Copyright 1998 Cape Cod Trails Conference
WALK THE LENGTH OF CAPE COD
There are people interested in walking the length of Cape
Cod, that is, from Provincetown to the Cape Cod Canal. We don't
particularly recommend it. We would rather just spend a nice day
exploring one or another of the many scenic areas in a loop hike,
or occasionally a shuttle hike. That's what our guides to long
walks are for.
But you can use our Long Walks on Cape Cod to string together
a traverse across the Cape from Provincetown to Route 134 in Dennis.
Then we will describe in detail how to walk west to the canal,
with scenic detours through several conservation areas along the
From Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown, use both the Province Lands and Race Point walks to get to Race Point Beach.
Then follow the Head of the Meadow hike on the beach to High Head.
Note our admonitions about selecting a day with perfect weather.
From there you can continue the Head of the Meadow walk
inland to Highland Light. Pick up the Truro Hills walk to take
you to Ballston Beach. Follow the Truro Ponds hike to Gull Pond.
From the terminus of the Truro Ponds hike on Gull Pond,
walk south briefly to Long Pond on the road from Gull Pond Road
to Long Pond Road and link with our Wellfleet Ponds walk. Near
Duck Pond, walk south one mile on the utility right of way to the
northern end of the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Follow that south for
1.5 miles to Old Kings Highway in our Marconi Area walk.
Walk west on the rail trail to Nickerson State Park, then
go south through the park to connect to the Freemans Way walk on
the west side of Route 6. Both east and west meet at Freemans Way,
then walk on the east side of Route 6 to Route 137, where you follow
our Hawksnest State Park walk to Route 124.
Then you walk south to pick up the Cape Cod Rail Trail
south of Route 6. Follow it to connect to our Herring River walk to Route 134.
Another alternative is to walk north from Nickerson State
Park on Crosby Lane to follow our Brewster Beaches walk. Walk
south on Paines Creek Road to Stony Brook Road and Run Hill Road
to follow our Punkhorn Parklands walk. Walk east on Seymour Road
to connect to the Cape Cod Rail Trail and south to the Herring River walk, leading to Route 134.
Detailed directions for the rest of the walk follow:
Sketch Map 1 of Route
USGS Map: Dennis, Mass
Park at the lot for the Cape Cod Rail Trail on Route 134,
south of exit 9 from Route 6. Walk west across 134 very
carefully; it is a very busy four-lane road. Find the railroad
tracks directly across the road, and walk northwest on the foot
path along the tracks. There are plans, as yet unfunded, to
convert some of the railroad west of 134 to a paved trail.
In 0.3 mile from Route 134, cross Main Street in South
Dennis. You are in the parking lot for the Dennis Town Offices.
To your left, you will see a sign for the Indian Lands
conservation area. Walk northwest along the utility right of
way to the foot path heading south into the Indian Lands.
This is a wonderful little area for a short walk, renowned
for the ladyslippers, which bloom by the thousands in May. Take
a scenic detour through it, if you have time, or continue walking
on the utility right of way, paralleling the tracks.
When you reach the railroad bridge over the Bass River, in
another 0.8 mile, you have choices. The bridge is sound, but some
people do not like to walk on railroad ties over open water. If
you go to the right at the east end of the bridge, you will see an
opening in the fence leading to an unused rest area.
From it, you can cross Bass River on the highway bridge,
which has ample clearance between you and the traffic. On the west
side, you can scramble under the fence easily where it is too high
for the the slope of the embankment, and return to the railroad
Continue walking, now west, along the tracks. In 0.9 mile,
the tracks cross Great Western Road, near Whites Path. You can
see the tracks continue, straight as an arrow, to Station Avenue
in 1.4 miles. That will be our next parking point.
Park at the Village Plaza on the west side of Station Ave.
in Yarmouth, 0.4 mile south of Route 6 at exit 8. Village Plaza
is just to your right, after crossing the railroad tracks. You
can spot a car here for the first leg west from Route 134.
