Biking On Outer Cape Cod

Outer Cape Cod is a relatively unspoiled section of Cape Cod, still wild and undeveloped on the side exposed to the Atlantic Ocean.  It is preserved by the Cape Cod National Seashore National Park and can be a wonderful experience by bike.

Winter winds and northeast storms build sand dunes, some very high, that you can see from Route 6 as you drive north towards Provincetown and Herring Cove Beach at the tip of Cape Cod.   Paid parking at Herring Cove Beach puts you at the head of the trail to your right as you face the ocean.

On Outer Cape Cod as the dunes area is called, the Provinceland Dunes bike trail goes south near Race Point Lighthouse, towards the small  airport.
The paved bike trail  runs parallel to the stretch of beach where, in 1849, Thoreau walked for nearly thirty miles from Orleans to Provincetown.   
Drive back south to Truro and find the Head Of The Meadows Trail, a paved trail through woods and meadows with Free parking at the trail head lot.

Henry David Thoreau, passed through this area of the Outer Cape in 1849, journalizing with his rich descriptions of this place of treeless solitude.  To this day, a barren starkness prevails on the high Nauset dunes, just as Thoreau described it in his journal, Cape Cod.  (Text, Cape Cod)   The relentless sea has reclaimed several hundred feet of the Nauset-side cliffs and dunes since Thoreau’s time but one can still walk, as Thoreau did, on over twenty-five miles of unobstructed beach, from Eastham to far distant Provincetown’s Race Point.
For those that want warm water and small waves on the protected side of the Outer Cape, two quiet beaches are a little more than a mile from the Rail Trail.  Follow Skaket Beach Road in Orleans to the end and find a quarter-mile granular sand beach .  To the right, as you face the ocean, you can find privacy in the grass and dune area near the stream outlet.  
Coast Guard Beach
Cape Cod's Outer Cape offers paved bike trails through the dunes at three places.  
At the
tip of Cape Cod , Herring Cove Beach provides parking for the Provincelands Dune Trail , pictured at right, a paved trail with few hills through a section of the Outer Cape near the village of Provincetown.  
Head of The Meadows Trail, is a woods and dunes trail in Truro.
Nauset Trail in Eastham is a woods and estuarine trail that connects the Cape Cod Rail Trail  through the Salt Pond Visitor's Center, to Coast Guard Beach on the high dunes of the Atlantic side on Outer Cape.
Cape Cod Biking
On a mile or so of low dune Marsh Grass and beach with the outlet of Herring Brook at the end,  Plovers, Herons, Terns, Red Tailed Hawk soar over the Heather and Beach Grass.  Tidal pools are alive with the drama of Hermit Crabs, snails, Fiddler Crabs, and tiny fish scurrying through their daily routine.  Finding a private place to read, write, or just plain snooze should be no problem at First Encounter Beach even on a summer weekend.
Herring Cove Beach
Eastham Windmill
At Herring Cove Beach on the tip of Cape Cod, many folks come by RV to snooze in beach chairs while lazily surf fishing for the lunker Striped Bass that feed along the shore.  From the parking lot to the right of the beach, the bike trail extends into the Provinceland Dunes, connecting with the Beach Forest Bike Trail and The Race Point Trail.  Both of these trailheads have large public parking lots.
The unspoiled land of the Outer Cape changes with the winds as they restlessly rearrange the hummocks and tufts as if preparing each day for special guests.  The elemental forces of nature in this raw land are never far from view.
No better way to see all than on a bicycle.
Herring Cove Beach
Ice cream stop Cape Cod Bike Trail
Nauset Beach, Orleans
Eastham Windmill
Johnathan Young Windmill, Orleans
Cape Cod Outer Cape Biking,
Dunes Trails, Rail Trails
Outer Cape Cod Dunes Trails
Herring Cove Beach
Further south you come to The  Cape Cod Rail Trail in Wellfleet at Lecount Hollow. This bike trail is a former railroad bed now turned bicycle path   This trail connects to the Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham and to the Nauset Trail, a system that winds through Beach forest and high dunes and leads to coast Guard Beach on the outer dunes .
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a largely off-road trail that travels for over 25 miles, winding through Brewster's Nickerson State Park, and then through Orleans’s Rock Harbor and on to Eastham and The Cape Cod National Sea Shore’s Salt Pond Visitors Center.  At the center, you can find free parking and good maps of the trails
Highland Light
going tide and let the current carry you out along the beach.  The water is shallow for a half mile, with the flats totally uncovering at low tide.  These sand flats produce the delicious white steamer clams found at Young’s Fish Market in Rock Harbor.   

Further North along the Rail Trail  you will come to Eastham and find another secluded beach, First Encounter Beach.
Cape Cod Outer Cape Biking, Provincelands Dunes Trail from Herring Cove Beach
Cape Cod Outer Cape Biking Offers Dunes Trails, Rail Trails, and Nature Walks.  The Cape Cod Dunes trails and Rail Trails are safe and fun  for families because they are off-road through the Sand Dunes and Pine Forests of Cape Cod.
Cape Cod Trails, Salt Pond Visitors Center
Cape Cod Sightseeing
Cape Cod Beaches
Cape Cod Hotels
Cape Cod Biking
Cape Cod Trails from the Salt Pond Visitors Center
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