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Jerimoth Hill: High Point of Rhode Island

Fast Facts About Jerimoth Hill

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Jerimoth Hill's summit is a short walk from RI 101.

The summit of Jerimoth Hill, the high point of Rhode Island, is a large boulder topped with a cairn.

Photograph © Stewart M. Green
  • Elevation: 812 feet (247 meters) 
  • Prominence: 192 feet (59 meters) 
  • Location: Providence County, Rhode Island.
  • Coordinates: 41.8495431° N / 71.778681° W
  • First Ascent: First ascent by unknown Native Americans in the distant past.

Fast Facts:

  • Jerimoth Hill is the highest point in Rhode Island and the 45th highest state high point in the United States.

  • Jerimoth Hill, a novelty ascent that is of interest mostly to Highpointers or climbers interested in climbing the high points of every state, is one of the easiest state high points.

  • A Rhode Island state highway sign indicates that Jerimoth Hill is on the shoulder of Rhode Island Highway 101 but that is not the actual high point. To reach the roof of Rhode Island you hike south 500 feet, gaining about ten feet of elevation to the summit.

  • The top of Jerimoth Hill is the rounded top of a large boulder imbedded in soil. The top of the boulder, possibly a glacial erratic (a hunk of rock transported by a glacier from somewhere else and deposited when the glacier retreated), rises about 30 inches above the surrounding ground. The high point is surrounded by tall pines and oaks.

  • The Jerimoth Hill high point is on a small piece of property owned by Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. A 200-foot-wide area that is cleaned of brush and trees has been used by the university’s astronomy program for stargazing away from city lights. A concrete pad with telescope mounts is on the southwest corner of the clearing while a now-crumbling shed on the northwest side was used for storage. The university accessed the site by following an abandoned and over-grown road that parallels today’s hiking trail.

  • The plot of land with Jerimoth Hill and the astronomical observation area was donated to Brown University by Walter Raymond Turner, a university alumnus, in the late 1930s after he bought the house to the immediate west. He also provided them with the road right-of-way to access the property.

Jerimoth Hill Access Issues

  • Jerimoth Hill became one of the most difficult of the nation’s state high points to climb after the property and house was acquired by Henry Richardson in the 1980s. After initialing welcoming high point hikers, Richardson closed the property, installed motion detectors, and disallowed access to the piney summit. He was known to verbally abuse, harass, and threaten any highpointers who attempted to tag the elusive peak. He finally relented in 1998 after pressure from hikers and the national Highpointers Club, headquartered in Golden, Colorado, caused him to open access to Jerimoth Hill on five national holidays each year.

  • After Henry Richardson died in 200, the property was sold and then resold to Jeff and Debbie Mosley in 2005. The Mosleys graciously allowed access to high point hikers and helped create a trail with volunteer help on Labor Day weekend 2005 from the highway to the summit. Since 2007 the trail and Jerimoth Hill summit is open to hikers daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    How to Climb Jerimoth Hill

    Jerimoth Hill is one of the easiest of the 51 state high points to climb (including Reno Hill in Washington D.C.), being a short level stroll through shady woods from your vehicle. This is a hike that you don’t need to fill your pack with the Ten Essentials and, unless it’s a steamy hot day in mid-summer, you probably don’t even need to bring a water bottle and snacks—unless you want a picnic lunch atop Rhode Island’s high point.

    Easy to Reach by Car

    Jerimoth Hill is easy to reach by automobile. It’s an hour south of Boston, Massachusetts via Interstate 395 or Interstate 95 or an hour from Hartford, Connecticut via several CT state highways.

    Driving Directions

    The easiest driving approach is from Interstate 395 in eastern Connecticut. Take Exit ? to Connecticut Highway 101. Drive east on CT 101 and cross the Rhode Island border. Continue to the broad top of a hill and park on the highway shoulder at a sign on the south side of the highway that says “Jerimoth Hill States Highest Point 812 Feet.” This is not, however, the Rhode Island high point. It is instead in the woods to the south. You can park on either the north or south side of the highway.

    Jerimoth Hill Trail

    The Jerimoth Hill Trail begins at the sign on the south side of RI 101. As of 2011 it is marked with small white signs nailed to trees. Follow the trail to the high point, not the old overgrown road to the right or west. Hike south on the trail for 300 or so feet, then make a sharp bend right or west and follow the old road south for a couple hundred more feet to a wide clearing with an old concrete pad with telescope mounts.

    Roof of Rhode Island

    The Rhode Island state high point is on the northeast side of the clearing where the access trail reaches the clearing. It is a low humped boulder surrounded by tall pine trees with a cairn perched atop the boulder’s highest point. Make sure you stand atop the boulder and then you can proudly proclaim: “I climbed Jerimoth Hill—Rhode Island’s state high point!”

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