The Cape Cod Rail Trail runs for 22 miles and passes through 6 different towns. If you’re coming from Boston, you’ll probably want to drive to the South Dennis trailhead or further, depending on how much biking time you want and where you’d like to end. The trail finishes in Wellfleet, but there are lots of stops along the way. If you pack for it, you can make it a beach day. You can also make it a culinary trip and stop at the many restaurants along the trail. But we just came to ride.
My friends and I folded our three Greenbike City Hybrids into a crossover. Once everything and everybody was all strapped in, we headed south from the suburbs of Boston. It was little more than 1.5 hours before we arrived at our destination along the rail trail: The Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham. It’s just one of many free places to park along the way. At Nickerson State Park in South Dennis, where the trail begins, parking costs $5 for MA residents and $10 for non-residents. It’s free during the off-season, but the Cape is all about summer, and summer is all about the Cape! I was psyched to experience the good time destination of my childhood, but this time, rocking my Greenbike and covering much more ground.
Within a few minutes of parking, our City Hybrids were all set up. We headed north on the trail toward our final destination of Wellfleet. I slid my sunglasses down and fell into single-file line as we merged onto the trail. It is very much a family-friendly place; children on training wheels, electric skateboards, and of course, conventional cyclists were everywhere. You’re not going to reach your top speed much here unless you come outside of peak hours. At certain points, it was pretty congested, but when it opened up, we got views of sand and water with seagulls swooping overhead.
The trail runs parallel to route 6 in many places, so riders have easy access to small mom and pop restaurants and ice cream stands. We charged ahead toward Wellfleet but decided to stop for ice cream on the way back. I’d recommend a backpack for this trail; you may need a light jacket, but you won’t want to wear it the whole time. It was hot in the sun that day, but the trail is shaded by thick trees in many places; coupled with the wind coming off the water, it can get pretty chilly.
The traffic was much lighter as we got closer to Wellfleet. It was around this time that our batteries were showing 50%, so we decided to go eat at a small restaurant, the parking lot and patio of which were floored with crushed seashells. You can’t get more Cape Cod than that.
After my friends had their oysters and I had the standard chicken plate offered at every seafood restaurant (allergic to shellfish), we set a course for this remote spot on Wellfleet Harbor called “The Gut.” I had found it on Google maps because it was closely surrounded by water on both sides; the Harbor to the West and the Atlantic Ocean to the East. It was a nice spot to take a pause and let the Atlantic gusts whip our hair around for a bit before our City Hybrids carried us back to the car.
As we arrived back at Salt Pond, I was happy to see my battery lasted all the way home. We packed them up and headed home as the sun was setting. It was a great way to experience Cape Cod in the summer. This bike path is huge and we only scratched the surface on this trip. I highly recommend it. Just keep it slow, maybe bring a bag with a jacket, and sunblock! Don’t forget the sunblock!