Cape Cod Rail Trail

Quick Facts

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Massachusetts

(508) 896-3491

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Cape Cod Rail Trail follows a former railroad right-of-way for 22 miles through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet. Its paved surface, few hills, and well-marked automobile crossings make it ideal for cyclists. The trail has a wide unpaved shoulder on one side to accommodate horseback riding, walkers, and runners.

There are many opportunities to get off the trail and visit a beach. Food and water are also readily available and public restrooms can be found at Nickerson State Park, Salt Pond Visitors Center at Cape Cod National Seashore and the National Seashore Headquarters. If you do not have a bike, bike rentals are available at many points along the way. For people with disabilities, a limited number of hand-cycles are available for rent at specific bike concessions.

Map of Cape Cod Rail Trail (MA)

Latitude, Longitude: 41.707254, -70.083890

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    Its paved surface, few hills, and well-marked automobile crossings make the trail ideal for cyclists. If you do not have a bike, bike rentals are available at many points along the way. For people with disabilities, a limited number of hand-cycles are available for rent at specific bike concessions.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Please contact park services for more information.

  • Hiking

    The trail has a wide unpaved shoulder on one side to accommodate horseback riding, walkers, and runners.

  • Historic Sites

    Before the first railroad tracks were laid, the Cape was a relatively isolated area, accessible only by packet boat or stagecoach. By 1848, the Old Colony Railroad Company laid tracks that connected Boston and Sandwich. Railroad track extensions continued and by 1873, Old Colony had linked Boston with Cape Cod's outermost point of Provincetown, offering a miraculously short, five-hour journey. As the Cape's popularity as a summer resort increased, the railroad was heavily used to transport visitors from New York and Connecticut, as well as other parts of Massachusetts. With the growing number of visitors came train-loads of food and other provisions needed to meet their needs. But the railroad's importance was soon surpassed by the automobile. Bridges to carry cars over Cape Cod Canal were opened in 1935, and in 1937 passenger service to the towns east of Dennis ended. Trains continued to haul freight until the mid-1960's, but then the tracks were torn up and the station-houses were razed or vandalized. If you look carefully as you ride along the trail, you can still see occasional relics of the Cape's rail days.

  • Horseback Riding

    The trail has a wide unpaved shoulder on one side to accommodate horseback riding, walkers, and runners.

  • Water Sports

    There are many opportunities to get off the trail and visit a beach.

  • Winter Sports

    In winter, visitors can cross-country ski along the rail trail.

Park Partners

Rail Trail Bike Shop

(508) 896-8200

Directions

Driving

From the Mid-Cape Highway (Route 6): Take Exit 9A- Dennis. Turn South onto Route 134. At 3rd traffic light, take left onto Upper County Rd. Take very first left onto Great Western Rd. Approx. 1 mile take right onto Depot St. and the Rail Trail crossing.

From Dennisport and Route 28: Take Depot St. North off Route 28 in Dennisport at Barbo's Furniture. Approx. 1.5 miles to the Harwich town line and the Rail Trail crossing.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(508) 896-3491

Links