Many people who visit Cape Cod do so to enjoy the outdoors. There are beautiful coastlines and stunning landscapes to enjoy, along with many pretty coastal towns to visit. One of the best ways of exploring the area is to hike around Cape Cod, and there are many hiking trails to enjoy, each of which offers a different experience. For those visiting the area who want to spend time outdoors, here is a traveler’s guide to hiking in Cape Cod.
Great Island to Wellfleet
According to Boston Magazine, one of the best hikes in Cape Cod is the trail that runs between Great Island and Wellfleet. It is a 7.5-mile hike that most people can complete in under four hours. Officially, the trail is called the Cape Cod National Seashore’s Great Island Trail. The first section of the trail is where the Herring River lets out into Wellfleet Harbor, which is a section of the shoreline called ‘the gut.’ You can enjoy views from the cliffs that overlook Cape Cod Bay in the early part of the walk. The trial continues through woods and across sand dunes until you reach Great Beach Hill.
Cliff Pond to Brewster
Another popular hike in Cape Cod is the trail from Cliff Pond to Brewster. It is a three-mile walk that takes around two hours to complete at a leisurely pace. The trail takes hikers along the shores of Cliff Pond in Nickerson State Park. Cliff Pond is a kettle pond that was formed more than 15,000 years ago by retreating glaciers. Some sections of the hike are along the sandy shores, while other parts of the trail take you along forest paths. Occasionally, the lake floods some sections of the trail, so make sure you wear appropriate footwear.
Sand Dune Trail
If you want to enjoy a short hike that takes an hour or less to complete, then All Trails suggests the Sand Dune Trail. It is a relatively easy 2.4-mile trail close to Provincetown, and it is popular for hiking, birdwatching, and nature trips. The trail goes over sand dunes, through pine groves, along the ocean, and across wetlands. It is best to visit the trail between March and October.
Nauset Marsh to Eastham
The trail from Nauset Marsh to Eastham is a relatively easy hike of 2.75-miles, and most people complete it in around 1.5-hours. Many people visit the Cape Cod National Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center before starting the walk, as it has some interesting exhibits and a bookstore. On leaving the center, you are treated to a beautiful view of Nauset Marsh. You begin by walking along the marsh’s edge and the salt pond, and the trail continues in a loop. At the end of the loop trail, there is an optional 1.5-mile spur. If you choose to walk on the trail’s extension, it takes you to Coast Guard Beach.
Long Point Lighthouse to Provincetown
If you have a morning or afternoon to spare, then the three-hour walk from Long Point Lighthouse to Provincetown is a great activity. The trail is 5.5-miles along the coast of the tip of the Cape in Provincetown. You begin the trail at the Provincetown Causeway, which is a jetty extending for two miles to Long Point Beach. At the end of the breakwater is the Wood End Lighthouse. You then walk for a further two miles along the beach until you reach Long Point Lighthouse, where there are Pilgrim Monument views.
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
You can enjoy a full day out at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, as there are lots of things to see and do. There are multiple trails within the wildlife sanctuary, and these are of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. One of the most popular trails is The Bay View Trail, which runs along an inlet and winds through a forest of oaks and pines. During this trail, you can spend some time on the beach and look at the creatures in the rock pools. Another great trail is the Goose Pond Trail, which goes around the edges of a salt marsh and past several ponds. There is also a Nature Center to visit that has exhibits relating to the sanctuary wildlife.
Sandy Neck Beach Park
Go East recommends the Sandy Neck Beach Park as one of the best hiking trails in Cape Cod. Although the trail is predominantly flat, the sandy terrain can make the walk seem tiring. You start by heading down the Marsh Trail, then take the number four trail that takes you over sandy dunes. Next, continue past the intersection with the Horse Trail to complete the six-mile loop. If you want to extend your hike, continue onto the number five trail.
One of the longer hikes is the Moraine trail, which stretches nine miles north to south. The trail begins at Goodwill Park near downtown Falmouth and takes you along a rocky trail past ponds. A section of the trail goes through a business development park before opening out into the wild for the trail’s final three miles.
South Cape Beach State Park
South Cape Beach State Park in Mashpee is a fantastic alternative to Sandy Neck Beach if you only have a couple of hours available. From the parking lot, you will head through the woods, and this leads you to the Great Flat Pond Loop Trail. You will see lots of pretty wildflowers along the way, along with a variety of wildlife. After you have completed the loop, you can continue along the beach towards Dead Neck trail, if you wish.
Eagle Pond Sanctuary
There are multiple trails to explore in Eagle Pond Sanctuary, and each trail offers something different. If you want to explore several trails during one visit, then the best option is to print off a map of the sanctuary and then head for a wander. The sanctuary’s main trail is a starting point for several more trails. One takes you around the pond, and others cross rivers and streams. Eagle Pond Sanctuary is close to Naukabout Brewery, so you can head for a drink and a bite to eat after your hike.