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Get Off the Beaten Path

Cape Cod National Seashore

Visitor Information: http://www.nps.gov/caco/ or visit/call:

Salt Pond Visitor Center, Rte. 6, Eastham, 508-255-3421

Race Point Rd, Provincetown 508-487-1256

 

43,557 acres of shoreline and upland, including a forty-mile stretch of pristine sandy beach. The Seashore was created by legislation in 1961. The Seashore encompasses land in the six towns of Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown.

Sightseeing, trail and beach walking, swimming, historic house touring, fishing, and bicycling (see our "Biking" page in this booklet) are all key activities that can be enjoyed in the park. Ranger-guided canoe tours, surfcasting and shell fishing demonstrations are provided in the summer season for a modest fee. Contact the park for current schedule of ranger-led programs and special events. There are eleven self-guided nature trails.

Free hike and bike maps may be obtained at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, which is open year round (daily - except in January and February when it is open on weekends only). The Center shows interpretive videos and hosts a variety of interpretive programs. Alternatively, start your exploration at The Provincelands Visitor Center in Provincetown (closed from Thanksgiving to mid April). The Provincelands Visitor Center, like Salt Pond, offers many walks, lectures, and other programs. Don't miss the interesting and fun demonstration of life saving techniques at the historic lifesaving station.

 

Provincelands

The bike trials (see the "Biking" page in this booklet) are hilly and a bit dangerous at times but well worthwhile. Walkers will enjoy the sandy Beech Forest Trail that begins at the Visitor Center and continues along for one mile, circling two lily-filled freshwater ponds and rambling through beech forests. Other glorious walks include the footpath along the West End Breakwater that leads from the Provincetown Inn out to Long Point and the short hike from Herring Cove Beach at the end of Route 6 toward Race Point Light. The Historic structures within the boundaries of this huge park include lighthouses and lifesaving stations.

 

Other recommended local hikes and walks

In Wellfleet you can access the Seashore's largest and most difficult hiking trail at Great Island. Access by driving out past the harbor to the parking area. The trail is 8 miles round trip and offers breathtaking views of Wellfleet Bay. Check the tides because much of the trail is flooded at high tide. Also in Wellfleet is the moderately difficult White Cedar Swamp Walk. In Truro you will find two delightful easy walks on the Pilgrim Spring Trail (3/4-mile) and the Cranberry Bog Trail (1/2-mile).

 

Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Off Route 6A, South Wellfleet - 508-349.2615; http://www.massaudubon.org/wellfleetbay/

The Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary includes 1,000 acres of salt marsh, forest, beach, tidal flats and moors. The Visitor Center was built seven years ago. There are self-guided nature trails along with a natural history camp for children and weeklong field trips for adults. The Society offers guided walks, canoe trips, Cape Cod Bay cruises, special programs, and bird watching trips.

 

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

869 Route 6A, Brewster - 508-896-3867; http://www.ccmnh.org/

The renowned Cape Cod Museum of Natural History offers programs and lectures on all aspects of the natural life of Cape Cod, and guided tours. It maintains 3 important nature trails. The John Wing Trail is 1.3 miles and cuts through 140 acres of beach plum, golden aster, salt reed grass, and bush clover, around a sassafras grove and salt marsh to end on a tidal island with a spectacular view of Cape Cod Bay. (During high tides the causeway is covered, blocking entrance and exit!! off the tidal island, so be sure to check the tides with the museum staff before you begin your walk.) The North Trail is 1/4 miles that serves as a primer for plant identification. The South trail is 1 mile cutting through a cattail swamp. Beware the poison ivy - stay on the trails.

 

Explore your immediate neighborhood

At the end of Holsberry Road the pavement ends and a dirt road takes you through the woods to an old cemetery. Or take walk to the Pamet Harbor to watch the sunset.

TIP: Walk on the left side against oncoming traffic but bike on the right with traffic.

 

Tour our Lighthouses

You'll never regret the extra time it will take to view these unique marine structures:

 Race Point Light - Provincetown

 Wood End Light - Provincetown

 Long Point Light - Provincetown

 Highland Light (also called Cape Cod Light) - North Truro

 Nauset Light - Eastham

 Three Sisters Lighthouses - Eastham

Text Box: The Laurel, Truro, Cape Cod
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