Cliff Walk, Newport, RI, is a 3.5 mile walkway open to the public that stretches along the eastern shore of this southern New England waterfront city. It begins at First Beach, also known as Easton's Beach at Memorial Boulevard. It ends at Bellevue Avenue, where numerous historic mansions are found. There are 4 major access points between the northern and southern extremes of the walkway.
The northern two thirds are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers while the southern section is rough and rocky. The entire length can be traversed in 2 and 1 half hours at a brusque pace.
Under Rhode Island local law, landowners who hold property traversed by this public attraction are not liable for any injuries that may befall people on the path.
This National Recreation Trail runs through a National Historic District. But over the last 150 years local owners frequently clashed with the public over walkway access.
Leashed dogs are allowed to accompany their guardians along the Cliff Walk. Bicycles are prohibited on this pathway at all times.
Along the Cliff Walk, Newport, RI, it is thought that the first paths were carved out beneath the hooves of deer and later under the feet of the indigenous Narragansett people. Later colonists walked this shoreline salvaging floating wreckage and food sources from the sea here.
It was in the late 1800s that the area inland from the Sea Cliffs saw numerous estates constructed in Victorian fashion. In the 1880s, the gradual construction of the walk area began. It was built by the landowners themselves although, after storms destroyed the walk several times, public efforts went into reconstruction.
One of the novelties along the Cliff Walk, Newport, RI, aside from the elevated panorama onto the water, is found near the Narragansett Avenue access point where the Forty Steps are found. 40 stone steps move down from the walkway to a lowered observation terrace over the water.
Even on hot summer days there is often a cool breeze along the walk way although it is still advisable to carry water along as there are no concessions or other facilities of any kind along the path.
It is advisable that the southern section of the walk not be traveled by individuals on their own but rather n groups of two or more persons for safety. Due to the dangerous nature of the trek, it is also ill advised to attempt to rush through this area.
While a round trip walk amounts to 7 miles of distance. A bus can be found on a short walk up Bellevue Avenue to speed the return to vehicles parked on street meters or at Easton's Beach.
Numerous restaurants and shops can also be found on Bellevue Avenue after taking in the seaside sights of this pathway.