Walk west along the railroad tracks, and continue northwest
under Route 6. When you get to the switch, notice that the tracks
are in use here. Boxcars of compacted trash are carted off-Cape
from the transfer station to your right. Listen for the whistle,
and look for the engine. Fortunately, the train moves very slowly.
After passing under Route 6, in 0.7 mile, the gritty face of
industry gives way to deep woods along both sides of the tracks.
Pass by Elisha's Pond to Pine St. which crosses just below Perch
Pond, one mile from Station Avenue.
Turn left, walk south, and then immediately to the right is
the entrance to Camp Greenough, the Boy Scout camp. Walk south on
the dirt road through the entrance and follow it southwest to the
crossroads, with a sign plainly marking same, in 0.3 mile.
Circle around to the west on the dirt road, and follow it
northwest to the Upper Wampanoag encampment. Walk west through
the middle of the area to a pronounced foot path with red tree
blazes and red diamond markers.
Continue walking on the red trail as it circles to the
northwest until it reaches an east-west woods road in another half
mile. Follow it west for another half mile and continue west as
it goes through a little dump area to a foot path that connects
with an industrial road, that in turn intersects Summer St., and
leads shortly to Willow St.
Note: We used to route this portion of the walk along the south
of Dennis Pond, but the area has been closed for maintenance.
USGS Map: Hyannis, Mass.
A good place to spot a car on this leg is the Fleet Bank
parking lot on the west side of Willow Street, just north of Route
6. Walk across Willow Street to the railroad spur, then walk
south almost to the Route 6 bridge over the tracks. Look for a
well-worn path heading west. It is used by mountain bikers, but
has not been torn up by motorized dirt bikes.
Sketch Map 2 of Route
Walk west on this trail, which parallels Route 6. You will
be passing north and south of the fence that is supposed to
separate the highway right of way from private property. Some of
the fence is old wire, some is new cyclone, and some is missing
In about 0.5 mile, at the crest of a hill, pause for the
winter view north to Cape Cod Bay. Continue walking west to
the water tanks, another 0.7 mile. Walk out to Mary Dunn Road on
the entrance road.
Walk north 0.2 mile past Andrea Drive to a gravel road
on the left. Walk southwest on this road as it passes two utility
rights of way, then heads due west paralleling Route 6. As soon as
this road starts to turn northwest, look for a bike trail to the
Another mile of walking this trail along the fence on the
highway side, takes you to Old Hyannis Road, which is a
continuation of Phinneys Lane from the south. You are 2.8 miles
from Willow Street. Walk west across the bridge and turn around
to the right. You will see a whole panel removed from the fence.
Walk down to the road, and then walk south on Phinneys Lane
under Route 6 for 0.2 mile. At the second entrance to Old
Phinneys Lane, a little triangle affords parking room for
a few cars. Walk south another 0.1 mile to a foot path heading
west to Hathaways Pond North, which is visible ahead.
This is a conservation area of the Town of Barnstable, much
used for dog walking, nature tours, etc. It is a pretty little
secluded pond, just a few minutes from the Hyannis commercial
Walk north on the wide shore path, then immediately left
to parallel the north shore of the pond. At the west end of the pond, continue walking west and northwest on the foot path.
As the road curves around to the east, look for a wide sunken
road heading west.
Walk west on this road into the watershed area. The road
curves to the south. Bear right at the next fork, 0.8 mile from
Phinneys Lane, on a road that soon heads due north. When you come to the golf course, circle around to the right, following the
edge of the woods adjacent to the fairways.
Initially, you will be walking north, then west. At the
tee for the 12th hole, you will turn sharply south to walk to the
clubhouse, visible ahead. At the clubhouse, walk out on the
entrance road to Route 132.
Then walk northwest on the shoulder of Route 132 to the Park
and Ride parking lot behind the Burger King Lot, at exit 6 of the
Mid-Cape Highway. This will be about 0.5 mile. Walk to, or park
at, the far western end of the Park and Ride Lot.
