There are miles of bicycle paths found within the Cape Cod National Seashore. Besides the Rail Trail that passes through the Park, other bicycle paths are found in Provincetown, Truro, and Eastham. While many local residents initially questioned the wisdom of forming the National Park in the 1960's, few will disagree now about the blessing that it has been, especially in preventing over-development and in teaching an appreciation for Cape Cod's natural resources.
The bicycle trails that the seashore maintains are among the best on the Cape, with fantastic ocean breezes and scenery that will definitely become a part of your memories! Be sure to stop to see what the National Park offers in terms of tours, talks, and displays at the recently-renovated Salt Pond Visitor Center and at the Provincelands Visitor Center where you can enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the Provincetown area!
Bicyclists on Cape Cod could spend a full vacation at the Cape Cod National Seashore alone. There are so many things to do there, especially for children! There are great tours and guided walks that are provided daily, free of charge. The Nauset Trail (Salt Pond Trail) takes you over gently rolling hills once occupied by the Nauset Native Americans as well as by early settlers on Cape Cod. Beginning at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, where there is ample free parking, the trail descends past Doane Rock Picnic Area where there is a large glacial boulder and the Doane Homestead to the Coast Guard Beach Area.
From the trail, there are many views to Coast Guard Beach and to the old Coast Guard Station, views that only bicyclists and walkers can enjoy. The path crosses the great Nauset Marshes on a wooden bridge, and then ends on the bluff overlooking Coast Guard Beach. Here there is an unforgettable view to the east over the Atlantic. Bike racks are provided and the beach itself is a certain invitation.
It was at this beach that Henry Beston had lived for a year in a small shack, right at the ocean's edge, writing the famous book "The Outermost House", and it was here that during the blizzard of 1978 several homes, a bath house and the large parking area were destroyed, never to be replaced. The surf is high here, and it is still relentlessly cutting away at the coast. The trail is a must for all bicyclists on the Cape and is only moderate in difficulty, a fabulous place for a day's picnic.
The Provincelands Trails are also a favorite for Cape bicyclists, although most agree that they are difficult bicycling, as they follow the hilly terrain over all its ups and downs and have sharp curves in spots. The trails total about seven miles in length, passing over the undulating dunes of Provincetown and over successions of land spits, each one formed north of its predecessor to form the entire Provincetown area.
From protected, shallow ponds to exposed dunes, from stunning views to the mainland, to access to fine sand beaches at Herring Cove and Race Point, these trails offer much. Bicyclists should be certain to stop at the Provincelands Visitor Center, atop which is an observation platform with panoramic views of all the surrounding area, Cape Cod Bay, and the mainland.
The Head of the Meadow Trail is a fairly short, very level trail that takes you along the edge of the Salt Meadow to the Head of the Meadow Beach, both in Truro. This pleasant four mile round trip runs between two interesting geological areas, the high hills to the south that mark the end of the glacial deposits that formed Cape Cod thousands of years ago, and the sand deposits (dunes area to the north) that have since created the entire Provincetown area. The Salt Meadow itself marks the location of the north shorelines of Cape Cod at some point thousands of years ago. Picnic tables, easy bicycling, and a wonderful beach (heavy surf, though!) make this a trail not to miss.
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