Hiking on Cape Cod
Beautiful beaches. Sweeping vistas. Boating. Biking. Golf. Cape Cod is known for a lot of fun outdoor activities, but one that often gets overlooked is that these 65 miles of terrain have a LOT of scenic hiking trails for every ability level.
From flat, paved, accessible walkways to challenging deep-woods scrambles, you only have to know where to look to find an outdoor adventure waiting.
With preservation a longtime goal of many Cape Cod communities, countless local groups have lobbied over the years to preserve large swaths of the Cape, to the degree that over one-third of Cape Cod is wild, preserved, or managed for conservation. Here are some of our favorite local walks and hikes for every skill level.
Please note: Some trails border private property. Help us be good stewards of this special place by respecting signs or fences indicating private land.
A Wicked Local Tip: Technically not a “hike” but just a very short walk, hidden in the woods off of Route 6A in Dennis is the historic Nobscussett Tribe Burial Ground. A walk through the path will take you to the final resting place of the first Native Americans to meet the Pilgrims. The entrance is quite easy to miss since it’s little more than a break in a hedge on the side of Route 6A. Look for Osprey Rd. and you’re close!
Our Top Picks for Hiking on Cape Cod
- Bud Carter Conservation Area
The trail features the highest point in Yarmouth and has scenic vistas and many smaller trails in the 300-acre parcel.
- Callery-Darling Conservation Area
Get (not too) lost in trails and abandoned cranberry bogs. Connects to easy access to the popular Bass Hole Boardwalk.
- Crab Creek Conservation Area
If you’re feeling crabby after a long day, this may be the place for you: the trail borders Crab Creek, a favorite local spot to catch blue crabs (which you can do by hand net without a permit as long as they’re a minimum size of five inches across).
- Horse Pond Conservation Area
These trails are located within a 400-acre tract of town land. The main trail winds along the edge of Horse Pond and connects to other trails.
- Sandy Pond Conservation Area
Roughly 12 acres in areas, Sandy Pond is a kettle pond with steep banks and a trail leading around the entire pond.
- Historical Society of Old Yarmouth Nature Trail
Just off historic Route 6A, the HSOY lands feature over 50 acres of easy walking trails with abundant wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Crowes Pasture
Crowe’s Pasture is full of beautiful dirt roads, woods, meadows, and marshes, and winds along the shore of Cape Cod Bay.
- Punkhorn Parklands
This massive 835-acre area in Brewster is one of the largest and most ecologically significant protected areas on Cape Cod and has a number of large kettle ponds.
- Nickerson State Park
1,900-acre Nickerson State Park in Brewster has plenty of wooded trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback and mountain bike riding, and an 8-mile (13 km) set of bicycle trails that connect to the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
- Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
This family-friendly spot has in-depth exhibits about native wildlife, miles of trails to explore, and a boardwalk that leads to a sandy stretch on Cape Cod Bay.
- Sandy Neck Recreation Area
Sandy Neck is one of the largest barrier beaches and salt marsh complexes in Massachusetts and includes a maritime forest, wetlands, and extensive dunes.
- Fort Hill Trail
This scenic one-mile loop in Eastham is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore network of trails, is easily walkable and affords a sweeping panoramic ocean view. Trails connect with the Red Maple Swamp Trail and are a great location for birdwatching.
- The Cape Cod Rail Trail
This extensive trail is a former railroad bed that begins in Dennis and stretches through several Cape towns, including a recently-completed stretch through Yarmouth that is close to Blue Rock Resort.
Check out this round-up for a comprehensive list of hikes and walks all around the Cape.