Queen's River Preserve

Mussels, dragonflies, stoneflies and native brook trout abound in this cold, clear river.

Why You Should Visit

The Queen’s River preserve is a wonderful place for an easy stroll along forested pathways to one of Rhode Island’s, and southern New England’s, most pristine streams.

The Queen's River, a cold, largely forested stream with headwaters in West Greenwich, forms the western boundary of the Queen's River Preserve. The river flows southwestward through the tiny villages of Liberty and Usquepaug before finally tumbling into the Pawcatuck River in South Kingstown. 

Bowhunting for deer is permitted at the Preserve. During the bowhunting season (September 15-January 31), all visitors are required to wear at least 200 square inches of florescent orange.  A hat or vest is sufficient. Dogs must be leashed.


Exeter, Southern RI


188 acres
Map of the Queen's River Preserve

Why the Conservancy Selected this Site

The Queen's River is considered one of the most pristine rivers in the state. Its watershed encompasses 23,000 acres of forest, field, wetland, and river. Because of the relatively unimpacted nature of the river, it contains a number of rare elements that depend upon clean, cold, running water.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

The Conservancy’s Queen's River Preserve forms an important stepping stone between protected lands at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Eppley and Fisherville Brook Wildlife Sanctuaries. These conservation lands are critical to the maintenance of the high water quality in the river.

The Queen's River Preserve is bisected by a wide, flat dirt road, beginning at the preserve’s easterly boundary at School Land Woods Road and running west across the river. The road runs past a dense shrub bog, visible on the left at the beginning of the walk, through white pine stands, and on down to the river. As you stand on the bridge which spans the Queen's River, look for brilliant red cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) blooming along the stream banks and jewelwing damselflies dancing over the water. Just before making its descent to the river, the road passes a small area of pitch pine barren on the right.  Across from the pine barren you can take a left turn along the dirt road which takes you southward into the property along white pines and mountain laurel.  Along this trail you will pass a hayfield, then a turn toward the right at the dedication sign will take you along Howard’s Trail which winds downward toward the Queen’s River.


We hope you enjoy visiting our preserves in any season. We ask that you please observe the following guidelines:

  • Stay on the walking trails, using marked trails wherever they exist.
  • Respect preserve open hours (one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset). Overnight camping is not allowed.
  • Do not ride horses, bikes or any motorized vehicle through preserves or on the trails.
  • Do not disturb bird nesting areas. Between April 15 and September 1, nesting areas may be off-limits to visitors. People or dogs can easily destroy a nest with one misstep.
  • Leave your pets at home, for the safety of the fragile ecology of preserves and as a courtesy to other visitors.
  • Contact our office in Providence to visit those preserves that have restricted public access because of their very sensitive flora and fauna. These places deserve special respect and are best visited only on guided field trips.
  • Do not remove any living materials from a preserve or disturb any vegetation.
  • Remove any trash you create and, if possible, any garbage that you see left by someone else.
  • When visiting Block Island or Prudence Island in the spring, summer and fall, dress in long pants and socks to avoid deer ticks. After any walk on a preserve, it is a good idea to check for ticks when you return home.
  • Be careful! Your safety is your responsibility.

Thank you for your help.
Preserve Visitation Guidelines

What to See: Plants
The preserve’s uplands are composed of white pine stands, oak forest and hayfield. An unusual pine barren community occurs on the preserve as well. This habitat, characterized by pitch pine on open, largely unvegetated sand, occurs in only a handful of places in Rhode Island. Significant areas of wetland are also present, including red maple swamp and a dense shrub bog of leatherleaf.

What to See: Animals
Mussels, dragonflies, stoneflies and native brook trout abound in this cold, clear river, which flows through the forests and fields of Exeter. Ebony jewelwing damselflies (Calopteryx maculata), with vivid emerald green bodies and velvety black wings, flutter about the stream banks. Studies also indicate a great diversity of other aquatic invertebrates, including freshwater mussels, mayflies, and stoneflies.

  • From the Providence area, take Route 95 South to Route 4 South.
  • Take Route 4 South to Route 102 North.
  • Travel .7 miles on Rt. 102 and turn left onto Route 2 South.
  • After about 3.5 miles, take a right onto Mail Road.
  • Follow Mail Road .9 miles to a dirt road on the right (School Land Woods Road). The sign is somewhat hidden by trees. 
  • Follow this dirt road 0.8 miles to the entrance of the preserve, on the left. You will see a metal gate across the road that enters the preserve. Park along School Land Woods Road.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

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Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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