Top 10 Scenic Hiking Trails On Cape Cod

Top 10 Scenic Hiking Trails On Cape Cod

While Cape Cod is renowned for its beautiful beaches, it also offers a hidden gem of scenic hiking trails perfect for exploring. These trails cater to all types of travelers, whether you’re seeking a peaceful stroll or an adventurous hike. Unlike the beaches, the trails on Cape Cod showcase a diverse range of landscapes. From towering dunes that transport you to another world to serene salt marshes filled with abundant birdlife, and stunning coastlines that seem to stretch endlessly. Book your stay at one of the many vacation rental properties on Cape Cod and discover these amazing trails for yourself!

This post guides you to the best and most scenic hiking trails on Cape Cod. We’ve compiled a list of 10 trails that offer the absolute best views, allowing you to experience the unique beauty of the Cape Cod peninsula beyond the shores.

Here are the top 10 scenic hiking trails on Cape Cod!

1. Great Island Trail (Wellfleet)

The Great Island Trail in Wellfleet is a moderate 4-mile loop trail that takes you through diverse landscapes, including woodlands, dunes, and a barrier beach. This trail offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, making it a favorite for locals and visitors. The changing terrain makes the hike enjoyable, and the expansive ocean views are breathtaking.

Great Island Trail (Wellfleet)


Parking For The Great Island Trail

Parking for this Cape Cod walking trail is free year-round and can be found along Chequessett Neck Road. Just type “Great Island Trail” into Google Maps or your GPS, and you’ll see a small parking area along the road. If that’s full, look for the brown Great Island Trail sign and turn down the small street to another parking area.

2. Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail (Eastham)

The Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail in Eastham is a 1.2-mile loop trail that winds through a mystical swamp filled with ancient Atlantic white cedar trees. This trail creates an otherworldly atmosphere that feels like stepping into another realm. The boardwalks and well-maintained paths make it an easy and enjoyable walk, perfect for nature lovers and photographers.

Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail (Eastham)


Parking For The Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail 

You can easily find the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail parking lot on Google Maps by typing “Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail.” The good news is that parking is free year-round at this lot.

3. Sand Dune Trail (Provincetown)

For a truly unique experience, hike the Dune Shacks Trail in Provincetown. Imagine walking through towering dunes up to 70-80 feet high. It’s like stepping onto another planet! The trail starts with a steep climb, and you’re immediately rewarded with breathtaking views of endless dunes. Along the way, you’ll pass historic dune shacks used by artists seeking inspiration. In the end, you’ll find stunning views of the Atlantic, and you can swim if you like.

Sand Dune Trail (Provincetown)


This trail can be challenging because you walk in soft, dry sand the entire time. Most people manage okay, but you might need to take it slow. Navigation is straightforward— follow the footprints in the sand. If you feel lost, keep heading straight.

Parking For The Dune Shacks Trail

Parking is limited at the trailhead, so most people park along Route 6—type “Dune Shacks Trail” into Google Maps, which will guide you there.

4. Nauset Marsh Trail (Eastham)

The Nauset Marsh Trail in Eastham is an easy 2-mile trail offering a peaceful walk along freshwater marshes teeming with birdlife. This trail is perfect for a nature observation session, where you can spot various bird species and enjoy the tranquility of the marsh environment. The well-marked paths make it accessible for all ages and fitness levels.

Nauset Marsh Trail (Eastham)


Parking For The Nauset Marsh Trail

The trailhead starts at Eastham’s Salt Pond Visitor Center [National Park Service (.gov)]. There’s a parking lot at the visitor center, but it can fill up during peak season. Consider arriving early or using alternative transportation if possible.

5. Red Maple Swamp Trail And Fort Hill Loop (Orleans)

The Red Maple Swamp Trail and Fort Hill Loop in Orleans is an easy 1.5-mile loop trail that combines a serene walk through a red maple swamp with a climb to Fort Hill. The climb rewards you with spectacular views of Pleasant Bay, making it a perfect spot for photography and birdwatching.

Red Maple Swamp Trail And Fort Hill Loop (Orleans)


Parking For The Red Maple Swamp Trail & Fort Hill Trail

There are two parking options:

  • Penniman House Parking Lot – This is the smaller parking lot closer to the trailhead.
  • Fort Hill Parking Lot offers more parking spaces but is further from the trailhead.

