Prudence Island

Prudence Island

Here’s a 5min film to give a sense of Prudence:
Prudence Island is the largest island in the middle of Narragansett Bay with no bridge. There is daily ferry service from Bristol. The island is about 1.5 miles wide at the widest and about 7 miles long with about 2/3 under conservation or state control. When you look west as you go over the Mount Hope Bridge, you look over Hog to Prudence. From the Newport Bridge looking north, you see it centered in the bay.

Prudence is a great place for a day of family riding as long as you are aware of the ticks. Seriously, do your best to stay out of the grasses and check yourself frequently. Not to creep you out but deer ticks in their early life stages are a little bigger than a poppy seed. Fortunately, there is a great group of islanders who maintain and mow many of the trails. But you should be aware and careful of exposure to Lyme disease and other tick born illnesses (for that matter everywhere you ride you should think about this!). In general, if you have a tick attached to you less than 12 hours you are not likely to have an issue with transmiting Lyme.
See this site for more
After walking off the ferry you’ll feel as if you’re on an island in New Hampshire but yet you’re a half hour from Providence. This is a quiet place, a wonderful kind of a time warp.
A ferry leaves from Bristol for a half hour ride to the island (for ferry schedule see The ferry dock is located on Thames Street between John & Church Streets. Parking in Bristol requires patience, pay careful attention to the signs. Generally parking east of Wood Street is ok, then ride to the ferry. Monday thru Saturday there is a boat leaving Bristol at 8:00 am (Sunday the first boat is 10am). The first afternoon boat back to the mainland is 4:00 pm. There is also a later boat most days but check website for details, you don’t want to miss the last ferry!

Bring a lunch but snacks are available at the two general stores on the island. Marcy’s is at the ferry dock, Freddy’s looks at the light house and the west passage. No sandwich shops, no restaurants, no B&B’s, nothin but little houses and woods. No public restrooms. This is a very quiet place. Most people who come over are visiting family, friends or are renters. Very few people come to the island on thier own for the day so respect the quietness and enjoy.
The island has few paved roads (so a mtbk is best), the south end served as an ammunition dump for the Navy in WWII and is a park laced with roads. The core of the island has some nice walking paths and hiking trails. Be aware that some of the trails are thorny so bring patch kits and tubes. Don’t expect technical trails, think quiet trails in the woods and views of Narragansett Bay.
Here’s an two maps to make up the whole island. (NOTE, north is right)

detail of trails (center of island) and trail heads

and a map with no labels:

Just another thought…. for those looking to make it even more of a day, consider using the East Bay Bike Path
(see as your access to Bristol…..
I’ve said a lot of the negatives (ticks, ferry, no bathrooms), but for the extra effort IF you make the trip you are likely to have a very special day in a very special place right square in the middle of the bay.
huffin & puffin pete