Cape Cod Rail Trail

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Distance21.8mi
Elevation Gain13ft
Trailhead Elevation9ft
Top22ft
Elevation Min/Max9/22ft
Elevation Start/End9/9ft

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Cape Cod Rail Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. It is within Cape Cod Rail Trail, Nickerson State Park, and Cape Cod National Seashore. It is 21.8 miles long and begins at 9 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 13 feet. Cape Cod Rail Trail and another parking are near the trailhead. There is also an information office. Hofe Property, Cape Cod Rail Trail, Cape Cod Rail Trail, Snows Home & Garden Cr, Cape Cod Rail Trail, Cape Cod Rail Trail, Thad Ellis Natural Heritage Area, Pond Oaks, Cape Cod Rail Trail, Cape Cod Rail Trail, Cape Cod Rail Trail, Snows Home & Garden Cr, Cape Cod Rail Trail, and another conservation, the Brewster State Forest forest, CCRT Dirt Lot, Nickerson State Park, and other parkings, the Contact Station information office, the Seymoor pond beach beach, and the CCRT 20 Mile information guidepost can be seen along the trail. There are also wetlands, restroom, an information board, wetlands, a viewpoint, and cliffs along the trail. The trail ends near the Cape Cod Rail Trail conservation. This trail connects with the following: Ober Road, Island Loop Trail, Rail Trail Access, Cap Cod National Seashore Trail and Ccrt Access.

Cape Cod Rail Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Bike Rides Cape Cod and the Islands (Falcon Guides)
Dr. Gregory Wright
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"This beautiful ride begins at Nickerson State Park in Brewster and turns around in Wellfleet, and can be combined with Ride 17 to complete the length of the 22-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 44-mile round trip from South Dennis. Rides 19-22 all start from points along the CCRT or Nickerson State Park in Brewster, and Rides 27-30 and 32 from points along the CCRT in Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet." Read more
Discover Cape Cod (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Michael O'Connor
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"The paved pathway follows the former Old Colony rail bed for almost 25 miles, from South Dennis through Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, and Eastham, terminating in South Wellfleet. The Old Colony line eventually became part of the New York and New Haven railroad, which once carried passengers and freight through much of the Northeast. By 1848, the line had reached Sandwich and six years later had extended mid-Cape, to Hyannis. The line had extended as far as Orleans by 1861, but its progress was delayed by the onslaught of the Civil War. After the war, the railroad quickly reached Wellfleet (1870) and its terminus in Provincetown (1872). The line remained active well into the twentieth century, until the growing popularity of automobiles and the development of the federal highway system spelled its doom." Read more
Best Rail Trails New England (Falcon Guides)
Cynthia Mascott
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"Among the most scenic recreation trails in Massachusetts and a favorite with cyclists and day hikers, the Cape Cod Trail provides access to beaches, freshwater ponds, cranberry bogs and wild wetlands, quiet villages, and some of the best bird-watching in the state. Anglers may want to try their luck on North Pond, where bass and panfish can be caught from shore." Read more
Best Bike Rides Cape Cod and the Islands (Falcon Guides)
Dr. Gregory Wright
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"The Cape Cod Rail Trail runs a total of 22 miles from South Dennis to Wellfleet. This ride takes you only as far as Nickerson State Park in Brewster and back. It’s a beautiful paved path past cranberry bogs, estuary, and kettle ponds and through forest, without having to deal with vehicle traffic, except at the many crosswalks. It can be combined with Ride 18 to Wellfleet, or Ride 23 to Chatham via the Harwich Bike Rotary on the Old Colony Rail Trail. This is a great ride for children and families, fairly flat with only gradual climbs and descents." Read more
"This trip includes a bit of everything. You pedal through classic mid-Cape terrain of woods and wetlands. You pass a pond and then enter Nickerson State Park; at almost 2,000 acres it is one of the largest open spaces on the Cape. (It’s even more impressive when you realize the state park is a former family estate!) Beyond Nickerson State Park, the rail trail soon enters Orleans, which features a fairly large “downtown,” where Routes 6A and 28 converge. By contrast, Orleans is also home to Nauset Beach, a spectacular, 7.0-mile sand barrier (the southern tip is part of Chatham) that is both a popular sun and fun destination and a semi-wild refuge drawing hikers, birders, and other nature lovers." Read more

