Discover the Cape Cod Rail Trail: Ultimate Cycling Adventure Guide

The Ultimate Cape Cod Rail Trail Cycling Adventure Guide


Atlantic Ocean and Wellfleet Beach
Lecount Hollow Beach in Wellfleet MA

My wife and I embarked on our Cape Cod Rail Trail adventure on a beautiful Saturday morning, riding our Gazelle Medeo T9 electric bikes. As we pedaled along the picturesque trail, we took in the vibrant colors and stunning scenery, making this route a must-visit destination for cycling enthusiasts.

Cape Cod Rail Trail: A Cyclist’s Dream

The Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) is a 27.6-mile long, paved pathway that extends from Yarmouth to Wellfleet, providing cyclists of all abilities with an opportunity to explore the beautiful Cape Cod region. Its mostly flat terrain, with minor grades in Orleans and Wellfleet, ensures an enjoyable experience for recreational riders and families. As you pedal through the ever-changing landscape, you’ll be treated to stunning views of freshwater ponds, cranberry bogs, and wooded forests. The entire round trip took us about 5 hours to go 54 miles, including a visit to the oceanside beach in Wellfleet.    We went leisurely and stopped multiple times to enjoy the views, birds, and seashore.

Brief History of the Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT)

Discover the rich history of the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which began as a rail line constructed by the Cape Cod Central Railroad in the 1860s. The railroad changed hands several times before the Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased the corridor in 1976. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation transformed a portion of the right-of-way into the scenic Cape Cod Rail Trail in the 1970s. The trail is being expanded, with a recent $181,000 grant awarded for designing Phase 3 of the extension project. This fascinating historical journey awaits you as you explore the Cape Cod Rail Trail’s picturesque landscape.

Essential Stops and Bike Rentals Along the Way

Seymour PondBefore you set out, familiarize yourself with each town’s available parking areas, bike rental options, and trailheads. While Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, and Eastham all offer convenient parking and bike rental facilities, it’s important to note that Eastham has limited parking options along the trail.  There are many ride options, from 2-3 miles in Nickerson Park to the entire 54-mile round trip.

Bike rental shops are scattered throughout the trail, offering a variety of bicycles, gear, and repair services. Some notable options include Bike Zone Yarmouth, Barb’s Bike Shop, Dennis Cycle Center, Brewster Bike, Rail Trail Bike & Kayak Shop, Orleans Cycle, Mike’s Bike Trail Rentals, Idle Times Bike Shop, and Little Capistrano Bike Shop.

Exploring Local Attractions

As you traverse the CCRT, venture off the path and discover each town’s unique attractions. Golf enthusiasts will love the Bayberry Hills Golf Course in West Yarmouth and Bass River Golf Course in South Dennis. For nature lovers, the Indian Lands Conservation Area, William & Barbara Hacker Wildlife Sanctuary, and Sheep Pond Woodlands provide ample opportunities to explore the natural beauty of Cape Cod.

Don’t miss out on the chance to tour the largest organic cranberry bog on the peninsula with Cranberry Bog Tours in Harwich. The Cape Cod National Seashore in Wellfleet, 40 miles of ponds, marshes, uplands, and beaches, is another must-visit destination.

Satisfy Your Taste Buds

Indulging in local cuisine is one of the best parts of any adventure, and the Cape Cod Rail Trail does not disappoint. Sample a wide range of delicious dishes at popular eateries such as Gerardi’s Cafe, Route 28 Diner, Jason’s Tavern, Red Cottage Restaurant, Pleasant Lake Pizza Shark, Stone L’Oven Pizza, Nauset Fish & Lobster Pool, Land Ho!, Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar, Red Barn Pizza & More, The Block & Tackle, Van Rensselaer’s Restaurant and Raw Bar, PB Boulangerie Bistro and the Blue Willow Fine Foods and Bakery.  Since it was a gorgeous day, we ate outside at the Blue Willow in Wellfleet, MA.

Connect to Chatham via the Old Colony Rail Trail

For those visiting Chatham or wanting to explore the town, the Old Colony Rail Trail provides a seamless connection to the Cape Cod Rail Trail. The path links west through Harwich with the Cape Cod trail at the Harwich bicycle rotary.

Relaxation: Stay Near the Trail

Dennis BeachWe stayed overnight after we rode the CCRT at the Veranda Cape Cod Resort. This classic Cape Cod motel exceeded our expectations.  They have a secure courtyard to park in, allowing us to safely leave our bikes locked to the car bike rack during our stay. The location, clean rooms, and friendly atmosphere made the Veranda Cape Cod Resort the perfect home base for our cycling adventure. Don’t miss out on this delightful accommodation when planning your Cape Cod Rail Trail journey.

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