Top Dog Trails on the Cape


There are many certainties when it comes to raising a dog. For example: you will have to pick up poop from your own house, you will find fur (unless you own a dog with hair) and slobber everywhere, and you will at one point will find yourself confronted by a sign outside a public place that reads: “No Dogs Allowed.”

While I understand indoor public places, I find that not letting dogs in outdoor recreational areas defeats the purpose. Fortunately, here on Cape Cod, there are many dog-friendly places to take your furry friend this summer.

While all dogs are different, I have two incredibly active Golden Retrievers, named Lady Belle and Jesse (pictured below). They absolutely love being outdoors and fortunately for them, so do I. In our ten years here on Cape Cod, the three of us have enjoyed some great trails.

Here are just some of our favorites and a few that have come highly recommended that we’re waiting to try out:

1. Long Pond Trail (Falmouth)

Full disclosure: when they say “long trail” they do mean a long trail. This trail was quite nice, but if you’re not up for a forty-minute to an hour long walk, I would recommend someplace else. But if long walks are your thing—this is definitely the trail for you. The one thing I will say about this trail is, before you go, make sure that you know where you are going. Look at the trail map beforehand. I thought it would be fun to wing it and with not much in the way of trail-markers, I wasn’t 100% sure where I was going. But if you’re good with direction, love long walks, and a location that is very easily accessible (just off Route 28) this is the trail for you.

2. Lowell Holly Reservation (Mashpee)

As a Barnstable resident, I don’t just consider this one my favorite due to its close proximity to my house— it’s my favorite because it’s just my kind of trail. Though it is very close to Route 130, the trail is very quiet and peaceful as you walk through the winding trails, allowing for some nice quiet time with your dogs. I also like it because it gives you a short and efficient workout. There’s a lot of uphill and downhill, and then there’s also a lot of flatland. It all depends on what you’re in the mood for that day. The trail maps are very helpful and my youngest dog, Lady, loves it because she can go swimming. My oldest, Jesse, just sat on the beach and enjoyed the beautiful landscape of the pond. It’s short and efficient, but mostly very beautiful and well preserved. I highly recommend this one. Just watch the roots—I may or may not have tripped once or twice.

3. Hawk’s Nest State Park (Harwich)

Located right next to Black Pond, this place is a must for anyone who loves to unleash their inner Henry David Thoreau and just look at nature and take it all in. In addition to beautiful woodland trails covered in pines, there are tons of rare species to be found here. If one has a penchant for birds, they may find a King Rail and a Least Bittern (a special type of heron). Now, if you actually do like bugs than you can look closely for the Scarlet bluet, a type of dragonfly. Additionally, for the wildlife enthusiasts, there are box turtles and black racer snakes. Green, scenic, and beautiful—for those who love nature just as much as their dogs, this is definitely worth a trip.

4. Long Point Beach (Provincetown)

This one is a beachy alternative to the woods, but still beautiful. Located at the tip of Cape Cod, the highlight of Long Point is the beautiful scenery. The historic lighthouse and coastline views make this a must for anyone visiting the Cape. But they allow dogs— so why not take them along with you! I will say this place is mostly sand, so be prepared for some uneven walking. It is also a longer walk, nearly four miles, so definitely plan accordingly. If you’re into history, this area was the location for a defensive coastal artillery post and garrison.

5. Nickerson State Park (Brewster)

There is a lot to do here! You and dog(s) can of course walk around the many trails, but you can also go camping overnight, fish, bike, and so much more. The trails are clearly marked, there’s a lot of beautiful scenery all year long, and there’s even places for your dog to go swimming if they are so inclined. The one thing I would say about this particular trail is that it can get very crowded especially during the summer months, so if your dog is not used to people or easily intimidated by them I would air on the side of caution.

My dogs LOVE people, and if yours do as well, then they will have a great time meeting people and other four legged friends along the way.

Like what you’ve read so far? Well there’s a ton more dog-friendly trails throughout Cape Cod and the Islands and with warm weather here at last (and autumn just around the corner) there’s no better time to try these amazing places with your furry friends!

Article by Christian Papadellis

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