The Washington Secondary Bike Path actually comprises four trails along an old Hartford, Providence, & Fishkill Railroad corridor. Together, the Cranston Bike Path, Warwick Bike Path, West Warwick Greenway and Coventry Greenway create 14.2 miles of paved trail.
When completed, the bike path will run a total of 25 miles from Providence to the Moosup Valley State Park Trail at the Connecticut state line. From Coventry west to Connecticut, the bike path is known as the Trestle Trail, which is passable on foot, mountain bike or horseback but can be bumpy and rough. Take your chances or wait until the official Washington Secondary Bike Path is developed through this stretch
The old rail line that the bike path occupies was used primarily to carry goods to manufacturers, lumberyards, grain distributors and the old Narragansett Brewery in Cranston. From the path, you'll see evidence of mills the freight cars once serviced.
Begin at Depot Street in Cranston, here known as the Cranston Bikeway, a neighborhood trail that passes through commercial and residential areas before reaching a quiet, wooded section flanked by split-rail fencing. Before leaving Cranston, you will pass through Oaklawn Village Center, with a parking lot and gazebo, and cross Meshanticut Brook.
The trail then takes a quick, 1.5-mile spin through Warwick on the Warwick Bike Path and into West Warwick. Along this section, the route negotiates two curves, quite unusual for a rail-trail.
At West Warwick, the trail is known locally as the West Warwick Greenway. You'll travel through an old mill area along the Pawtuxet River. This area is a center of redevelopment activity, with conversions of old mill buildings. A red New York, New Haven, & Hartford Railroad caboose stands proudly by the trail.
Beyond the village of Arctic, the bike path continues into Coventry then passes through a rural, wooded area with views of the Flat River Reservoir, where the developed trail ends for now (early 2012).
To reach the Cranston trailhead, take Interstate 95 to Exit 16 and follow State Route 10 north. Take the Cranston Street/Niantic Avenue Exit and turn left at the bottom of the exit onto Niantic Avenue. At the light, turn left on Cranston Street. At the next light, turn left on Garfield Avenue and look for the Lowe's on the right at Cranston Parkade. The trailhead and parking area are behind Lowe's.
To reach trailhead parking in Coventry, take I-95 to Exit 10 and head west on Route 117 toward Coventry. The trail parallels 117 as you enter town. Just past the firehouse, turn right on Station Street. The parking lot is on the left. For more parking areas, consult the map.