Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail
By: Matt Romeo
The Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail is a beautiful hiking trail located at Cape Cod National Seashore. The Cape Cod hiking trail is one of the most unique hikes in all of Massachusetts. The majority of the hike is spent walking on a boardwalk while traversing over an ominous and ancient swamp!
OverviewThis 1.2-mile Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail loop is located at 195 Marconi Station Road. It will take a little less than an hour to complete, depending on the speed of your group. You can reach the hiking trail by following Marconi Road to the end, where it ends in a small loop. There will be a parking lot, restroom, and picnic tables, and the trailhead is easily visible from the parking lot. Be sure to use the facilities before arriving at the trail, as the restrooms are only open on a seasonal basis. The Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail is moderately difficult, which means it shouldn’t be too hard for the seasoned hiker but might be a little challenging for individuals who don’t hike often. There are a few steep hills and stairs on your way down to and back up from the swamp, which unfortunately renders the trail inaccessible to those in wheelchairs or pushing strollers.
The TrailheadAs mentioned in the overview, the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail trailhead is easily viewable from the parking lot. It can be found on the west side of the Marconi Station Site at the very beginning of the parking lot. You will find a couple of signs at the trailhead that is useful. The first signifies that no pets are allowed on this trail. Please leave your pets at home, as you don’t want them to accidentally end up in the swamp. Secondly, a sign acknowledges that this Cape Cod hiking trail is tick-infested. Therefore, we recommend that you wear long pants to avoid taking home any unwanted friends, and be sure to do good a tick check! Finally, there is a box full of trail guides. While this trail is a simple loop, we recommend that you take a trail guide in case you get lost or put off the trail.
The Sandy PathAfter about 50 yards, you will come to the start of the loop, where you can either go left or right. While it does not really matter which way you choose to go, the trail map and trail markers recommend that you go to the left to start. You will quickly notice that the trail is shaded quite nicely and therefore does not get too hot at any point of the day. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time as it will get dark before the actual sunset if you are starting near sunset. The sandy path is quite smooth, which makes for easy walking. As you head further along, you will notice a decline and some steep stairs that may have a little bit of erosion. This means that you have started your descent into the swamp. Make sure to avoid taking the shortcut that heads to the north side of the trail unless you want to skip the actual swamp.
The SwampEventually, you will walk onto a wooden boardwalk with white cedar trees galore. The brown, murky water coupled with the heavy shade will make you feel like you stepped into a scene out of Shrek. It’s quite a fun walk around the swamp with plenty of benches for those who need frequent breaks. Be aware that because there is a lot of standing water, there can be a lot of mosquitoes in the swamp area. Make sure to pack bug spray and keep your skin covered.
Old Wireless Road & Cliffside ViewOnce you get off the boardwalk, you will travel along another sandy path named Old Wireless Road. The walk is straightforward and fairly uneventful, but keep in mind that you will need to climb back up the hill you came down from to get to the swamp. If you have not already, be sure to go to the east side of the Marconi Station Site for a cliffside view of the Atlantic and signage about the environment and history of the site.
Quick Facts about the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp TrailLength: 1.2 Miles Difficulty: Moderate Restrooms: Available Seasonally Pets Allowed: No
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