8 of the most effective hikes in Cape Cod, and prime tricks to take advantage of your time on the paths

Whereas lengthy walks on Cape Cod seashores are a factor for a cause, inland mountaineering trails provide perception into the Cape’s various ecology together with marshes, forests and freshwater ponds. 

Most Cape Cod hikes are usually on the brief aspect in comparison with trails in different components of the nation, however rewards embody wildlife views and solitude even in the course of the summer season excessive season. Listed here are eight of our favourite hikes all through Cape Cod.

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Cliff Pond Loop, Brewster: greatest hike with canine 

3.2 miles/5.2 km roundtrip, 2 hours

Glaciers that carved the Cape some 15,000 years in the past melted to type massive inland freshwater ponds referred to as kettle ponds, and among the greatest examples of those are discovered at Nickerson State Park. 

At 204 acres, Cliff Pond is the most important pond throughout the park, and the Cliff Pond Loop edges alongside its pine and oak-forested banks. The path opens to a number of secluded sandy seashores the place swimming and fishing are permitted. 

Wildlife generally seen embody jap painted turtles, foxes and herons. Cliff Pond Loop may be added to Little Cliff Pond Path to make an extended figure-of-eight route. Leashed canine are allowed on park trails.

Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Path is a brief loop by means of woodland © Barry Winiker / Getty Photos

Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Path, Wellfleet: greatest forest hike 

1.2 miles/1.9 km loop, 1 hour

Positioned inside Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore, the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail presents a forested distinction to the close by open seaside views. This loop path drops into shaded pine and oak woods with a carpeted flooring of moss and is notable for its grove of endangered Atlantic white cedars. 

A plank boardwalk permits hikers to journey by means of the swamp ecosystem residence to a number of species of birds, together with owls and woodpeckers, making it common with birders and botanists.

The trailhead begins on the Marconi Wi-fi Station parking zone, with restrooms and picnic tables. A lot of the path is degree and accessible, however a couple of steps right down to the boardwalk can hamper wheelchairs. Pets will not be allowed on the path; put on lengthy pants to keep away from contact with poison ivy and ticks.

Morris Island Path, Chatham: greatest hike for seeing wildlife  

1.6 miles/2.5 km loop, 1 hour

This loop path begins on the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge customer middle, the place visitors can find out about horseshoe crabs, diamondback terrapins, seals and bugs – very important to the Cape’s ecology. 

Morris Island Path’s sandy, pine-lined path leads by means of seaside plum shrubs to the seaside, the place plovers and pipers are generally seen (and the rationale pets will not be permitted on the path throughout nesting season). Hike at low tide as components of the route are submerged at excessive tide. 

The path loops inland previous ponds and marsh grass meadows affording glimpses of red-wing blackbirds, dragonflies and different inner-coastal critters earlier than returning to the customer middle parking zone.

A dilapidated wooden shack surrounded by sand dunes
The historic shacks on the path are nonetheless utilized by artists as we speak © Halee Burg / Shutterstock

Dune Shacks Path, Provincetown: greatest historic hike 

2 miles/3.2 km roundtrip, 3 hours

A part of Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore, the Dune Shacks Path begins from a parking space on the Route 6 and Snail Highway intersection. The path travels by means of a brief part of woods earlier than opening to steep sand dunes and ultimately the seaside.

Cresting the dunes gives sweeping, dramatic views of this distant stretch of Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore beneath. Pets will not be allowed on this path.

Its namesake dune shacks are a part of the Dune Shacks of the Peaked Hills Historic District. Initially constructed within the 1860s as life-saving stations for shipwrecked sailors, the shacks had been written about by Henry David Thoreau in his 1865 e book, Cape Cod. These quiet, distant shacks grew to become the summer season studios of writers and artists together with Jack Kerouac, E.E. Cummings, Norman Mailer, Eugene O’Neill and Jackson Pollock. 

The straightforward shacks haven’t any plumbing or electrical energy and are nonetheless utilized by artists who apply by way of lotteries to remain and work in them. Hikers might view these 19 historic cabins however are requested to not enter them or the grounds to respect the occupants’ privateness.

