CAPE COD RAIL TRAIL:

CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      August 7, 2015

Length:                Cape Cod Rail Trail; 22 miles

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat paved rail trail. 

Directions:     

To Start from the Route 134 parking lot at Mile 0; From Route 6 take exit 9A to Route 134 south. The parking lot is located on the left just past Theophilis Smith Rd.

To Start from the Nickerson SP parking lot near Mile 10.5; From Route 6 take exit 12 to Rout2 6A and head left. Travel 1.6 miles to the Park's entrance on your left. Use the parking lot immediately to the right of the gate house. Daily fee, however, you can continue past the Park and take your first left into Barbs Bike Shop parking lot where parking is free.

To Start from the Lecount Hollow Road parking lot at Mile 22; From the traffic circle in Orleans where the expressway ends continue 8.8 miles north on Route 6 to Lecount Hollow Rd. Turn right and the parking lot will be on your right.

Before the first railroad tracks were laid, the Cape was a relatively isolated area, accessible only by packet boat or stagecoach. By 1848, the Old Colony Railroad Company laid tracks that connected Boston and Sandwich. Railroad track extensions continued and by 1873, Old Colony had linked Boston with Cape Codís outermost point of Provincetown. The Cape Cod Rail Trail follows this former railroad right-of-way for 22 miles through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet. A spur to Chatham from Harwich along the Old Colony Railroad bed is now the Old Colony Rail Trail South . You can also access the Nickerson State Park Trails in Brewster & Nauset Bike Trail in Eastham from the Cape Cod Rail Trail. See; Cape Cod National Seashore Trails . For more information visit; CAPE COD RAIL TRAIL .

Starting from the Route 134 parking lot; A map board and picnic tables are located here at Mile Marker 0. Granite markers are located every mile along the trail and include the town you are in. They are also painted on the trail every tenth of a mile.

Note; Construction to extend the trail west along the old rail bed is underway.

The paved trail heads north through a shaded tree corridor. Cross Great Western Rd at 3/4 miles and pass by a side trail to DENNIS CYCLE CENTER at 0.9 miles. Cross Depot St at 1.2 miles where you'll find a small parking lot and map board. Look right to spot an old RR Whistle marker before traveling past some cranberry bogs. You cross the Herring River which leads into the West Reservoir on your right. Travel over the Great Western Rd again at 2.2 miles. Travel through a tunnel underneath Main St and you'll come to a Bike Rotary at 3.2 miles. A map board and benches are located in the middle of the rotary.

Note; The Cape Cod Rail Trail continues left while the Old Colony Rail Trail South, which travels out to Chatham, picks up straight ahead.

Continuing north along the Cape Cod Rail Trail look left to spot what I believe is an old cement RR mileage marker (no numbers). Pass by the trailhead for the HACKER WILDLIFE SANCTUARY at 4 miles. You then travel across Queen Ann Rd followed by a bridge over Route 6. You'll come to the Headwaters Drive parking lot at 4.6 miles. Picnic tables located here. Travel past Hinckley's Pond before crossing Pleasant Lake Ave and passing by Pleasant Lake General Store where you can grab a bite to eat at 5.2 miles. After crossing Squattom Rd you'll travel alongside Long Pond before crossing back over Pleasant Lake Ave and traveling alongside Seymour Pond. Porto-potty and picnic tables are located here along the beach. Enter Harwich from Brewster at 6 miles before crossing Pleasant Lake Ave for the final time. Parking lot located here. After a long straightaway you'll come to the Long Pond Road parking lot just shy of 8 miles. Map board and picnic tables. Busy road crossing. Pass by BREWSTER BIKE , before crossing Underpass Rd. Lots of places to grab a bite around here. At 9.2 miles will be a spur trail to Brewster Center. Head through a tunnel underneath Villages Dr and after several more road crossings you'll pass by a spur to BARBS BIKE SHOP and another parking lot before coming to a spur trail into Nickerson State Park at 10.7 miles. The Nickerson SP parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables and map board are all located here. 

Note; You can check out the paved Nickerson State Park Trails from here.

The trail continues north through a tunnel underneath Route 6A. After crossing Seaview Rd you'll travel past Namskaket Marsh. A slight hill then takes you to a short on-road section off the rail bed. Head left (residential), then right out to West Rd (Caution; no paved trail along this busy road, just a shoulder). Turn right and cross over Route 6. Head downhill where you'll pick up a crosswalk that brings you back to the paved trail on your left. Come to a map board and the center of Orleans at 13.1 miles. Parking located here. Places to eat. IDLE TIMES BIKE SHOP located here. Cross Main St where you'll find ORLEANS CYCLE before heading back into the woods. Couple of more road crossings before a bridge takes you back over Route 6. Travel along a large marsh and cross Governor Prence Rd at 15.1 miles. Cross a causeway between Great Pond on your left and Depot Pond to your right before crossing Locust Rd at 16.5 miles.

Note: You can access the SALT POND VISITOR CENTER from here, as well as, the Nauset Trail . Head right on-road along hilly Locust Rd. Turn left on Salt Pond Rd at 0.3 miles [Brown signs]. 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 bring you past the Salt Pond Visitor Center at 0.5 miles where you'll find restrooms and water and to the start of the Nauset Trail at the east end of the parking lot at 0.7 miles.

Continuing along the trail a tunnel takes you underneath Route 6 at 17 miles. Pass by a large boulder with a plaque next to old granite RR mileage marker 100 just before 19 miles. 100 miles from Boston via the RR. Nice overlook of a marsh at 20.2 miles.

Cross Marconi Beach Rd at 21.2 miles.

Note; You can access the Cape Cod National Seashore Headquarters , as well as, the Marconi Wireless Station from here. Head right on-road along Marconi Beach Rd (low traffic) then turn left onto Marconi Station Rd. Bear right and you'll pass by the Cape Cod National Seashore Headquarters at 0.3 miles. Continue straight along the wide open road full of Bear Oak and Pitch Pine. After 1.1 miles you come to the parking lot for the Marconi Wireless Station where you'll find restrooms, a hiking trail and a trail leading to the Wireless Station. Some great overlooks of the Atlantic Ocean.

Finally a causeway across Blackfish Creek Marsh brings you to the end of the trail after 22 miles. Here you'll find a map board, Porto-Potty and the Lecount Hollow Road parking lot. To access Provincetown and the end of the Cape you'll have to continue on-road. Check the map for the bike route.

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