Immediately north of the lot, about 40 yards down the
embankment, is a dirt bike trail heading west. Walk west for
one-quarter mile to the utility right of way. Walk west along
it on the dirt road, across Oak Street, to a gravel road at 0.9
Walk north on the gravel road for another 0.1 mile to a blue
house on the left. Walk west on the dirt road passing adjacent to
the house on its south side. Soon you will begin a very pretty
woodland walk. First a swamp appears to the north, then Spruce
Cross the utility right of way to the foot path on the other
side. Next is little Sandy Hill Pond. At the fork, bear left,
moving away from the pond. At the triangle, turn right. walking northwest. Soon you come to a cranberry bog. Walk around the
south side of the bog to the paved road that is Pine Street.
USGS Map: Sandwich, Mass.
Walk northwest on Pine Street, passing a picturesque pond
and farm with stone walls. It is much photographed and reproduced
in visitors' guides. Stone walls are rare on Cape Cod. Continue
walking on Pine Street to where it intersects Church Street. Then
walk northwest on Church Street to Route 149. The distance from
the park and ride lot at exit 6 is 3.4 miles.
You can park on the side road near the church, if you wish,
or at the little parking lot for our Barnstable Hills walk, 0.4
mile to the south. Or walk south along Route 149 to the service
road, just south of the ramps for exit 5 on the Mid-Cape Highway.
See the guide for the Barnstable Hills walk. Follow it to
the town boundary road. You will know it when you come to a T
intersection in about 2.5 miles. Turn right and walk north about
0.5 mile to the service road paralleling Route 6.
We had considered continuing west on the utility right of
way, but it is a dismal walk. The Town of Sandwich has proposed
a trail from Town Line Road at the utility right of way to the
Round Hill Country Club to the northwest, passing through the
Maple Swamp conservation area. Alas, it has not been realized.
We found walking the service road a great deal more pleasant
than we had anticipated. It is obviously an old highway, two-lane
and narrow. Also, it has not been developed until you reach the
golf course. Then the side roads to housing areas with quaintsy,
cutesy names begin.
From Town Line Road to Route 130 at exit 2 on the Mid-Cape
Highway is a little over five miles. You can park on the service
road near exits 3 and 4, if you wish. Or if you are game for a
long walk, spot a car at the information booth lot just north of
exit 2 on Route 130.
Sketch Map 3 of Route
From there, walk north along Route 130 for 0.4 mile to
Shawme Road. Turn left and follow it as it curves around below
Upper Shawme Lake. The sign tells you that it is a "scenic road,"
so enjoy the walk.
USGS Map: Pocasset, Mass.
At the intersection of Shawme Road and Highland View Drive,
a gravel road continues north. You are now in Heritage Plantation.
Follow the road north for 0.5 mile to the parking lot next to the
admission building. Directly across the road is a fire road with
a vehicle barrier across it.
Follow this road briefly west to the fork. Bear right and
walk northwest. At the next fork, walk north; and at the next,
continue north, climbing the side of a hill along the way. When
you come to wide woods road, go left. Soon you will see blue
trail markers, indicating that you are in Shawme-Crowell State
USGS Map: Sagamore, Mass.
Turn right at the next woods road, heading north. Soon you
will come to a paved road with signboards. One points down the
road you are on to proclaim "Heritage Plantation 1 mile." It's
not that far. We measured 0.6 mile from Pine Street in Heritage
Missing is a signboard pointing the way to the park entrance.
Fortunately, it is a small park. It is, in fact, just a scrap
north of Route 6. The original park was vast, but was leased to
the armed forces as part of the Massachusetts Military Reservation.
We are trying to get it back.
Just walk west on the paved road as far as you can go, and
then north to the entrance road which will take you to Route 130.
That will be about three miles from the information booth. Walk
along 130 to the northwest for 0.4 mile to the intersection with
Route 6A. Cross 6A to Tupper Road.
Walk along Tupper Road for 0.9 mile to Freezer Road on the
left. Follow that down to the parking lot for the bike trail on
the south side of the canal. This is a good parking terminus for
the last leg of the walk. It is a little less that five miles
from exit 2 on the Mid-Cape Highway.
Congratulations! You have walked from Provincetown's
Herring Cove Beach to the Cape Cod Canal, a distance of about