When the weather cools and the leaves begin to change, people don’t head indoors on Cape Cod. They head outside for leaf peeping!
Cape Cod Hiking trails can get quite crowded in the fall and for good reason. Many of these trails are lined with brilliant foliage that, quite frankly, you really have to see in person to experience the radiance.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go far to experience the favorite fall hiking trails on Cape Cod. Just head to The Cape Cod National Seashore!
Fall Hiking On Cape Cod
With some 27,700 acres of federally-protected undeveloped uplands, bogs, pitch pine forests, sand dunes, and ponds in six towns (Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown), the Seashore takes up almost half of the town of Wellfleet and about 70 percent of Truro.
In addition to six glorious ocean beaches, the Cape Cod National Seashore boasts nine hiking trails that meander through varied terrain. You can get free hike and bike maps at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham which is open all year round.
Right behind the Salt Pond Visitor Center are several fantastic trails, including the quarter-mile Buttonbush Trail, which has a guide rope and Braille map interpretations along the way—good not only for the sight impaired, but for people who want to experience what life is like without the sense that most of us take for granted. Close your eyes and try it.
Another nearby trail takes a wooded route out to the 1.2 miles Salt Pond trail which passes by the Salt Pond, along Nauset Marsh and circles back to the Visitor Center; you can also walk or bike on the 2 mile bike trail that leads out to Coast Guard Beach, past Doane Rock—a good place to stop and picnic – even in the fall!
One of favorite walking spots among locals is the National Seashore’s Fort Hill in Eastham, where one and a half miles of trails meander through fields with stunning water and marsh views, through woods and a cedar swamp. You’re likely to spot rabbits, birds, and other wildlife, but watch out for monster poison ivy plants on the edge of the trail!
The Seashore’s longest and most difficult trail is called Great Island in Wellfleet. Accessible by driving out past the harbor to the parking area, the trail is a hilly 8 miles (round trip) through soft sand, pitch pines, and marshes that offers breathtaking views of Wellfleet Bay. Look for fiddler crabs, fast-moving, harmless little black creatures so named because the males have one oversized claw that’s reminiscent of someone playing a fiddle. Be sure to check the tides, since much of the trail can get flooded at high tide.
In Provincetown, check out the one-mile long Beech Forest Trail, where you’ll circle a freshwater pond as you walk among American beech trees, sheep laurel, yellow and gray birch, and swamp azalea.
Visit Cape Cod In The Fall!
Skip the typical fall tourist traps in other parts of New England. Head to the Cape Cod National Seashore instead! The coastal region has so much to offer leaf peepers, avid hikers – even families with young children!
Check out some of the incredibleCape Cod hotel packages – book a room – then venture outdoors and take in all that the area has to offer in the foliage season. It’s an experience that’s not to be missed – nor forgotten.