Long Walks on Cape Cod
Copyright 1998 Cape Cod Trails Conference
USGS Map: Orleans
1. Nauset Road at the Cape Cod Rail Trail, just
east of Route 6 in Eastham.
2. Sunken Meadow Beach in Eastham, at the west
end of South Sunken Meadow Road.
3. First Encounter Beach in Eastham, at the west
end of Samoset Road.
The popularity of our Brewster Beaches walk has given rise to
demand for equal promotion from Eastham. And, indeed, the stretch
of uninterrupted beach from Sunken Meadow to First Encounter is a
splendid walk, with unlimited views of Cape Cod Bay.
You must plan the walk to be on the beaches at or near low tide.
You cannot get down the shore otherwise. At high tide, water
covers the rocks below the houses. Consult a tide chart for Cape
Cod Bay, or look up tide times on the back of the front section
of The Cape Cod Times.
You can just simply start at trailhead 2 and walk to trailhead
3. Spotting cars at each end will give you a 3.5 mile walk. Turning
around to walk back affords quite different views as well as doubling
An even longer, and enjoyable walk, which truly fits the idea
of a long walk, uses the Cape Cod Rail Trail and paved roads to form
a grand loop of 10 miles.
Start at trailhead 1. Walk across Route 6 very carefully, then
briefly north to Aspinet Road. Walk west on Aspinet Road, passing
North Sunken Meadow Road, to Massasoit Road. Walk north on Massasoit
to South Sunken Meadow Road, then west to the beach, 1.7 miles from
Although the roads are paved, a grassy shoulder exists on both sides.
It is a pleasant walk through a picturesque area of North Eastham,
near the beaches. Most of the homes are boarded up during the late
fall and winter.
Walk south on the beach, passing Cooks Brook Beach, Campground
Landing, Kingsbury Beach, and First Encounter Beach, to the very end
of the sand spit north of the marsh. You may be challenged by
private beach owners during the summer.
Massachusetts law permits property owners to block use of private
beaches. But it also allows unlimited use of the shore between high
and low tide for "fishing, fowling, and navigation." In the summer,
carry a fishing pole, and you will be perfectly legal.
Circle around the beach above Herring River, and enjoy the view of
the marsh. Walk north to a rail fence that is at the end of the
road. Walk north on it, passing trailhead 3, and then walk east on
Samoset Road to the intersection with the Cape Cod Trail, a distance
of 1.7 miles, passing along the edge of Jemima Pond.
Finally, walk north on the rail trail back to trailhead 1.
When walking the rail trail, stay on the west side off the pavement
so that you do not discombobulate bikers and roller bladers. There
is plenty of room on the grass, and it makes a better hike.
On this leg, you will pass along the shores of Great Pond and Depot
Pond, and walk through the new tunnel under Route 6. If you have
not had lunch yet, you'll find a handy restaurant along the way!