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An Easy-to-Read Guide of the Cape Cod Rail Trail

Guests from around the globe flock to our corner of Massachusetts to take in the spectacular views that the Cape Cod shoreline offers. While you can ride a boat or take a stroll along the beach, one of our favorite ways to explore the Cape as thoroughly as possible is by riding the Cape Cod Rail Trail, the most popular bike path around.

If you pedal the whole trail, you'll pass by at least seven towns on the Cape, and view miles of the forest, marshland, beaches, cranberry bogs, and kettle ponds that typify the coastal scenery of the Bay State. We'll answer any questions you have about the Cape Cod Rail Trail so you can get started on your adventure.

Cape Cod Rail Trail FAQs

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Where does the trail start and end?

The trail starts in Yarmouth and runs east through Dennis, Harwich (with a side loop to Chatham), Brewster, Orleans, and Eastham, endings in Wellfleet.

How long is the trail?

More than 25 miles long!

Is the trail flat?

The trail is largely flat with the occasional elevation change, so it's perfect for rookie riders and senior cyclists.

Can you go horseback riding on the trail?

While it is not permitted to ride a horse on the paved trail, from October to May, horseback riding is permitted on many Cape Cod beaches.

Can you walk on the Cape Cod Rail Trail?

Don't like bikes? Many visitors walk the trail instead. According to Rail Trail etiquette, cyclists are encouraged to signal when passing pedestrians.

Map of the Trail

If you want a look at the map of the trail, here's a link to one so you know where you're going.
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Parking for the Trail

If you're looking for access points to the bike path, we got you covered. In addition to these access points which offer convenient, free parking, you can also join the trail from Nickerson State Park or via the Old Colony Trail in South Chatham (a 3-minute drive from Handkerchief Shoals).
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Nickerson State Park

If you don't mind the fee and want to park at Nickerson, you'll be spending $5 per Massachusetts Resident and $20 if you are a non-resident.

While paid parking might not be optimal for accessing the Cape Cod Rail Trail alone, for those also planning to explore the trails that crisscross Nickerson State Park, it's a great idea.
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Where can I get a bike rental for the trail?

If you haven't brought your own bicycle, there is one major rental shop near Handkerchief Shoals Inn.
The Chatham Hood Bikes is close to the Harwich access point, with a wide selection of bikes for every age and skill level.

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What is the best part of the Cape Cod Rail Trail?

The middle section (Harwich to Orleans offers the most scenic variety. On this part of the ride, you'll cruise between Long Pond and Seymour Pond—and along Nickerson State Park, before making your way down the Cape.

If you only plan to do a portion of the trail, we recommend you prioritize according to where you prefer to spend your time. Many riders prefer to end their ride at Marconi Beach in the National Seashore in Wellfleet.
We hope you enjoy this marvelous trail on your trip to Cape Cod. If you are planning your vacation and need more ideas, check out our travel guide to the Harwich area!