Sea Farms Marsh Path, Falmouth: greatest hike for birdwatching 

1.2 miles/1.9 km roundtrip, 1 hour

Sea Farms Marsh Trail travels by means of 87 acres of marsh and woodlands preserved from improvement alongside 2-mile-long Bourne’s Pond and Israel’s Cove. Maintain an eye fixed out for foxes, blue heron, osprey, marsh hawks and diamondback terrapins.

Benches look out to picturesque coves and make good spots for observing the various species of birds that decision this space residence. Bourne’s Pond is common for swimming, kayaking and fishing, and an inlet opens it to the ocean and Menauhant Seashore.

A woman hikes through a coastal area surrounded by grass-topped sand dunes
Be ready for ticks, poison ivy, and different hazards on the paths © Ajax9 / Shutterstock

Inexperienced Briar Nature Middle and Jam Kitchen: greatest hike with youngsters

2 miles/3.2 km roundtrip, 1.5 hours

As soon as the house of kids’s books writer and conservationist Thornton Burgess, these grounds now include the Inexperienced Briar Nature Middle. The strolling paths meander by means of gardens, wildflower plots and guarded land, together with Smiling Pool pond and the briar patch featured in a lot of Burgess’ Peter Rabbit tales.  

After meandering the paths by means of the conservation space’s 57-acres, go to the historic Green Briar Jam Kitchen. Began in 1903 by Ida Putnam, the kitchen is now a residing museum the place guests can study the method of conventional jamming and should purchase fruit jams made onsite.

Menemsha Hills Reservation Path, Martha’s Winery: greatest hike for views

3.7 miles/6 km roundtrip, 2 hours

One of many Cape’s longest and most various hikes, Menemsha Hills Reservation Trail travels by means of wetlands, forest groves, coastal plains and steep cliffs earlier than topping Prospect Hill, the second-highest level on Martha’s Winery. 

At a whopping 308ft above sea degree, Menemsha Hills provide dramatic views of Menemsha harbor, the Elizabeth Islands and Homosexual Head Lighthouse. Leashed canine are permitted.

Sandy Neck Nature Path, Barnstable: greatest hike for tenting 

2 miles/2.5 km roundtrip, 1.5 hours

The Sandy Neck Nature Trail explores the dunes, marshes and intertidal zones behind Sandy Neck Seashore that faces north to Cape Cod Bay.

From the ranger station, the Marsh Path travels east for about 1.6 miles behind the dunes by means of the marsh zone the place brackish water is residence to garter snakes, diamondback terrapins and field turtles, tree swallows and red-winged blackbirds. The Marsh Path then connects with a 0.4-mile-long Path #1 that heads north to the seaside.

Leashed canine are permitted on the Sandy Neck Nature Path, and restricted free parking is on the market. Sandy Neck Seashore is six miles lengthy, and off-highway automobiles are permitted on the seaside. 

Tent tenting can also be obtainable within the oak forest close to the seaside at established websites. This space is a good mountaineering and tenting vacation spot with seaside entry and starry evening skies over Cape Cod Bay.

Suggestions for mountaineering Cape Cod

  • Ticks is usually a drawback when mountaineering by means of grassy areas. Verify your self and youngsters continuously for ticks, particularly on the tops of socks, waistlines and scalps. Don’t neglect to verify canine, particularly across the collar and ears.
  • Poison ivy can be current. Keep on designated trails to keep away from coming involved with this three-leaved nuisance. 
  • Deer flies, mosquitoes, and biting gnats referred to as “no-see ums” may be a difficulty. Use bug repellent, particularly in marshy areas.
  • Many Cape trails don’t have restrooms or ingesting water, so ensure to be ready earlier than setting off.
  • Many public areas on the Cape prohibit canine for durations as a consequence of chook nesting websites. Be sure you know guidelines concerning pets on the path beforehand. Canines should at all times be leashed on public land. Carry plastic baggage to pack out waste.