Fall Hiking: The Best Spots on the Cape

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Fall has arrived.  The summer congestion on the roads has subsided but the weather still holds a bit of the warmth.  It is the perfect time of year to be outdoors.  All over the Cape there are incredible trails to be explored, leading to spectacular vistas of this wondrous peninsula.  Here are just a few of the best fall hikes on Cape Cod.  Get out and make the most of the beauty this land has to offer.

Eddy Bay Trail, Lower Rd., Brewster

This mile-long trail on Lower Road is a short and easy hike.  It is easy to reap the rewards of the walk which leads to a superb view of Cape Cod Bay from the highest bluff in town.  It is a straight shot from the parking area to the bluff and back and is perfect for those who do not have an entire afternoon to dedicate to exploration.

Fort Hill, Fort Hill Rd., Eastham

Much like the Eddy Bay Trail this is a short and relatively easy hike.  The parking lot is up on said hill with a great view of Town Cove which is great for sunrises.  The mile and a half hike leads down the hill toward the water and for those who want a little more it connects with the Red Maple Swamp Trail which adds three-quarters of a mile to the total trek.

Lowell-Holly Reservation, South Sandwich Rd., Mashpee
There are four miles of trails throughout the 135 acres of this amazing nature reserve.  The two and a half mile main trail leads out to a peninsula between two fresh water ponds, Wakeby and Mashpee.  It is a relatively easy hike terrain-wise however it is best to set aside a few hours to enjoy the woods and pond views.

South Cape Beach State Park, Great Oak Rd., Mashpee
This 460-acre park has a beautiful barrier beach sheltering Waquoit Bay to go along with a pair of ponds, Sage Lot and Flat Pond along with many walking trails.  The premier trail is the Dead Neck Trail which parallels the barrier beach and runs roughly a mile out to the shores of Waquoit Bay.  It is a sandy slog in places and an easier hike in others.  The solitude and scenic views will take an hour or so but are very enjoyable.

Great Island Trail, Chequessett Neck Rd., Wellfleet
There are many unique features and sites along the trails here.  Cape Cod Bay lies to the west while the Herring River and Wellfleet Harbor lie to the east.  On the land there is also the former site of the first tavern on Cape Cod.  Known as the Wellfleet, Great Island, or Samuel Smith Tavern the site was excavated in 1969-70 and dates back to 1690.  The trail south leads to a fantastic overlook at Jeremy Point.  Several hours should be set aside for this moderate trail.  It has some hills, sandy spots, and rocks, but is a great spot to explore on a fall afternoon.

Mt. Zig Trail, Rt. 151/Rt. 28, Falmouth
This trail is the most ambitious and adventurous of the collection.  A part of the Crane Wildlife Management Area in Falmouth, which encompasses more than 1,600 acres, Mt. Zig is difficult to find but a wonderful revelation when it is.  If one parks along Rt. 151 close to where one enters the ramp to the highway section of Rt. 28 it is just over a mile hike, some of it very hilly and rocky.  Mt. Zig is a manmade swing which overlooks Buzzards Bay from one of the highest points on Cape Cod.  It is great for sunset viewing, although don’t dawdle as the walk back in twilight can be dangerous.

By Christopher Setterlund

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