CAPE COD NATIONAL SEASHORE TRAILS:
CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: July 11, 2011
Length: Nauset Trail; 1.8 miles (2.5 miles if starting from the Cape Cod Rail Trail)
Head of the Meadow Trail; 0.9 miles
Province Lands Loop Trail; 5 miles
Herring Cove Beach Spur; 1.1 miles
Race Point Beach Spur; 0.4 miles
Difficulty: Nauset Trail; Easy. Paved hilly & curvy trail. Might be tough for small kids on bikes.
Head of the Meadow Trail; Easy. Flat paved trail. Notice; This trail is in poor shape with the asphalt full of heaves. Mt bike recommended.
Province Lands Loop Trail; Moderate. Some long hills, very curvy along this paved trail. Could be tough for kids on bikes.
For the Nauset Trail; From Route 6 in Eastham turn right on Salt Pond/Nauset Rd and into the Salt Pond Visitor Center.
For the Head of the Meadow Trail; From Route 6 in Truro turn right on High Head Rd. Follow this paved road until you come to a private road straight ahead. Turn left on the dirt road to a dirt parking lot. Parking is also available at the Head of the Meadow Beach, but fees apply.
For the Province Lands Trails; From Route 6 in Provincetown turn right on Race Point Rd. Look for the Beach Forest parking lot on your left. You'll cross the trail as you enter the parking lot. Start from the map board to your left as you entered.
Cape Cod National Seashore has three paved bike trails; The Nauset Trail in Eastham, The Head of the Meadow Trail in Truro and the Province Lands Trails in Provincetown. You can also access the Nauset Trail from the Cape Cod Rail Trail at Mile 16.5. For more information visit; CAPE COD NATIONAL SEASHORE .
Starting from the Salt Pond Visitor Center; Be sure to check out the SALT POND VISITOR CENTER where maps, water and restrooms are available.
Note; You can access this trail from the Cape Cod Rail Trail via a short on-road connection. From the rail trail [Mile 16.5] head east on Locust Rd down a slight hill. Turn left on Salt Pond Rd after 0.3 miles. Pass by the LITTLE CAPISTRANO BIKE SHOP before coming to Route 6. Use the cross-light over Route 6 to a paved trail which will take you past the Salt Pond Visitor Center and to the start of the Nauset Trail after 0.7 miles.
From the start of the paved trail near the east exit of the parking lot the narrow paved Nauset Trail veers away from Nauset Rd and into the shaded scrub. This is a hilly, winding trail that takes you through Scrub Oak, Cedar & Pine. You'll pass by a spur trail to Doane Rock Picnic Area at 1.3 miles. After 1.6 miles you travel along a boardwalk through a salt marsh in Nauset Bay. One last hill brings you up to Ocean View Dr and the end of the trail at Coast Guard Beach after 1.8 miles (2.5 miles from the Cape Cod Rail Trail). Bike racks & restrooms are located here, as well as, access to the beach. This was the location of the Nauset Coast Guard Station, where the old station, built in 1936, overlooks the ocean. A path from this building leads to an overlook of the beach and contains informational sign boards.
HEAD of the MEADOW TRAIL:
Starting from the High Head Road parking lot; Follow the old, narrow paved trail along a salt meadow with the sand dunes in the distance. High shrubs block most views along this trail creating a corridor effect. As of July 2011, the asphalt is in poor condition making for a bumpy ride. The trail ends after 0.9 miles at Head of the Meadow Rd. Left is the entrance for Head of the Meadow Beach, where rest rooms and picnic tables are available.
PROVINCE LANDS TRAILS:
Starting from the Beach Forest parking lot; As you enter the parking lot the trail crosses the road. On the left will be a map board which is where we started from. From the map board follow the trail across the entrance Rd along the northwest route. You can also take the trail southwest.
Note; A short paved spur trail heads south along Race Point Rd, but ends before reaching Route 6.
The paved trail crosses Race Point Rd and travels through Shrub Oak and Pine. The trail winds up & down hills before bringing you to a scenic vista of the sand dunes. Another scenic vista of the dunes and ocean at 1.2 miles. Just shy of 1.5 miles is a spur trail up to the Province Lands Visitor Center where you'll find rest rooms and a great lookout on top. See; CAPE COD NS VISITOR CENTER . Continuing along the trail you'll cross back over Race Point Rd at 1.9 miles to an intersection.
Note; Right is a 0.4 mile paved spur trail out to Race Point Beach. You'll pass by the Provincetown Airport before the trail ends at a parking lot with bike racks. Up the hill is the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station Museum and Race Point Ranger Station.
Heading left the trail now travels south passing through a tunnel underneath Province Lands Rd. After 3.5 miles you'll come to another intersection.
Note; Right is a 1.1 mile spur trail out to Herring Cove Beach. Although I didn't get a chance to travel this trail (my sons bike derailleur broke off & we had the pleasure of huffing it by foot back to the car), I have taken it in the past. It makes a great detour to reach Provincetown. After reaching the end of the trail at the Herring Cove Beach parking lot, travel through the long narrow lot and continue straight on-road past the entrance gate to your left. Travel through a second parking lot and continue straight along a paved path out to Province Lands Rd. Turn right. This is a narrow road, but has low speed limits. Continue past Bradford St and then around the traffic circle to Commercial St. On your right is Provincetown Harbor. Follow Commercial St and it will bring you into downtown Provincetown with all its shops and restaurants.
Continuing straight along the Province Lands Trail you'll travel past Pasture Pond on your left before coming to another intersection.
Note; Right is a 1/4 mile spur trail out to Bennett Pond.
Head left to return to the Beach Forest parking lot for a 5 to 5.5 mile loop. (A bit sketchy after our bike troubles. Map lists it as 5.5 miles)
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT