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Fall Walking Weekend, October 10 - 13, 2014

For the past two decades, Columbus Day Weekend on Cape Cod means Walking Weekend. With 17 walks scheduled from Friday, Oct. 10 to Monday, Oct. 13, there are opportunities to explore the Cape’s woods, beaches and places in between on foot, all led by volunteer walk leaders.

All walks are offered free of charge and feature public and private conservation lands around the Cape. An interactive map with details about each walk is now live at

Cape Cod Pathways was initiated in November 1993. Since then the project has garnered widespread support from the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates, Cape Cod National Seashore, town officials, conservation organizations, businesses, and other groups.

Barnstable County and the Cape Cod Commission have worked with citizens and organizations from across Cape Cod to create a Capewide network of walking trails known as Cape Cod Pathways. The vision is a network that extends from Provincetown to Falmouth and Bourne. Approximately one third of the Pathways east-west trail between Provincetown and the Upper Cape is now dedicated.

As you plan to enjoy Walking Weekend, please keep in mind the following tips:

Walks are held rain or shine, unless indicated otherwise in the walk details. Severe weather will cancel a walk. Dress accordingly.

  • For the comfort of all participants, please do not bring your dog on the walk.
  • Read the walk description to understand the terrain and length of the walk; please assess your own skill level when selecting walks.
  • Cape Cod is home to deer ticks and poison ivy! Take precautions to avoid exposure!
  • Plan to bring sunscreen, hat, water, snack, and footwear, as appropriate.

For an up-to-date list, please log on to



Old Jail Lane Conservation Area

  • 10 a.m.
  • Moderate terrain and pace. 4-5 miles, about 2 hours.
  • Description: Explore the varied ecosystems of the North side. We will start at Old Jail Lane Conservation area and walk through woods and field to the marsh in the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. Expect ticks, poison ivy and a fun and informative walk.
  • Directions: Meet at the parking area on Old Jail Lane at 9:45 am. Hike will leave promptly at 10. Heavy rain cancels. Contact Elissa Crowley at 508-362-5062 for more information. Good walking shoes a must.



Sunset at Eagle Point

  • 5 p.m.
  • Medium hiking, 3 miles
  • Description: Punkhorn Parkland, Brewster. Join Jim Gallagher and Eric Levy for a wandering through quiet single track and dirt roads in the forgotten woodlands between the Mills Ponds and Long Pond ending on the summit of Eagle Point
  • Directions: Take Run Hill Rd off of Setucket Rd to its end as it becomes a dirt road to the parking lot just by Upper Mill Pond in Brewster



Wildlife at Fort Hill

  • 9:30 a.m.
  • 1½ hours, 1½ miles.
  • Description: The varied habitats at Fort Hill make it a prime location for observing a variety of the wildlife that occurs on Cape Cod. Look for migratory birds, resident mammals, and changing foliage on this guided walk. Bring binoculars if you have them.
  • Directions: Meet at the top parking lot at Fort Hill, 70 Fort Hill Road, Eastham.



Santuit Preserve

  • 8 a.m.
  • 1.1 miles, 0.75 hour
  • Description: Comfortable loop. Begin by walking along an old cranberry bog and through the woods to Santuit Pond. Continue around more abandoned bogs back to the beginning. Expect ticks, poison ivy and a fun and walk over the border into Mashpee.
  • Directions: Meet at the parking area off of Newtown Road (0.8 mile from Rt. 28 on the left) at the Barnstable entrance to the Santuit Preserve. Heavy rain cancels. Contact Steve Gould at 508-280-8820 for more information.


Barnstable Conservation End to End Hike Plus Yoga

  • 1 p.m.
  • 2 miles, 1-1.5 hours, easy
  • Description: Hike the length of our well-loved 1,100 acre Barnstable Conservation Land one-way from south to north, following cartways and meandering trails. We will pause midway for a brief, non-challenging and purely optional yoga break to stretch and limber our muscles and our minds. Meet at the end point on the Service Rd, West Barnstable, and carpool to the start at Crooked Cartway, Marstons Mills. Arrive 10-15 minutes early as carpools will leave promptly at 1 p.m. Sturdy shoes or boots recommended.
  • Directions: From Route 6 exit 5 turn south toward Osterville. Go halfway around the roundabout then take quick right on Service Rd. Follow for .5 miles passing under powerlines and park at 1st yellow gate on the left. Watch for fast moving cars on Service Rd.



