Nauset Marsh Trail

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts 02651

Elevation Gain270ft
Trailhead Elevation46ft
Elevation Min/Max3/46ft
Elevation Start/End46/46ft

Nauset Marsh Trail

Nauset Marsh Trail is a hiking trail in Eastham, Massachusetts. It is within Cape Cod National Seashore. It is 1.1 miles long and begins at 46 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 270 feet. The Salt Pond Visitor Center (elevation 7 feet) information office is near the trailhead. There are also restrooms and a museum. Along the trail there are cliffs and a viewpoint. This trail connects with the following: Nauset Trail and Buttonbush Trail.

Nauset Marsh Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"NAUSET MARSH is one of the most beautiful places in Massachusetts for paddling serene, unspoiled, and protected water. Amid abundant bird and marine life, kayakers find sweeping vistas of low islands, narrow blue channels, and high green bluffs.

The area’s beauty more than makes up for its frustrating hydrography. The fall of the tides exposes sandbars and raises wide islands of waving cordgrass, making navigation a challenge in this largely unmarked area. It is very easy to get lost in the maze, and a walk is likely at low tide. Regardless, the rewards of paddling this quiet, special spot far outweigh the difficulties. Attractions: Bird-watching, unspoiled vistas, Cape Cod National Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center and trails."

"The end of Hemenway Road is a great place to start a trip onto the magnificent Nauset Marsh, one of the most sublime natural places on outer Cape Cod and in New England. The marsh extends south from Coast Guard Beach, the start of a 30-mile stretch of wild, protected beach that Henry David Thoreau wrote about in his 1865 classic Cape Cod. The put-in is the province of striped bass fishermen in their modest aluminum skiffs.

The marsh is flushed by a powerful break in the long extension of Nauset Beach, providing at once protection and a thin line of defense against the loud booms of the open Atlantic’s crashing surf. The launch site gives you a magnificent panorama of the marsh and tributaries, along with the Coast Guard station, the white towering red-roofed Victorian building perched high on a sand dune. Back in the nineteenth century when this structure was built, the Coast Guard would use surf boats or fire a line to the ship so a breeches buoy could be used and haul the forlorn and terrified mariners in on buckets."

"When you first dip a paddle into the water of Skiff Hill Creek, the tidal stream that introduces you to Nauset Marsh, your inclination might be to explore every backwater and corner in a single day. But you can find so much to see here you may want to split your Nauset Marsh experience into several days, depending on tide and if you want to spend time on the oceanfront.

This trip is ideal when you embark about an hour to 90 minutes before high tide. Slip into the creek and almost immediately you paddle left into Salt Pond Bay. At the northwest corner of the bay you reach a short connector creek leading to Salt Pond, its northern shoreline running just below the Salt Pond Visitor Center."

"The Cape is constantly changing due to natural forces such as fierce ocean storms and the pounding surf as well as human encroachment and development. Near Wellfleet, the Cape has eroded to only 1 mile wide and, in Provincetown, giant dunes threaten to overtake the highway.

On the Nauset Marsh Trail, which is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, you will witness some of the natural change affecting the Cape as the tides swell and then flush the pond and marsh areas at precise intervals. This is a super walk for young families, just over 1 mile long with a variety of water views. Watch out for poison ivy, which grows rampant on the Cape. Sneakers are fine."

"An easy ride from the Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) or the Salt Pond Visitor Center at Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham. Great for kids and families or anyone else, with great views of Nauset Marsh, Nauset Inlet, and Coast Guard Beach. Lots to do at the Cape Cod National Seashore, with helpful rangers at the Visitor Center, a great place to get orientation to the region.

This is an out-and-back ride and also a connector route from the Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) to the Nauset Trail at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham. The Nauset Trail is a paved bike path maintained by the National Park Service, and was freshly repaved in 2014. The Nauset Trail begins at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in the Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham."

"This gently undulating bike trail begins at the visitor center and terminates at Coast Guard Beach, where a former station still stands. (From the visitor center, you also have quick access to the Cape Cod Rail Trail—located just west of Route 6 near Old Orchard Road—which extends to Eastham on its way to its terminus in South Wellfleet.)

You find plenty to see and do after you’ve reached the beach (swim, explore the beach, watch for birds and passing boats, etc.), but don’t skimp on the ride out to the ocean. With the small and scenic Salt Pond on your right spreading out into spectacular Nauset Marsh, this trip is one of the loveliest on the Cape."

"This is an easy loop with a lot to see. Lighthouses, beaches, and the choice to make a longer trip via the Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT). This ride is a loop, so it can start anywhere along its course, with parking at Doane Rock Picnic Area (mile 0.9), the Nauset Light Beach parking lot (fee required in season), along Cable Road by the Three Sisters lighthouses (a few spaces), Nauset Regional High School (not during school hours), or at the start of this ride, the Salt Pond Visitor Center (free parking), just off Route 6 in Eastham on Nauset Road.

Starting at the visitor center, this ride parallels the Nauset Trail for 1.5 miles on Nauset Road, and then Doane Road at mile 0.5. There is the option to ride the Nauset Trail, but riding the roads avoids pedestrians and other users of the multi-use trail, where speeds have to be slower."

"This hike is a good introduction to a pair of natural habitats that define Cape Cod: tidal marshlands and the beaches that stand between them and the open ocean. Most people think of ocean swims and suntans on the beach when they conjure up a vacation on the Cape, but as this trip shows, you can find a lot more to enjoy and experience—and still have plenty of time to hit the surf.

The Salt Pond Visitor Center provides plenty of information for all ages, including films and videos, discussions, lectures, and presentations, but we recommend saving indoors for the end of your trip. Right now, head out behind the main building to the outdoor amphitheater that sits just above the upper reaches of Nauset Marsh. Stay to the right of the amphitheater stage and look for signs to the marsh trail."

Nauset Marsh Trail Reviews

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I recently explored Nauset Marsh, and wrote up a review (with images from the hike) on my website:
Kayaked from Orleans town landing (limited parking) to marsh and back. Nice sandy bottom in marsh with a feeling of isolation. We stopped at Hopkins Island in the Orleans cover for a quick picnic and a nice swim on the way back.

Nauset Marsh Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Cape Cod National Seashore
Nearby City
Cape Cod National Seashore
270 feet
Elevation Loss
Cape Cod National Seashore
Local Contacts
Arrow Street Atlas: Cape Cod including Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket, p. 45
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018