Cliff Walk, Newport
Cliff Walk, which stretches along
Newport’s shoreline, is one of the most
tourist attractions in Newport,
Rhode Island. Many believe that the now
path that makes up the Walk was
first outlined by the local fauna, comprised
of deer. After the deer came the
Narragansett Indians and the colonials.
During the 1800s, many of the rich folk of
New York spent their summers in the
undeveloped shoreline which is now Cliff
Walk. Several Gilded Age mansions were
overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and during
the 1880s, land developers started putting
money into the improvement of the Walk.
Unfortunately, this development was cut
short when the Great Depression hit.
Thankfully, during the 1970s the engineers
of the U.S. Army Corps started the
restoration of the Walk.
were made in the 1980s as a result
from funds from the National Park Service
Land and Water Conservation Fund.
by two previous hurricanes were addressed,
and retaining walls were put up to counter
erosion and to ensure the safety of the
people using the Walk. However, there is
still a lot to be done. Disappointingly, the
past Newport City Councils did not
prioritize the development Cliff Walk.
Cliff Walk is also now a National Recreation
Trail, which is 3.5 miles in length. It
starts at Memorial Blvd. at the western part
of Easton’s beach (also known as Newport’s
First Beach), and it
has a number of exits which include those
in Narragansett Avenues, Webster Street,
Sheppard Avenue, Ruggles
Avenue, Marine Avenue, Ledge Road and
However, the breath-taking setting which
it is in will surely distract anyone walking
along it from noticing its otherwise
Cliff Walk is
lined with the most colorful and fragrant of
wildflowers. The chirping of the birds that
fly above it blends with the sounds of the
water splashing against the cliff walls. The
Cliff Walk is a place right out of the
fairytales. Walkers should be careful not to
be deceived by the Walk’s charm. Some parts of the Walk,
especially the southern half, are extremely dangerous. The
heavy foliage, beautiful as it is, sometimes conceals drops
and dips in the Cliff Walk’s topography. The occasional
jagged rocks and the slippery sand do not do anything to
help. And to top it all off, during some seasons, Poison Ivy
grows in abundance along the Walk.
Still, despite all the dangers people must face when walking
along Newport’s historic Cliff Walk, the natural splendor
that engulfs anyone who is fortunate enough to walk along
the shoreline makes the effort worthwhile.
Tourists who are interested in visiting the Cliff Walk will
benefit from reading the Cliff Walk Book. It is a heavily
illustrated and fact-intensive book which can practically
serve as a tour guide.