Cape Cod Rail Trail Reviews

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6/30/2018
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7/10/2010
Very nice trail. Paved from end to end! Lots of stopping points to either take in the sights, or have a bite to eat! I would recommend it is a nice easy trail for a pleasurable ride!
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9/19/2009
Fairly level, great views, well marked and in very good shape. We went from end to end. Trail is 24 miles each way. At north end, exit and go right to beach. ½ mile each way, the beach is a great place to see the ocean. Bring a camera for the great scenes. We used iPhone compass/Map feature to track were we where and it was a good help though I don't really understand how you would get lost. We wanted to do full trail in one day so we did not venture off trail into towns so cannot comment how that would be. We hit trail around 10am and completed 51 miles by 6pm with some modest stops for pictures, quick rest and lunch at Arnold's (Zagat rated fast food with high ratings and by the trail with bath rooms) Great Lobster. We highly recommend doing this trail. We had a very cool but clear day in fall. Based on the traffic, I can imagine that during summer, trail can be packed.
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7/17/2009
Just spent a week at the Cape and rode round trip full length everyday for the exercise. Took me three plus hours to cover the 44 or so miles with water breaks. A very nice trail in good condition overall. I rode the newer Harwich-Chatham part and did not like it as much. It crosses lots of driveways and roads so is much slower and rougher. I recommend extending the ride beyond the Wellfleet end. If you take a right turn and keep going on the road for about a half-mile you will come to a beautiful ocean overlook. The road is a little rougher than the trail, but not bad. If you keep on this road you will eventually get to Provincetown area with only a little part on the highway. It winds but will get you there. Also, strongly recommend lunch at Arnold's. It is crowded at lunchtime, but not bad after 2:00. Try their onion rings !!
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8/27/2008
It was a wonderful experience butit was not as long as the site says i have a cyclocomputer and i started in denis and clocked it all the way to the end and it showed up as only 23 miles. other than the short lenghth of the trail.
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7/20/2008
My wife and I have done this trail quite a few time. We do the American Lung Ride also along this path. We do this ride many tine to train for the 168 Ameican Lung and find it very scenic.
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7/15/2006
Very Good Biking Trail. Half of this trail has new pavement and the other half is scheduled to be repaved in the Fall of 2006. Very good parking at different points along the trail.
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6/21/2006
Rode the entire trail length while on the cape for 2 days. Very easy to access, well marked intersections, nice rolling surface. The hills were minimal. Beach access here and there made for enjoyable side trips.
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11/21/2005
THIS IS OUR SECOND TRIP ON THE RAIL TRAIL TO COMPLETE THE 50 MILES NEEDED FOR A BOY SCOUT MERIT BADGE. TO OUR DISMAY, SOME OF THE TRAIL (SO.DENNIS TO NICKERSON) WAS CLOSED FOR CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR. OUR BOYS HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO RIDE IT IN ONE DIRECTION, WHICH WAS NOT MET WITH MUCH UNDERSTANDING FROM THE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS. AFTER FINISHING THE 25 IN ONE DIRECTION THEY HEADED BACK, BUT WHEN THEY REACHED NICKERSON THEY DOUBLED BACK AGAIN TO MAKE UP THEIR 50 MILES.
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8/3/2003
I am a mountain biker and I even appreciate this trail. This trail is easily accessed by many towns of Cape Cod. I enter it ussually in Orleans and I love it because it takes me places, it gives me a workout and I can go there with anyone, I have gone with people from ages from 3 to 70 and they all love it. I have seen very professional looking road bikers on this trial as well. When you take this trail you are on a safe paved path that is very wide and only for bikers and walkers which is awesome! Another thing I like about this trial is occasionally you will hit seafood shacks, beaches, and other surprises.
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Cape Cod Rail Trail Photos

Trail Information

Cape Cod National Seashore
Nearby City
Nickerson State Park
Parks
Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Accessibility
Swimming, Skating
Additional Use
Arrow Street Atlas: Cape Cod including Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket, p. 30
Local Maps