6. Beech Forest (Provincetown)

Located in Provincetown, the Beech Forest trail is a tranquil 1-mile trek through a serene beech forest. Perfect for vacationers staying in Cape Cod summer rentals, this shaded trail provides a refreshing escape from the heat and an opportunity to explore a distinctive coastal ecosystem. Immerse yourself in the calming atmosphere created by the dense canopy of beech trees as you take a leisurely stroll through this picturesque setting.

Beech Forest (Provincetown)


Parking For The Beech Forest

Parking is available at the trailhead. The lot can fill up during peak season, so arrive early or consider alternative transportation.

7. Long Point Lighthouse Trail (Provincetown)

The Long Point Lighthouse Trail in Provincetown is a moderate 2-mile trail that leads to the historic Long Point Lighthouse. This trail provides stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding beaches. The lighthouse is a beautiful and historic landmark, making the hike scenic and culturally enriching.

Long Point Lighthouse Trail (Provincetown)


Parking On The Long Point Lighthouse Trail

Free parking is available year-round at the Provincetown Causeway [Walking Across the Provincetown Causeway | Vacation Cape Cod]. This includes spots along the rotary and the road itself.

Important Note: During peak summer months, these spots fill up quickly. However, there is a high turnover rate because many people park for short photo ops of the causeway. Be patient and circle the area if the lot is entire upon arrival.

8. Hatches Harbor And Race Point Lighthouse (Provincetown)

If you’re staying on Cape Cod and looking to explore beyond the beaches, why not try out some of the area’s fantastic hiking trails? The Hatches Harbor and Race Point Lighthouse trail in Provincetown is just one example of the many hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Taking less than two miles, this easy trail offers diverse landscapes and stunning views of Hatches Harbor and the iconic Race Point Lighthouse. With plenty of photo opportunities, it’s a perfect choice for a leisurely hike during your Cape Cod rent house vacation.

Hatches Harbor And Race Point Lighthouse (Provincetown)


9. Coast Guard Beach Trail (Eastham)

The Coast Guard Beach Trail in Eastham is an easy 1-mile trail that leads to a secluded beach. The soft sand and gentle waves make it a perfect spot for a relaxing day by the ocean. This trail is ideal for those looking to escape the more crowded beaches and enjoy a peaceful seaside experience.

Coast Guard Beach Trail (Eastham)


10. Freeman Hiking And Biking Trail (Brewster)

The Freeman Hiking and Biking Trail in Brewster is an easy 2-mile trail that winds through woodlands and along freshwater ponds. This trail offers a peaceful escape into nature, with opportunities for both hiking and biking. The lush surroundings and tranquil ponds make it a favorite for those seeking a quiet retreat.

Freeman Hiking And Biking Trail (Brewster)


Things To Consider For Scenic Hiking Trail On Cape Cod

Hitting the Trails? Here are some Cape Cod hiking essentials:

  • Sun Protection: Bring sunscreen and a hat, especially on a clear day. Consider going on an overcast day for a more comfortable hike.
  • Bug Spray: Mosquitoes can be a pain, so pack bug repellent.
  • Swimsuit Option: If you’d like to cool off after your hike, bring a swimsuit and towel for a refreshing swim at the beach along the trail.
  • Footwear: Sandy trails can be rugged on your feet. Consider hiking sandals or water shoes for better traction. Regular sneakers can get filled with sand, so high-ankle boots are ideal if you have them.
  • Hydration: Pack plenty of water, especially if you plan to reach Jeremy Point. Staying hydrated is essential on any hike.
  • Navigation: The trail isn’t well-marked, so download a trail map. While the path is generally easy to follow, having a map ensures you don’t get lost.

Are You Ready To Explore These Scenic Hiking Trails On Cape Cod? 

Make the most of your Cape Cod vacation rentals by exploring the diverse and magnificent hiking trails in the area. While the beaches may be breathtaking, don’t miss out on the unique experience that these trails have to offer. From tranquil strolls to exhilarating climbs, there’s a trail waiting for you to discover its hidden wonders. So, equip yourself with sturdy boots, your trusty camera, and get ready to make unforgettable memories on your Cape Cod trip!

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