Purgatory Chasm is a tiny strip of State Park enveloping a gorgeous view of the open ocean just steps from the park entrance. ... More
Purgatory Chasm is a tiny strip of State Park enveloping a gorgeous view of the open ocean just steps from the park entrance. In the park, visitors can stand on a wooden bridge and admire a deep chasm and the rushing waters from the safety of distance, or take a brisk nature walk along the trail. The other trails at Purgatory Chasm end on the rocky cliffs, which force hikers to turn quickly back.
I grew up in Middletown during the 1940's and 1950's and walked out to the Purgatory chasm many times. In those days there was no fence and no park. You could walk right up to the edge. The story we heard was that during WWII a Newport girl fell in love with two navy men and couldn't decide which one to marry. She told them that they would have to jump across the chasm and the one who made it is the one she would marry. In those early days there used to be a headstone nearby that made the story believable.
I wish that someone would tell the real story about this place:
that Thomas Wigglebottom, engaged to Lenora Wildbush, was spurned by her as she favored Herbert Ficklewhipple instead as he was much more handsome. Heartbroken, he drugged her with absinthe and carried her to the chasm, tossing her limp body over where it washed out into the shores surrounding second beach never to be seen again. Distraught over her death, he cast himself into the chasm as well, shouting, "Lenora!" and hitting his head on the side of the wall leaving the imprint we now know as the Wigglebottom headbutt stone. This is a crucial piece of RI history and it CANNOT be forgoten. It happened in 1989 and is why the surfers at second beach sit out there waiting for waves that dont come, hoping to get a glimpse of the ghosts of Wigglebottom and his lost love.
You can see all of 2nd beach from thos cliff view and it's lovely and you can hear the waves.
If you are lucky enough to get one of the parking spots meant for the Chasm (this is almost impossible in the summer), it's completely free as well.
If you find yourself at a loss of things to quell your addiction to climbing, this place is great. Just make sure you watch it as in some places there are very long drops onto jagged rocks! I can't count how many times I just went there with my friends and climbed all day when I was younger. It's a good place to just chill and be with nature, it feels good.
It's free, there are bathrooms in the area, there is also little areas to have cookouts complete with stone "grills". It's an awesome place if you love nature. There's trails that bring you throuh the main chasm and it get be tricky for the older or less nimble. There are other trails that do bring you through woods and not so much rocky chasms. Not only are there awesome little caves and hideaways that have been marked on the trail, but there's also ones that you can find yourself. *BRING A FLASHLIGHT* One small enough to turn on and hold in your mouth. Some of the caves you can find on your own are skinny enough where in certain areas your on your stomach :):):) It's a great experience.
This is more of a scenic lookout than an active area..unless you like climbing around on rocks...I wouldnt suggest trying to climb down the chasm though, some of my friends tried it and almost fell to their deaths
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