The Cliff Walk

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New England’s 1st National Trail

The Cliff Walk is a National Recreation Trail which runs through a National Historic District in Newport, Rhode Island. Ocean views abound throughout the 3.5 mile walk. The trail also passes by some of Newport’s famous gilded age mansions.

Hurricane Sandy washed away The Cliff Walk in 2012. After $5 million in restorations, Newport reopened the trail in 2014. There are still some unpaved, rough sections.

We entered the trail at the northern end by The Chanler. New York Congressman, John Winthrop Chanler built it as a summer home in 1873. Today it is a hotel.

The Cliff Walk 40 Steps

About halfway, we encountered Forty Steps. Homeowner David Priestly Hall built this staircase to give his children easy access to the beach on the property. In 1840, he donated it to the city of Newport. The steps were replaced a couple of times. The town installed today’s stone version in 1980.

The Cliff Walk Forty

Shortly after The Breakers, we rounded Ochre Point. The point gets its name from the yellow deposits in the rocks. The path became rough at this juncture. Our dog was fearful of a rock scramble so close to water, so we left the trail for our next adventure.

The Cliff Walk Angelsea

Newport Area Posts


Location: Newport, Rhode Island
Designation: National Recreation Trail
Date designated/established: 1975
Date of my visit: October 2, 2021

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