In the late nineties we asked ourselves Twenty five miles. One way. How hard can that be? Well, several times we have answered that question only to forget. Though the path has seemed to grow over the years. Reminder: 'Wicked hard'. A notable clarification to the issue is that you probably have to return to your car by peddling back the way you came. Which makes the car 50 miles away if you commit to 25 miles out.
Maybe an easy ride for avid bikers, but for us the ride leaves us too sore to sit on a bike seat for at least a week. We recommend doing other rides earlier in the week and then doing this one at the end. We have yet to be that clever. Attempting only part of the trail is the obvious option.
The ride gives people a wonderful and diverse view of Cape Cod, from sandy beaches to cranberry bogs to woodland. My favorite parts are in the Brewster area and I like stopping over in Nickerson State Park to do some more intense paved path biking. My least favorite part is near the bike rotary in Harwich because there is a lot of graffiti messing up the path and the walls near the path making it ugly and messy.
There are quite a few places to stop and visit along the way, and a lot of places to stop and eat. We went off the path to get sandwiches at a deli because we were afraid it was our last chance before we got to Nickerson State Park, but we did see several other places including a screened in cafe next to a bike shop that sounded like people were having a good time at. There are also plenty of stops for ice cream.
The trail is very active, and people use it for roller blading, dog walking, strolling, biking, etc. There are frequent road crossings in some areas so the usual safety and caution warnings apply heavily for this trail. Almost everyone except a few crying toddlers are very happy on this path, and every time we get the change to go on it we are thankful to whoever is responsible for putting this together and keep it up. It must have been a huge undertaking and it is a really great rail trail.
There are many many places to park for the trail. We suggest two from our experience.
From the Upper Cape (Falmouth, Mashpee)
This will place you at the end of the trail that you may consider either southernmost or westernmost.
- Enter Rte 6 towards Provincetown
- Exit on the Rte 134 heading South
- Parking will be on the left side of the road near a bike shop
Starting at the Middle
- Take Exit 12 off or Rte 6 and follow the signs for camping (west)
- The Nickerson State Park entrance will be on the left. The trail goes though the edge of the park.