Home of walking trails, Cape Cod is where you get the best scenic views while taking a walk on pathways cutting across the peninsula.
The best scenic walks in Cape Cod are the Great Island Trail, Long Point Lighthouse Trail, Cape Cod Rail Trail, Morris Island, Nauset Marsh, and the Bridge Creek Conservation Area. Characterized by its exquisite scenery, cranberry bogs, sea views, forests, and dunes, Cape Cod is the best place to have scenic views while on a walk.
If you plan to take a walk in Cape Cod anytime soon, here are 10 of the best trails you should consider.
Great Island Trail
One of the most extended walks at 8 miles, the Great Island Trail is located in Wellfleet. The walk can last for about 4 hours, and it’s best suited for adults.
It has one of the best hikes – it opens up from the woods cutting across sandy dunes. The best time to visit is from April till September.
Your walk will start at the Great Island parking lot off Chequessett Neck Road. This road leads to where the Herring River flows into the Wellfleet Harbor.
Along the way, you’ll go through “The Gut”: an isolated and quiet stretch of beach that leads to the bayside of Wellfleet. It is the perfect spot for finding some seashells and doing some fishing.
If you think you can’t complete the entire 8-mile trek, there are several options you can explore.
For example, you can reduce your walk by taking the hike to the tavern site. It’s 1.8-mile long. Another option is walking 2.4-mile long to Great Beach Hill.
To have a complete experience, make sure you pick up a trail guide at the brochure box you’ll find at the trailhead. The guide contains the history of the area and a rudimentary map.
On a round trip, the trail ends at the Jeremy Point Overlook.
Things to see on the Great Island Trail
There are many points of attraction on this trail. Still, the most popular are Jeremy Point Overlook, Jeremy Point, Great Beach Hill, and Great Island Tavern Site.
You also enjoy the views of the Wellfleet Harbor, grassy plains, Cape Cod Bay, dunes, and the Herring River.
So, when you’re packing your bags, don’t forget your camera to get some of the best shots in Cape Cod.
Child’s River Conservation Area
At 1.2 miles in length, the Child’s River Conservation Area is located at Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge. It’s 90 minutes’ walk available to all ages, including children.
Your walk starts by taking a left onto Brown’s Rd. From then on, you’ll experience the peacefulness of the area.
Things to see on the Child’s River Conservation Area
The walk takes you through the flowing water in the protected Waquoit Bay. Formerly used for harvesting cranberries, the trail is home to native plants like cattails.
If you would like to have a tour guide, the Mashpee Conservation Department offers narrative tours occasionally. So, remember to check out with them before setting out.
Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail
At 1.1 miles in length, the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp trail is one of the shortest trails. The track is located near South Wellfleet. It has some steep stairs, which could make it difficult for some people.
You can visit all year long but some of the best time is between April and October.
For hikers only, the trail starts at 195 Marconi Station Road. The trailhead is on the west side of the parking area.
Things to see on the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail
The trail goes through a forest. On your way, you’ll see the white cedar trees that gave the swamp its name. They are the trees with barks looking like someone raked through them.
Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail trail is 22-mile long, and it takes about 8 hours to walk. It is located in Brewster.
The path is flat, making it easy to navigate. It is open all year long and suitable for people of all ages.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail extends from South Yarmouth to Lecount Hollow Road in South Wellfleet. It starts from Dennis, taking you through the forest, marshes, and cranberry bogs.
The journey ends at Wellfleet.
Things to see in the Cape Cod Rail Trail
Connecting several towns between Dennis and Wellfleet, this trail takes you through oceanside villages and some of Cape Cod’s best beaches.
You will enjoy the calmness of the state forest land and cranberry bogs.
Long Point Lighthouse
At 5.5 miles, the Long Point Lighthouse trail takes approximately 3 hours to walk. It is located at the tip of the Cape in Provincetown.
It is suitable for all age groups and makes for a perfect summer outing. The difficulty level is rated moderate.
The walk starts from the First Landing Pilgrim Park. Then, moving along the waters, you’re treated with breathtaking beach grass and sea views.
A round trip takes you back to the First Landing Park.
Things to see in the Long Point Lighthouse
You will catch some of the finest views of the Atlantic Ocean on this trail. It is also one of the best places to view the Provincetown harbor from a distance.
