The best hikes in Cape Cod

The best hikes in Cape Cod


Even though extensive walks on Cape Cod shorelines are a detail for a explanation, inland mountaineering trails provide perception into the Cape’s numerous ecology which include marshes, forests and freshwater ponds. 

Most Cape Cod hikes are inclined to be on the small side as opposed to trails in other components of the region, but benefits include things like wildlife views and solitude even for the duration of the summer months substantial season. In this article are 8 of our beloved hikes through Cape Cod.

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Cliff Pond Loop, Brewster: ideal hike with dogs 

3.2 miles/5.2 km roundtrip, 2 hours

Glaciers that carved the Cape some 15,000 decades ago melted to kind massive inland freshwater ponds named kettle ponds, and some of the ideal examples of these are found at Nickerson Point out Park. 

At 204 acres, Cliff Pond is the largest pond in the park, and the Cliff Pond Loop edges together its pine and oak-forested banking companies. The trail opens to several secluded sandy beaches where by swimming and fishing are permitted. 

Wildlife commonly viewed include things like japanese painted turtles, foxes and herons. Cliff Pond Loop can be included to Minor Cliff Pond Trail to make a for a longer period determine-of-8 route. Leashed puppies are permitted on park trails.

Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail is a quick loop via woodland © Barry Winiker / Getty Photos

Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Path, Wellfleet: finest forest hike 

1.2 miles/1.9 km loop, 1 hour

Located inside of Cape Cod Countrywide Seashore, the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail provides a forested distinction to the nearby open up beach front sights. This loop path drops into shaded pine and oak woods with a carpeted ground of moss and is noteworthy for its grove of endangered Atlantic white cedars. 

A plank boardwalk enables hikers to vacation through the swamp ecosystem dwelling to various species of birds, which include owls and woodpeckers, earning it well-known with birders and botanists.

The trailhead begins at the Marconi Wireless Station parking lot, with restrooms and picnic tables. Most of the path is stage and accessible, but a handful of actions down to the boardwalk can hamper wheelchairs. Animals are not permitted on the trail don long trousers to keep away from get hold of with poison ivy and ticks.

Morris Island Path, Chatham: greatest hike for observing wildlife  

1.6 miles/2.5 km loop, 1 hour

This loop path begins at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge visitor centre, the place attendees can find out about horseshoe crabs, diamondback terrapins, seals and insects – very important to the Cape’s ecology. 

Morris Island Trail’s sandy, pine-lined path leads by seashore plum shrubs to the beach, wherever plovers and pipers are generally viewed (and the motive animals are not permitted on the path all through nesting time). Hike at small tide as pieces of the route are submerged at substantial tide. 

The path loops inland previous ponds and marsh grass meadows affording glimpses of crimson-wing blackbirds, dragonflies and other interior-coastal critters before returning to the visitor heart parking ton.

A dilapidated wooden shack surrounded by sand dunes
The historic shacks on the trail are even now utilised by artists now © Halee Burg / Shutterstock

Dune Shacks Path, Provincetown: very best historic hike 

2 miles/3.2 km roundtrip, 3 several hours

Element of Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore, the Dune Shacks Trail starts from a parking spot at the Route 6 and Snail Highway intersection. The trail travels by way of a brief segment of woods just before opening to steep sand dunes and at some point the seashore.

Cresting the dunes delivers sweeping, spectacular sights of this remote extend of Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore underneath. Pets are not permitted on this path.

Its namesake dune shacks are part of the Dune Shacks of the Peaked Hills Historic District. Originally designed in the 1860s as lifetime-saving stations for shipwrecked sailors, the shacks were being published about by Henry David Thoreau in his 1865 ebook, Cape Cod. These peaceful, remote shacks turned the summer time studios of writers and artists which includes Jack Kerouac, E.E. Cummings, Norman Mailer, Eugene O’Neill and Jackson Pollock. 

The very simple shacks have no plumbing or electrical energy and are continue to applied by artists who use by means of lotteries to stay and function in them. Hikers may well look at these 19 historic cabins but are questioned not to enter them or the grounds to respect the occupants’ privacy.