Bournedale Trail Hike

  • 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
  • 1 mile.
  • Description: Bournedale, the village that disappeared! Find out how this bustling community became part of the bed of the Cape Cod Canal. What was lost and what was gained 100 years ago? Learn about the folks that made their living from the land and the wealthy and successful New York businessman that changed everything.
  • Directions: Meet at the Herring Run Recreation Area Info Building, 830 Scenic Highway, Bourne



Nature’s Necklace, Four Ponds Conservation Area

  • 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Easy-Moderate two hour walk.
  • Description: Join Nancy Wigley, AMC Life Member and Naturalist in exploring this necklace of exquisitely lovely ponds of the Pocasset River system surrounded by peaceful woodlands rich in plant diversity. This area, seemingly untouched by human hands, will reveal secrets of its past uses. You will walk where Presidents Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge once fished for Brook and Rainbow Trout. We will stand on a bluff above Freeman’s Pond and view the remains of the Tahanto fishing camp. This walk, focusing on botany and history, will take us along paths by the ponds and we will follow its flow past spillways and salt marsh on its journey to the sea.
  • Directions: From the Cape Cod Canal take Route 28 south and turn Right on Barlows Landing Road (Pocasset-Wing Island sign and Dunkin Donuts on the corner) continue 0.7 mile to unpaved parking area on right.



Mashpee River Woodlands

  • 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
  • Moderate/Easy
  • Description: Hike along the Mashpee River and learn about the natural and cultural woodlands of this majestic conservation area.
  • Directions: Mashpee River Woodlands North – From the Mashpee Rotary take Rt. 28 towards Hyannis. Take first right onto Quinaquisset Ave. North parking area is off Quinaquisset Ave. on the right.



Heathland Ramble

  • 2:30 p.m.
  • 1 hour, 1 mile.
  • Description: Explore the heathlands (moors) of Cape Cod, which thrive along the coastal banks high above the ocean and the bay. See how plants are adapted to this habitat and discover why these plants are globally rare.
  • Directions: Meet at the far end of the Marconi Station Site parking area, 195 Marconi Station Road, Wellfleet.



Lowell Park

  • 9 a.m.
  • 1 hour, 1 mile.
  • Description: Join Mark Robinson, Executive Director of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, in exploring the woodlands surrounding Lowell Park in Cotuit. On this 1 mile walk, see the beauty of this natural Cape Cod forest and learn why the Barnstable Land Trust is trying to preserve it.
  • Directions: Meet at the Lowell Park parking lot in Cotuit.



Sandy Neck Beach Park

  • 2 p.m.
  • 5 miles, 3 hours
  • Description: Hike the diverse habitats of Sandy Neck barrier beach. Explore the Great Marsh and sand dunes and enjoy open water views of Cape Cod Bay. Expect ticks and poison ivy.
  • Directions: Meet at the Sandy Neck Gatehouse at 1:45PM (parking is available in the gravel “employee parking” lot). Hike will leave promptly at 2PM. Contact the Sandy Neck Gatehouse at 508-362-8300 for more information. Good walking shoes a must as the terrain is uneven deep sand.



Old Colony Railroad and the Birth of Harwich Commercial Cranberry Bogs

  • 9 a.m.-11 a.m.
  • Easy, level 3.5 miles
  • Description: Sponsored by Harwich Conservation Trust, join naturalist Todd Kelley for a walk along the Cape Cod Rail Trail from Pleasant Lake to Cahoon’s Canal and learn about the birth of commercial cranberry bogs in America. Along the way we will learn how the Old Colony Railroad played an important role in the development of this local industry.
  • Directions: Meet at the rail trail parking lot off Headwaters Drive in Harwich.



Sagamore Hill Hike

  • 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • 5 hours
  • Description: Explore the rich cultural & natural history of Sagamore Hill and its marsh. Discover the critical role it played in protecting the Canal during WWII. The view from the hill top includes a breath-taking vista of Cape Cod Bay.
  • Directions: Meet at the trail entrance across from the Fish Pier parking lot at Scusset Beach State Reservation, 20 Scusset Beach Rd, Sandwich, MA.



Walking Through Time at South Cape Beach

  • 9 a.m.
  • Moderate pace. 2-3 miles, 1 1/2-2 hours. Terrain includes sandy beach, road, boardwalk, and woodland trails.
  • Description: After a fierce storm in 2009, ancient stumps appeared in the water off South Cape Beach. We’ll take a peek at the water’s edge to see if we can see the remaining stumps and spend the rest of the hike “walking forward through time” to see what the submerged area resembled hundreds of years ago. We’ll include bits of information that recent research has discovered as well as enjoy the autumn landscape of beach, dune, salt marsh, and coastal woodlands. Offered by staff at Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
  • Directions: Meet at the South Cape State Beach parking area. GPS address: 494 Great Oak Road, Mashpee, MA 02649. Heavy rain cancels. Call 508-457-0495 or check for detailed directions and more information. Wear walking shoes and expect poison ivy along trail edges.



Beach Exploration

  • 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
  • 5 hours.
  • Description: Join a Park Ranger for a walk along the shoreline at the Canal’s east end. During this 3/4-mile walk, we’ll explore life along the beach, focusing on the intertidal zone. Discover how this area has changed and continues to change, and how the plants and animals adapt to living in such extremes. Great for all ages!
  • Directions: Meet at the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center, Sandwich, to begin this walk.
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