From fishes below to birds above, you’ll see some of Cape Cod’s unbeatable wildlife. Along with the small pools of water at the causeway, you’ll find starfish, watch seals swim, and other sea creatures.
Another fascinating feature on this trail you don’t want to miss is the Long Point Lighthouse. It is a historic site. While you can’t get inside the lighthouse, you get to have a close look at the exterior.
Located in Chatham, Morris Island is a 7000 acres preservation area with water and barrier islands. There’s a 1-mile trail, easy to navigate, and fit for all age groups.
You’ll start from the Visitor Center of The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, then take the trail through the forest. You will pass through dunes, beaches, and saltmarshes.
Things to see in Morris Island
The highlight is that you’ll catch a glimpse of some wildlife and plants: horseshoe crabs, seagrass, migratory shorebirds, and wildflowers.
Along the route, you’ll see many trail markers and informational plaques. At the nature center, make sure to view the different marine species and the exhibits at the coastal ecology of the Outer Cape.
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary walk is 3.5 miles long. The walk is approximately 2 hours situated on the State Highway, Route 6, South Wellfleet.
It’s a family-friendly location with an easy trail.
Before starting your walk, do a quick stop at the Nature Center to see the wildlife on display. Take off from the Bay View Trail. Find your way to the Goose Pond and drift through pitch pines and oaks.
Things to see in The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
You can visit the wildlife garden and experience the beauty of nature. Explore the tidal flats, salt marsh, woodlands, and grasslands.
There are a couple of family-friendly activities and educational programs. Also, look out for bird species, especially the sanctuary’s trademark bird, the whimbrel.
Nauset Marsh is a 1.3-mile loop with an additional 1.5-mile spur to Coast Beach. It’s a one-hour easy walk that you’ll find adjacent to the Salt Pond Visitor Center theater.
The trail begins at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham and ends at the Coast Guard Beach.
Things to see in Nauset Marsh
Once home to the Nauset Indian tribe and early Cape Codders, the trail provides an all-inclusive view of the Atlantic Ocean.
You’ll find the old Coast Guard Station overlooking the Coast Guard Beach when you walk up the hill.
While this is an easy walk, there is hilly terrain in the wooded area of the trail. But you will find two benches where you can take a break and relish the vista.
The Lawrence Island trail is 2 miles long, and it is one of the most accessible trails to walk. You can complete it in 30-45 minutes. It is situated in between Squeteague and Megansett harbors in the Bourne village of Cataumet.
It’s an easy walk accessible to people of all ages.
The trail begins at the end of Grassland Lane. It’s a short trail covered with sand that encloses Lawrence Island.
Things to see in Lawrence Island
On your journey, you will walk through private, crossing a few board bridges. You will see the magnificent views of Buzzards Bay, Megansett Harbor, and Squeteague.
Creatures such as foxes, seabirds, mink, hawks, and ospreys inhabit the area. In the marsh grasses, look out for crabs scurrying around.
One place you don’t want to miss is the piece of undeveloped shoreline. You will also come across a tidal pool close to the oceans. It’s a fantastic sight.
Finally, there is a hidden gem you’ll love to see. It’s The Baxendale Mausoleum on Amrita Island. There is an intriguing story behind it; make sure you check it out.
Here’s the Lawrence Island map.
Bridge Creek Conservation Area
The Bridge Creek Conservation Area at West Barnstable is a 246-acre property with 2.5 miles of trails open to the public. The trails are among the most accessible to walk and last for about 3 hours.
It’s a good fit for all hiking skill levels.
Start your walk at the West Barnstable. This is where you will find the most enormous, uprooted tree in Cape Cod.
You’ll enjoy the views of the beautiful wildflowers, shrubs, and native trees. The walk takes you through marshes and the forest.
Boardwalks and bridges help you cross wet areas as they can get muddy. The trails are beautiful but can be confusing. It’s best to go with a trail map.
And the Summary is…
If you’re craving an activity that will give you some of the best scenic views in Cape Cod, a walk is your best bet.
The best scenic walks in Cape Cod are Great Island Trail, Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail, Cape Cod Rail trail, Nauset Marsh, and Long Point Lighthouse trail.
Other walks in Cape Cod are in the Child’s River Conservation Area, Morris Island, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Lawrence Island, and the Bridge Creek Conservation Area.
You’ll have a great time exploring the forest trails, the cranberry bog, and the exciting views of the Atlantic Ocean.