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Snake Den

Rhode Island


Several small cliffs with some hard routes and decent bouldering. Not a lot of quantity but some good quality.

Getting There

Snake Den State Park is located in Johnston off Route 6 (Hartford Ave). From Providence follow Rte 6 west. Two miles west of Rte 295 take a right on Brown Ave. After about two miles there is a small parking area on the left. Cross the street and follow the trail for a few hundred yards and you will see the cliffs.

Note - See Mike's notes below for up to date details.

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Rattlesnake 5.12+, the hardest established climb in Snake Den. If you can't find the holds, you aren't the only one. Doesn't seem to be very well traveled but I think it has seen a few ascents. It is on the far left side of the first cliff about 50 yards from the parking lot, and you can set up a top rope over the cliff.
[Hide Photo] Rattlesnake 5.12+, the hardest established climb in Snake Den. If you can't find the holds, you aren't the only one. Doesn't seem to be very well traveled but I think it has seen a few ascents. It…

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North Kingstown, RI
[Hide Comment] There is a 1991 guidebook to Snake Den on Nov 11, 2010
North Kingstown, RI
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know anything about the bolt that looks like it is at the start of "Battle of the Bulge." It is one lone bolt that doesn't do any good. Did someone start to bolt this route and quit? Nov 13, 2011
Joe M
MA and NH
[Hide Comment] I have seen that bolt too, Brian. No idea who put it there or why... Nov 14, 2011
[Hide Comment] Just went to Snake Den for the first time yesterday. These pictures leave out one really important piece of beta: the climbable faces are almost always at the TOP of a steep incline. You have a 20' incline of 65 degrees with the face at the top. The inclines are often covered with talus or smaller boulders. In short - really bad landing zones!!! It's too bad because most of these faces would be good for bouldering, but if you fall you will not only fall the 20' to the base of the cliff, you will then tumble an additional 20' down the incline. Toproping, as silly as it seems, is the best way.

The entire area is now criss-crossed with dirt bike trails. I tried following the scans of the guidebook, but so much has changed! If you are coming in from Route 6, you are looking for the SECOND parking area on the RIGHT. The parking area on the left has now been fenced off with chain link and a new parking area is directly across the street at the trail head.

When you start down the trail, there will be an almost immediate fork. Stay to the trail on the left (the one that heads downhill). You will start down a very obvious trail with faces to your left. This is what the guidebook calls crags 1 & 2.

The top of the trail, about 125 feet in from the parking area.

At the bottom of the hill on the left are the areas the guidebook calls crags 3 & 4.

Bottom of the hill looking left at crags 4, 5, & 6.

Now if you want to find the the remaining area with the 5.10 overhang, well... Let's put it this way, the guidebook wants you to follow a stone wall. In the woods. In New England. As all of us who have spent much time in the New England woods know, in the early 1800s 90% of New England was open fields, so a stonewall in the woods in New England is about as common as snowflakes in New England in February... We found about 7 stonewalls throughout the area.

Follow the main trail from the bottom of the crag 4. You will almost immediately be in a flat area with fairly young growth pine trees and scrub brush. I'm guessing this is the "meadow" from the guidebook in 1991. About 3/4 of the way through you will come to the first major fork. Stay to the right.

Stay to the right!

Stay on that main trail for another 100' - 150'. You will come to a stone wall (it's actually the first real stone wall you get to). Look for the four large-ish (I say 'ish because they aren't really OLD growth but they are larger than anything else in the "meadow") oak trees. See the picture... After you go past the fourth tree start looking over your left shoulder for a piece of orange surveyors' tape on a small trail that kind of doubles back to your left.

The stone wall and the four large oak trees.

Look over your left shoulder

Do you see the surveyors' tape?

Remember, the trail will kind of double back. It's like a Y and you are coming down from the top left of the Y looking for the trail that heads towards the top right... Keep looking over your left shoulder or walk backwards. If you keep looking forward you will probably miss it!

The surveyors' tape is easy to miss!

The trail quickly turns to the left out of sight, so it is really easy to miss! There is an old well on the left side of the trail which would be impossible to see if somebody hadn't stuffed a long log down into it. I'm guessing it was a livestock well as there are no foundation holes that we could find.

Since we went in October the stream and swamp were completely dried up. The "stone cart bridge" described in the guidebook appeared just like a jumble of rocks.


On the other side of the "bridge" kind of stay to the right.

Not to far after the bridge the trail will fork - the left fork goes to the top of the cliffs, the right fork goes to the bottom.

To the last few cliff faces

The cool overhang is at the far end. Bring some long slings to toprope it. It is hairy! It overhangs SO much that when toproping, if you fall you will swing and you will either hit the ground if you are low or hit the slab on the far side of you are high enough. I suggest bringing a tri-cam or SLCD and setting up an intermediate anchor in the horizontal crack about four feet from the top. We had to tie in on top and lower ourselves over the edge to set the anchor, then run the rope through it and UNCLIP from the anchor when we got to it.

Venom 5.10+

The cliff faces have lots of positive cracks and edges but they are SHARP! Also, there are a lot of loose rocks and you will find holds come detached in your hands.

There are a lot of swamps and wetlands, so I would imagine in the spring and summer the mosquitoes would probably carry you away to be devoured and never seen again.

There is a tall ridge line opposite Crags 1, 2, 3, & 4. We did go up and over it and found one, short, climbable area but nothing worth writing home about. Oct 20, 2015
M Sprague
New England
[Hide Comment] Great directional notes. Thanks Michael. Oct 21, 2015
[Hide Comment] Found this awesome crag today while Boulder hunting. It's about 20-25 high and 100 foot long. It's weird there's no info on it considering how bad ass it is.
Center of wall
Apr 14, 2016
North Kingstown, RI
[Hide Comment] Nickgrai,

Is the cliff down in the southeast area of Snake Den not far from the powerlines and Belfield Drive? If so, I've climbed there. If not, check this place out. JoeM told me about it.

Snake Den South
Apr 15, 2016
Kasey Sparadeo
Johnston, RI
[Hide Comment] I made a new route in Snake Den! Check it out! The Land Down Under 5.10+… May 14, 2016
[Hide Comment] Might be worth noting that from crags 1-4, the red dot path takes you straight to 5-7. May 25, 2016