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README before using our guides to Long Walks on Cape Cod

Long Walks on Cape Cod

Copyright 1998 Cape Cod Trails Conference


Eastham Beaches

Sketch Map of Route

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 the distance.

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
trailhead 1.

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!