Cape Cod Rail Trails take you through some Unspoiled and naturally beautiful landscapes and villages where the people of Cape Cod still cherish simplicity and their seafaring heritage. They offer the traveler many modern conveniences., however. There are bike rental shops along the trails, lighthouses, antique windmills, nature preserves, golf courses, art and history museums, a winery, art colonies, an airport with sightseeing flights, and campgrounds.
There is no better way to experience the freedom of Cape Cod than on a bicycle. In the sea-bound refuge called the Outer Cape (lower)you can peddle your way between coast Guard beach, Highland Light, Skaket Beach and New Encounter Beach, or head north for the Province Lands beaches.
On the lower cape the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a former railroad bed now turned bicycle path, and the Nauset Dune Trail, a system that winds through Beach forest and high dunes, together contain over fifty miles of off-road bicycle and walking trails.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a largely off-road trail that travels for over 25 miles 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 continue to the windward Nauset Shore or head north to the end of the trail at Lecount Hollow in the town of Wellfleet. At several places along the way, there is ample parking, if you chooses not to travel the entire 25 miles by bicycle.
From the end of the Rail Trail at Lecount Hollow, a short drive towards Provincetown will bring you to the Nauset Dunes bike trail system, with its paved bicycle paths through the dunes and along the beach at the very tip of Cape Cod.
First you might want to try some seafood on your bike trip at Rock Harbor in Orleans, the small port on The Cape Cod Bay side or inner crook of the elbow of Cape Cod. At Captain Cass’s Rock Harbor Seafood Restaurant and Young’s Fish Market you can get local steamer clams and fresh cooked Lobster to go or have them in at Capt Cass.
Rock Harbor’s sport fishing fleet comes in twice a day with catches of Striped Bass, Bluefish, Mackerel, Tuna, Sharks, Flounder, Fluke and Cod, an exciting break in the bike trip.
Writer and naturalist, Henry David Thoreau, passed through the Cape in 1849, writing detailed descriptions of the lower Cape's treeless solitude. To this day, a barren starkness prevails on the high Nauset dunes, just as Thoreau described it in his journal, Cape Cod. (Click Here for 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.
Bike on the paved trails built where the old railroads once traveled, you can ride your bike in the natural landscapes of Cape Cod
Rail Trails on Cape Cod, Bike Cape Cod Rail Trails, Cape Cod Dune Trails
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 and many other shore and marsh birds soar and flit 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 here even on a summer weekend.
Herring Cove Beach
Herring Cove Beach
Ice cream stop Cape Cod Bike Trail
Nauset Beach, Orleans
The network of bike trails includes Herring Cove Beach on the tip of Cape Cod. Many folks snooze in beach chairs while lazily surf fishing for the lunker Striped Bass that feed along the shore. From the parking lot adjacent to the beach, the bike trail extends into the Provinceland Dunes, connecting with the Beach Forest Trail and The Race Point Bike Trail. Both of these trailheads have large public parking lots.
This unspoiled land changes with the winds that 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.
Johnathan Young Windmill, Orleans
Bike Trails on Outer Cape Cod
Rail Trails Cape Cod
Through the Dunes
Rail Trails on Cape Cod, be it Mountain Bike or Trail Bike, Bike Tour or Self Guided, Bicycling on Cape Cod Rail Trails make biking safe and fun
Rail Trails on Cape Cod
Cape Cod Rail Trails Dune Trails
For those that want to bike to a beach and return to the leisurely childhood beach days of warm water and small waves, two quiet beaches are a little more than a mile from the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Follow Skaket Beach Road in Orleans to the end and find a quarter-mile granular sand beach bordered by rose dunes and American Beach Grass with a carpet of Eelgrass at the tide line. To the right, as you face the ocean, you can find privacy in the grass and dune area near the stream outlet.
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, this one named for the less than cordial first meeting in 1620, between the Pilgrims of Miles Standish and the resident native population: First Encounter Beach.
First Encounter Beach
|Beach Forest Trail and The Race Point Bike Trail.
|Air service reaches Boston from other major hubs and cities. Rental cars are available at the airport. From Boston take Route 93 to Route 3 and after 60 miles, cross the Cape Cod Canal. Continue on Route 6 for all locations on Cape Cod or go to Route 6A for the slower scenic route through the villages. Routes 6 and 6A join in Orleans and go to the tip of Cape Cod.
Several small commuter airlines serve Hyannis Airport and Provincetown Airport on Cape Cod from Boston, Providence, and New Bedford. Cape Air, US Airways Express, and Linear Air (Hanscom Field Bedford Ma)
Bus service is available from Boston and from Logan Airport. Plymouth and Brockton, Logan Direct serves Hyannis
Bonanza Bus Lines serves Bourne, Falmouth, and the Wood's Hole ferry from Logan Airport
Passenger Boats leave daily from Boston to the tip of Cape Cod (May -September) at Provincetown. Bicycles can go aboard.
A fast cat boat and a slower conventional passenger boat make trips from Boston. Bicycles permitted
A passenger boat makes a daily run from Plymouth, MA to Provincetown.
Fifteen large towns and many small villages make up Cape Cod.
Upper Cape: Along the Cape Cod Canal, the towns of Bourne and Sandwich define the northern limit of the upper Cape
Mid Cape includes Barnstable, Yarmouth and Dennis. The mid Cap is where you will find Hyannis Airport
Lower Cape includes Brewster, Harwich , and Chatham.
Outer Cape starts in Orleans and includes Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown.
Rail Trails on Cape Cod are paved bike Rail Trails and Cape Cod Dune Bike Trails built on old rail lines that make trips through the woods and dunes.
The Rail trails make Cape Cod a great place for safe off-road biking and hiking.