PORTSMOUTH, R.I. – Rail Explorers, The Southern Circuit

Rail Explorers USA has four sites across the country, and we are lucky to have one of them so close to the South Shore in Portsmouth, RI. This has become a yearly tradition in our family because it is something very unusual that we can ALL do together–Kids and adults of all ages will have a great time. The cars are very heavy, but the work is relatively minimal when you’re with a large group of adults. We always book a sunset tour and enjoy the absolutely stunning views. Unfortunately, this year, it was cloudy so there was no sun to see! 🙁

Pro tip: PACK INGREDIENTS (including sticks) FOR S’MORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


1 Alexander Rd.

Portsmouth, RI 02871


We have only done the Southern Circuit, so we cannot personally speak about the Northern Ramble. That said, the Northern Ramble is roughly a 90 minute experience that involves pedaling out and then taking a shuttle bus back to the starting point. During COVID, masks are currently required for the bus ride. We have always chosen the Southern Circuit because it is an out and back experience, and when you reach the end point at 3 miles, you get to disembark and sit by a cozy fire, have a snack, and relax for a few minutes before heading back (the employees are basically turning the cars around for the ride back while you enjoy the scenery). This is a guided tour, so you don’t have to think about anything except pedaling and enjoying the views. Infants are allowed if they are in a chest harness. Young kids can ride in a seat by themselves as long as they will stay seated and buckled up. One dog per car is permitted, as long as the dog will remain seated and leashed (or in a carrier) throughout the trip. See the website for more detailed information. There are bathrooms at the start and porta potties at the end point/turning point of the Southern Circuit.



Rated on a scale of 1 (difficult/not good) to 5 (easy/awesome!)

P – Parking & Access – 5 (Plenty of parking in their lot)

I – Interest Level – 5 (Our kids LOVE this…and so do the adults!)

N – Navigation – 5 (It’s a guided journey–you can’t get lost!)

T – Terrain – 5 (No roots or rocks to trip over; the cars just glide along, although there is a constant clacking and bumping from the rails. HOWEVER, you should be in decent physical shape and be able to pedal approximately 6 miles total.)

The P.I.N.T. Score represents our opinions of this trail.  It reflects our experience, perception, and physical health.  Therefore, the scores are not intended to be expert advice, nor will they be accurate for everyone: we cannot judge what may or may not be appropriate for each individual’s different abilities.  Consult a physician or medical expert before attempting any new physical activity. Hiking contains inherent hazards, so hike at your own risk.  You should always make your own decisions about what level of physical activity is appropriate for you and your family. Weather and other factors may affect trail conditions. Remember, trail conditions may change suddenly and drastically at any time.

Points of Interest

  1. Home base

2. The ride!

3. At the end point/turnaround spot



Check out the Newport Car Museum and Foodworks Family Restaurant. See our blog post about these places here.

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