up the hills -- a challenge for those who are only used to Rhode Island's relatively level terrain. Some of my favorite parts of this trip included the spectacular views from the summit, climbing up the many rock outcroppings and seeing the remnants of the chair lift that were scattered at the top and bottom of the mountain.
Instead of taking the path directly up the slope, we took the path off a little to the right and went up the side of the hill into the woods. I have to say, the trail itself was beautiful, but very confusing. If you aren't carefully looking for the markers, you may find yourself off the trail, as we did. We turned around a few times after taking the wrong side paths, but fortunately we found our way back to the trail. The amount of homes near the trail make it easy to find yourself on private property.
My recommendation for you if this is your first time coming here is to come earlier in the day. It is easy to lose your way in some parts and you may find yourself wandering back to your car in the dark if you start too late. Though the sunset was quite spectacular from the top of the hill, my anxiousness about finding our way back down somewhat took away from that. Thankfully, the way down the ski slope was much easier than the way we took to get up the hill.
Seeing the remnants of the ski area and getting a glimpse into what Rhode Island used to be like was really interesting. Climbing up some of the rocks might be difficult for the inexperienced or for those who don't like heights. The grass fields and gazebo at the bottom of the hill also seem like a nice place to picnic. All in all, it's worth a visit, but time and real estate demand seem to have taken its toll on this little piece of Rhode Island history.
Hiked on November 13, 2010
Rhode Island isn't known for having hilly terrain. Yawgoo Ski Valley is actually below sea level at its base, and the running joke is that the Johnston landfill is the tallest point in the state. A good climb is hard to come by around here, so Diamond Hill definitely gets points for that.
I really enjoy finding broken-down objects in the woods. Spotting something like a giant pulley system among the trees always makes me wonder how it got there, and why it was left there to rust the years away. In the case of Diamond Hill, the "how" part is obvious, but it's fun to debate why these objects were never removed.
I've hiked this trail twice now, the first time in November many years ago. We came across all sorts of decorations scattered in the trees -- giant painted plywood boards that must have been part of a Halloween haunted house setup in the park. This, along with the old ski slope remnants, gave the trail a bit of a dilapidated, thrown-away feel.
The houses and condo complexes that poke through the trees, and the noise from Route 114, is really distracting. But nothing ruined my hiking mood like the giant house that sits right in the middle of the trail, directly on the most scenic overlook. That one is impossible to miss, as you literally have to walk through their backyard to continue along the trail. A shame, as from what I remember, it didn't used to be like that.
I'll tell you why I might be coming back soon, however -- these slopes look like awesome sledding hills.
4280 Diamond Hill Rd
Cumberland, RI 02864
- DMS Latitude
- 42°0'9" N
- DMS Longitude
- 71°25'4" W
- DEG Latitude
- DEG Longitude
There's a large parking lot at the bottom of the hill right off Diamond Hill Rd (Route 114). There are no fees for parking or access.
Maps and Data
Trail data (shown in red on the map) can be uploaded to a GPS or mobile phone app, letting you track your position on the trail in real time as you hike.
This trail was published on August 19, 2011. It was last updated on August 19, 2011.