Walks on Cape Cod
I own these,
Cape Cod Walks You Should not miss!
By George Bogosian
Cape Cod has walking adventures that can keep you busy for years. There are miles of beach and woods walks that go unnoticed by most folks. You don’t have to be a person in fit condition to enjoy these walks. Hey, it’s the Cape; it’s mostly flat and that makes it easier for us non exercising persons! We still like the beauty of the ocean, sand dunes, wildlife and we enjoy a nice comfortable woods or beach walk as much as the next guy! These walks capture the essence of the Cape and the reason most of would like to visit; but we get distracted by visible opportunities presented to us along the way. So you need to plan some time to access some of these walks on your visit. And you don't need fancy hiking gear, or expensive hiking boots.... a decent pair of hiking shoes will be all that you need for these walks.
Accessing these areas takes a little local knowledge and direction.
There are a number of books detailing these walks but I really like this one: “Walking the Cape and the Islands” by David Weintraub published by Menasha Ridge Press. The book covers Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. I’ll tell you some of my favorites listed in the book that I’ve walked. MV and Nantucket has great walks but you can capture their flavor right on the Cape. The book gives a good description of the walk and a good detail map along with the flora and fauna you can expect to see along the way. For each trail there is useful info like: whether bikes, dogs, hunting are allowed on the trail. And the book tells of not often seen health stats info like: number of steps, estimated calories burned and good directions for getting to the trail head are on each trail they mention. They give a walking summary and description of the walk and they do a great job in this department. There are no pretty pictures: the book is filled with the necessary details about the walk. You’ll have to take you own colored pictures!
The book covers what’s called the Lower Cape, the Middle Cape, the Upper Cape, and the Outer Cape and the Islands.
and there are 44 trails well laid out for your walking pleasure. The appendix shows, best, shortest, longest, easiest,, moderate, difficult walks; best birding, wildflowers, scenic vistas, nature, off-season, with children, with dogs….enough already! It’s a great book with good detail for each trail. Enough said about the book. Let’s talk some specific walks.
Trail # 20 in the book is the John Wing Trail and is 1.3 miles long (one hour or less walk) which includes a woods, salt marsh and a short beach walk; just a little of each. It’s on Route 6A in Brewster, right beside the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. So you can visit the museum…. and enjoy the walk. Early settlers harvested the marsh hay and gathered salt from the open evaporated ponds as they did on much of the Cape in earlier times. I like that it has the museum to educate you about the area. This is a good introductory walk on the Cape.
Trail # 29 is Kent’s Point Conservation Area, another short and easy (1.1 mi) walk but has the views of Frostfish Cove, The River and Little Pleasant Bay. It’s located in Orleans off Frostfish Lane. Charlotte Kent ran an artist colony on the property before the town of Orleans purchased the land for a conservation area. It's a pleasant and varied walk.
Trail # 34 is Great Island Trail in Wellfleet and is 7.2 miles (3-5 hours) and I consider the granddaddy of Cape walks. There’s lots of diversity with woods, dunes, salt marsh, beach and history along this journey. This area is all part of the Cape Cod National Seashore land with includes Great Island, Great Beach Hill , Jeremy Point and surrounds part of Wellfleet Harbor. This can be a big walk but you can do just some of it and return; I’ve returned many times on this walk.
Trail # 39, Truro Hills is 3.9 miles long (2-3 hours) with vistas of the Atlantic Ocean with lots of birds and native plants. Part of the trail was the main route between Plymouth and Provincetown called the Old King’s Highway. It’s mostly a wooded circuit and a moderate walk.
Trail # 44 is Race Point and Hatches Harbor in Provincetown at the outer tip of the cape. It’s 6.6 miles long (3-5 hours) and has full sun exposure…. so wear a hat. This trail is a hike and not a leisurely walk. The trail starts at the Province Land Visitor Center in Provincetown on National Seashore land. There will be some walking on the bike trail and in the woods and beach walking. It requires some planning with the tides and the book will give you all the details about this adventure walk.
Now you only have 40 more walks to complete on the Cape.... so get started.
I didn’t mention the Red Maple Swamp at Fort Hill (# 32) walk because I have another hub about that area but I thought I’d mention it because of its diversity and being one of my very favorites. I come here every time I’m at the Cape.
The book is an indispensable resource for walks of the Cape Cod and the islands. It’s simply the best walking guide I’ve used. There was lots of time and effort put into the writing…so don’t leave for Cape Cod without it. Enjoy your walks.