Sea Farms Marsh Trail, Falmouth: most effective hike for birdwatching 

1.2 miles/1.9 km roundtrip, 1 hour

Sea Farms Marsh Path travels by way of 87 acres of marsh and woodlands preserved from progress along 2-mile-lengthy Bourne’s Pond and Israel’s Cove. Hold an eye out for foxes, blue heron, osprey, marsh hawks and diamondback terrapins.

Benches glance out to picturesque coves and make ideal spots for observing the a lot of species of birds that simply call this location home. Bourne’s Pond is common for swimming, kayaking and fishing, and an inlet opens it to the ocean and Menauhant Beach.

A woman hikes through a coastal area surrounded by grass-topped sand dunes
Be well prepared for ticks, poison ivy, and other hazards on the trails © Ajax9 / Shutterstock

Green Briar Nature Heart and Jam Kitchen: best hike with children

2 miles/3.2 km roundtrip, 1.5 several hours

After the property of kid’s publications author and conservationist Thornton Burgess, these grounds now have the Green Briar Nature Centre. The strolling paths meander via gardens, wildflower plots and guarded land, including Smiling Pool pond and the briar patch featured in quite a few of Burgess’ Peter Rabbit tales.  

Right after meandering the trails via the conservation area’s 57-acres, visit the historic Environmentally friendly Briar Jam Kitchen. Started off in 1903 by Ida Putnam, the kitchen area is now a living museum the place people can discover the approach of traditional jamming and can invest in fruit jams built onsite.

Menemsha Hills Reservation Trail, Martha’s Winery: best hike for views

3.7 miles/6 km roundtrip, 2 several hours

Just one of the Cape’s longest and most diverse hikes, Menemsha Hills Reservation Trail travels via wetlands, forest groves, coastal plains and steep cliffs prior to topping Prospect Hill, the next-greatest point on Martha’s Vineyard. 

At a whopping 308ft above sea level, Menemsha Hills supply extraordinary sights of Menemsha harbor, the Elizabeth Islands and Gay Head Lighthouse. Leashed puppies are permitted.

Sandy Neck Nature Trail, Barnstable: very best hike for camping 

2 miles/2.5 km roundtrip, 1.5 hours

The Sandy Neck Character Trail explores the dunes, marshes and intertidal zones powering Sandy Neck Seashore that faces north to Cape Cod Bay.

From the ranger station, the Marsh Trail travels east for about 1.6 miles powering the dunes by means of the marsh zone in which brackish h2o is home to garter snakes, diamondback terrapins and box turtles, tree swallows and red-winged blackbirds. The Marsh Trail then connects with a .4-mile-extensive Path #1 that heads north to the beach front.

Leashed pet dogs are permitted on the Sandy Neck Nature Path, and restricted free of charge parking is accessible. Sandy Neck Beach front is six miles prolonged, and off-highway autos are permitted on the seaside. 

Tent camping is also readily available in the oak forest around the beach front at set up web-sites. This spot is a great mountaineering and camping vacation spot with seashore obtain and starry night skies over Cape Cod Bay.

Recommendations for mountaineering Cape Cod

  • Ticks can be a issue when mountaineering via grassy places. Look at yourself and children commonly for ticks, specifically at the tops of socks, waistlines and scalps. Don’t ignore to test canine, particularly all-around the collar and ears.
  • Poison ivy can also be present. Remain on specified trails to avoid coming in contact with this 3-leaved nuisance. 
  • Deer flies, mosquitoes, and biting gnats named “no-see ums” can be an concern. Use bug repellent, in particular in marshy areas.
  • Many Cape trails do not have restrooms or consuming water, so make absolutely sure to be geared up right before location off.
  • Numerous public parts on the Cape prohibit pet dogs for durations because of to hen nesting websites. Make positive you know rules regarding pets on the trail beforehand. Dogs need to always be leashed on public land. Bring plastic luggage to pack out squander.



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