Take a Ride on the Cape Cod Rail Trail

Posted by Mark Washburn on Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 at 3:03pm


Cape Cod Rail Trail

If you really want to get a taste of what the Cape has to offer, there’s probably no better way to experience it than by taking a ride along the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  Running an impressive 22 miles, the trail winds through the communities of Dennis, Brewster, Harwich, Wellfleet, Orleans and Eastham.  

Once a railroad right-of-way, the former rail line connected Cape Cod with Boston, helping to bring summer visitors to the area.  When vehicle bridges were built in the 1930s, though, passenger service to the region ended.  Still to this day, however, the trail passes by several notable areas of interest, including swimming lakes, picnic spots and famed Nickerson State Park.

Nowadays the rail trail is well paved and perfect for cyclists.  It also doesn’t have many hills and it has well-marked vehicle crossings.  In addition, the Cape Cod Rail Trail services runners, walkers and even horseback riders along the large unpaved shoulder off to one side.  A safe location for adventure seekers of all ages, the rail trail is monitored by police bike patrols on a routine basis.

Other benefits of the trail include the availability of water and food along the way, as well as public restrooms at such stops including the National Seashore Headquarters, Salt Pond Visitors Center and Nickerson State Park.  If you don’t have a bike yourself, you can also rent one at various stops along the way.  In addition, you can also rent rollerblades at some of the bike shops located right along the trail.  Another perk is that you will find free parking if you plan to use the trail at various locations in the mid-Cape area.  You’ll want to check ahead of time, though, because some parking lots do charge a fee.

The start of the trail begins in South Dennis at Route 134.  The trail then winds through an industrial area, before taking riders through residential, agricultural and natural lands.  The trail eventually ends in Wellfleet at Lecount Hollow Road.  Plans are underway to extend the trail by nearly four more miles in the coming years.

If you wish to continue your trail journey now, however, the Cape Cod Rail Trail connects with the old Colony Rail Trail for another six miles.  In addition, there are also an additional eight miles worth of trails available within Nickerson State Park.  A number of short rides can be found on roadways nearby, too, leading to other beaches in the area.

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