If you enjoy outdoor adventure, blazing new trails, and exploring beautiful places, this is a popular activity that you will love. Cape Cod Rail Trail is a former railroad track that winds 22 miles alongside the coast through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet. The paved surface, well-marked crossings, and simplicity for all experience and stamina levels make it an ideal trail for bicycling, walking, running, and even horseback riding. When you’re ready to plan your next adventure down Cape Cod Rail Trail, here are some things you’ll want to know!
Cape Cod Rail Trail History
In the mid-1800s, Cape Cod was mainly a quiet and isolated area that could only be reached by a relatively long trip aboard a packet boat or stagecoach. In 1873, the first Cape Cod railroad tracks were built, connecting Boston with Provincetown on the north tip of Cape Cod. As visitors began discovering the area’s pristine beaches, the railroad boomed in popularity as it brought numerous tourists from areas like New York, Connecticut, and other Massachusetts cities. As time passed, the invention of the automobile suppressed the need for train travel, and eventually, the need for the train to Cape Cod became nearly nonexistent. In the 1960s, the train tracks were torn up. Before the 1980s, the first bits of the Cape Cod Rail Trail were made and continues to be developed even today as a 3.7-mile extension is expected by the end of 2017.
What to Expect on the Cape Cod Rail Trail
At its western trailhead near South Dennis, the ample opportunities for picnicking, stopping for ice cream, and detouring to other trails and towns make it the busiest section of the trail. As you travel north, you’ll pass by many beautiful glacial ponds, have the opportunity to stop in the general store for a quick refreshment, or take a break at Nickerson State Park for swimming pools, picnic areas, or restrooms. Once you pass Nickerson, you will cross a bridge before cruising into the town of Orleans, where you will find an abundance of quaint shops, including many restaurants for lunch. As you come upon mile 16, you will find yourself approaching the gorgeous Cape Cod National Seashore. This is the perfect opportunity for a quick beach visit!
Near the trail’s end in Wellfleet, you might also want to continue to Maguire Landing Beach that is great for shelling, taking a dip in the Atlantic, and simply taking in the breathtaking ocean views.
There are many restrooms, water fountains, and bike rental shops along the trail, so no matter where you start or how far you plan to travel, you will have basic conveniences to support you along the way. You may also find the Cape Cod Rail Trail Map useful during your journey.
Take In More of Cape Cod’s Enchanting Atmosphere During Your Stay at Chatham Gables
As soon as you walk through our doors, you have stepped right into a New England fantasy. Our historic inn provides all the comfort and relaxation you deserve while treating you to its cozy charm and unhurried atmosphere. It’s the perfect getaway for a romantic escape for two or a rejuvenating weekend for you and your friends. For even more about our beautiful bed and breakfast and all there is to experience in Cape Cod, take a look at our vacation guide and let’s start planning your next vacation today!
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