Cape Cod National Seashore - Great Island Trail

Wellfleet, Massachusetts 02667

Cape Cod National Seashore - Great Island Trail

Cape Cod National Seashore - Great Island Trail Professional Review and Guide

"This hike, one of the best on Cape Cod, explores the dunes, salt marshes, and upland forests on Griffin Island, Great Island, and Great Beach Hill, all part of Cape Cod National Seashore. Great Island, Great Beach Hill, and a protruding sand spit called Jeremy Point form the boundary between Wellfleet Harbor and Cape Cod Bay.

The area contains one of the longest continuous expanses of undeveloped beach on the Cape, and abounds in native plants and birds. Save this walk for a cool day, bring plenty of water, and be prepared to slog through stretches of soft sand and piles of matted marsh grass. Note: Parts of the route may be flooded by high tides; parts of Jeremy Point are submerged at high tide."

Cape Cod National Seashore - Great Island Trail Reviews

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This trail has beautiful scenery and provides some historic information. You walk across a variety of different surfaces-beach sand, marsh hay, pine needles. I would suggest hiking shoes/boots. I wore sneakers and the sand slipped inside the sneaker quite easily. Also-hike early morning. We hiked late morning as the sun was getting high in the sky and temps were climbing. It wasn't bad when there was a breeze; but there were quite a few places of dead air. We crossed Great Island and then turned back. Hopefully next time we will hike earlier and beat the sun and heat. Please-stay on the designated trails. Don't make your own trails-you will be damaging the eco-system of that area. And please don't leave any garbage behind.
This trail has improved markedly over the Summer. I was so upset with its condition this Spring that I wrote to the head Ranger. The trail has been cleaned up dramatically in the past months. Feet-thick mats of salt-marsh hay and tall drifts of sand that made the trail almost impassable have ben cleaned up. The problem mainly is that the trail is submerged at highest tides, especially the parts between trail head and Great Island and betwen it and Great Beach Island, and all kinds of flotsam drift in, especially the hay. When you go, be sure you time your visit to coincide with low tide as closely as possible. If you time it right, you can hike all the way out to the tip of Jeremy Point, where you may surprise a large group of molting seals. Sneak up quietly if you go, and you may not scare them off. This is a great hike when the conditions are right and I hope that the NPS can find the funds to keep the trail open. Please stay off the dunes except where the passage is marked. Ammophila salicorna, beach grass, is fragile and slow growing. Please give it a chance to stabilize the barrier. I encountered at least a hundred dead Common Eiders this time, part of the disturbingly annual die-off, largely due, it seems, to scarcity of food plus infestation with the parasitic 'spiny-headed worm' in the GI system.

Cape Cod National Seashore - Great Island Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
3-5 hours
Cape Cod National Seashore
Local Contacts
USGS Wellfleet
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018