Walking and Wagging: The Best Hiking Spots for You and Your Dog

Looking for a great place to walk or hike that will welcome your four-legged friend? The Cape offers many hiking and walking trails that are dog-friendly, so your furry companion can enjoy the outdoors just as much as you do. Here is just a sampling of the many trails Cape Cod offers for the enjoyment of both dogs and their human counterparts.

Crocker Neck (Barnstable)
A total of 1.5 miles of walking trails are maintained on Crocker Neck. A leisurely stroll of the property takes less than one hour, but more time is recommended to soak in the rich tapestry of life to be found. Parking space is provided at the northern gate on Santuit Road and inside The Lane. Picnic tables are available at the white pine grove and overlooking the cove.

Long Pond Trail (Falmouth)
If long walks are your thing, this is definitely the trail for you. Look at the trail map beforehand. If you’re good with directions, love long walks, and a location that is very easily accessible (just off Route 28) this is the trail for you.

Hathaway Pond Conservation Area (Barnstable)
The 60 acres composing the Hathaway Pond Conservation Area straddle the boundary between moraine deposits to the north and outwash plain deposits to the south. Walking the nature trail enables one to view these glacial features as well as the vegetation, wildlife, and unique habitats of this area. Total walking distance around the outer circuit is approximately 1.2 miles and involves an ascent of 70 feet. Trail markers are numbered sequentially traveling clockwise around the pond.

Lowell Holly Reservation (Mashpee)
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. There’s a lot of uphill and downhill, and then there’s also a lot of flatland. You and your dog can enjoy the beach or take a dip in the pond here. It’s short and efficient, but mostly very beautiful and well preserved.

The Cape Cod Rail Trail (Dennis/Wellfleet)
The Cape Cod Rail Trail follows a former railroad right-of-way for 22 miles through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet. Its paved surface, few hills, and well-marked automobile crossings make it ideal for cyclists. The trail has a wide unpaved shoulder on one side to accommodate horseback riding, walkers, and runners. Dogs on short leashes are welcome.

Hawk’s Nest State Park (Harwich)
Located right next to Black Pond, this place is a must to 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.

Old Colony Rail Trail (Chatham)
The Old Colony Rail Trail is a paved trail located in Harwich and Chatham. It occupies the Old Colony Railroad’s abandoned Chatham Branch railroad right-of-way. Most of the trail follows roughly the path of the old railbed, except for deviations around the Chatham Municipal Airport and a utility yard in Harwich. It allows dogs on a short leash because of the many bike riders in the busy summer season.

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. They allow dogs, so take them along with you! 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.

Thompson’s Field (Harwich)
This 57-acre parcel of town conservation land has a looping system of trails through woods and meadows where dogs can run and play (and meet doggy friends) off-leash.

Nickerson State Park (Brewster)
There is a lot to do here! You and your dog can 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. This particular trail can get very crowded, especially during the summer months. If your dog is not a “people person,” try it out during the offseason instead.

Altar Rock (Nantucket)
This is a well-known and very popular walk, so you are likely to run into walkers, bikers, dogs, and people participating in the infamous Nantucket Dog Walk. There are 360-degree views here of Nantucket, so once at the top of Altar Rock, you will be able to see the network of dirt paths, bike trails, and roads that crisscross these middle moors. Pick one and start out.

Manuel F. Correllus State Forest (Marta’s Vineyard)
Correllus State Forest occupies over 5,343 acres in the center of Martha’s Vineyard. It was created in 1908 and today it is managed for passive recreation, mostly hiking and cycling on its 14 miles of bike paths. It is also the focus of one of the largest environmental restoration projects in the country. As part of a cooperative effort, the State Forest is now working to bring back the site’s native ecosystem.

By Ann Luongo

737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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