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README before using our guides to Long Walks on Cape Cod

Long Walks on Cape Cod

Copyright 1996 Cape Cod Trails Conference

Coast Guard

Coast Guard Beach

USGS Map:           Orleans

Sketch Map of Route


1. Parking lot at Salt Pond Visitors Center, Cape Cod National Seashore, east off Route 6 in Eastham.

2. Parking lot at Coast Guard Beach, following  signs past Visitors Center, off season only.

3. Nauset Light Beach parking lot at the end of Cable Road, off season only. North on Ocean View Drive from Coast Guard Beach or east on Brackett Road from Route 6.

NOTE:    Each of the three legs of this long walk are listed in Eastham Short Walks on Cape Cod under the headings of Nauset Marsh, Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Light Beach, Little Creek.   The Nauset Light Beach walk begins at Trailhead 3 above.


You may begin at any of the trailheads. You may also walk in the opposite direction.  The guide begins at the Salt Pond Visitors Center.

Park close to the building.  Walk through the amphitheater to the right of the stage, then follow the signs to the Nauset Marsh Trail.  As you walk past the inlet, consider that the area was
once a private golf course, and that golfers ferried from one side to the other by pulling a boat!

You will come up to a bench at a lookout in about one mile. Pause for viewing and pictures.  About 100 yards from the bench, watch for a small, low sign directing you to a hiking trail to
the right.  This trail was laid out by volunteers from the local hiking clubs, and has just recently been marked.

Continue on the trail, following the signs, for another mile until you come to the paved bicycle path.  Turn right and cross the wood bridge.  At the end of the bridge, exit right to the edge of the marsh.

Low tide offers the best conditions for walking the marsh side of Coast Guard Beach.  Continue along the west side of the spit, staying away from roped-off areas.  Walk out to the end of
the spit, about 1.5 miles.  Each season offers different sights, as described by Henry Beston in "Outermost House."

The house is gone, and even the plaque that commemorated it; both swept away in the storm that also took the buildings and parking lot at sea level on Coast Guard Beach.

Walk up the seashore past the Coast Guard Station, now used as an environmental education center.  In another mile, you will reach the staircase to Nauset Light Beach.  If the staircase is
gone, as has happened after major storms, backtrack 200 yards to a low point in the the dunes.  Walk west briefly, then north to the parking lot on the dune path.

Walk up to the parking lot and read the signboards.  The distinctive red and white lighthouse is visible above the trees just across the road to the northwest.  Follow the signs to visit Nauset Light, which was moved to its present location in 1996, to prevent its tumbling into the ocean.

Walk west on Cable Road about 300 yards to the Three Sisters lighthouses, which you now know about.  During the summer, guided tours are occasionally offered by the National Park Service.  Get a schedule from the Visitors Center, if you are interested.

For this hike, go back east on the south side of the road, watching out for cars, until you come to a No Parking sign in about 100 yards.  No kidding; this is important!  Look for a
well-worn path leading into the woods.  You are now on the next leg of the hike, and you have carefully avoided private property.

Follow the path south.  You should have a compass, or head for the sun.  If not, good luck, because there are many, many paths crossing the area, going in every direction.  You want to
take the most direct route approximately 3/4 of a mile to a distinctive woods road crossing the area from east to west.

When you have found it, head west until you reach Nauset Road--two lane, paved, with houses.  Immediately circle around to the east, looking for a dirt barrier to a former paved road, "Little Creek Road."  It still has some vestiges of pavement.

Follow this road to its end, passing the huge National Seashore parking lot.  Walk west for a bit until you see the sign for Doane Rock picnic area.  Visit the rock, if you wish.  The entrance road continues to the bicycle path and to the hiking trail you started on.

Retrace the trail west until it intersects the Nauset Marsh at the Visitors Center.  Tour the museum inside, if you have not done so before.

You have covered eleven miles on this hike, and seen a wondrous variety of Cape Cod scenes.