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The Best Fall Hiking Spots on Cape Cod

Jennie Sparrow | 11/6/2020 (updated 9/13/2023)

Warm color tones, the sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet, the smell of cool salt air—that’s hiking on Cape Cod in the fall. Of course, with over 500 miles of coastline, there’s plenty of opportunity for walking the beaches on Cape Cod. You will also find forests, sandy trails, and hilly terrain when hiking in these parts.

A quick online search will produce a long list of hikes on the Cape and Islands. But here is a short list of what we locals suggest!

Upper Cape Area

The Knob — Woods Hole

You will find the Knob at the end of a hidden, seaside trail in Woods Hole. After a short nature walk along a small beach, marsh, and coastal bank, you will end up on the Knob. This little piece of land extends from Quissett Harbor to Buzzards Bay and offers amazing water views.

The Knob, extending into Quissett Harbor

Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge — Mashpee

This large area offers trails along salt and freshwater marshes, cranberry bogs, Atlantic white cedar swamps, and vernal pools. It also happens to be an idol spot for hiking and seeing local wildlife like birds, foxes, rabbits, and deer.

Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge in Mashpee

Mid Cape Area

Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary — Cummaquid

You will find 2.5 miles of gentle, varied trails at Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary. Woodland and meadow walking trails lead to a gorgeous view of Barnstable Harbor and the dunes of Sandy Neck Barrier Beach. Explore the Butterfly Mosaic Trail to see many butterflies in open fields and wildflower plots. Over 30 species are attracted there.

Views of Sandy Neck from Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary

Crowes Pasture — East Dennis

This path to the beach features a soothing walk down a country road, lush, expansive pastures, and salt marshes that lead to Cape Cod Bay. Another path nearby leads to Cole's Pond, where you can stroll or simply enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Crowes Pasture in East Dennis

Lower Cape Area

Eddy Bay Trail — Brewster

This pleasant walk is one mile long. It takes you through a forest where you can admire a group of holly trees, pine and oak trees. Eventually, it leads you to a cliff that offers a wide view of Cape Cod Bay. It is perfect for dog walkers as well as those looking for a shorter trail.

Views of Cape Cod Bay from the bluff off of the Eddy Bay Trail

Kents Point — Orleans

Kents Point is a marvelous hiking spot. This wooded area sits right on the water and features more than a mile of undeveloped shoreline. It fronts on Lonnie’s Pond, Little Pleasant Bay, and Frost Fish Creek. Kents Point is also dog-friendly and has a handicapped-accessible boardwalk overlooking The River.

Views of The River at Kents Point

Outer Cape Area

Great Island Trail — Wellfleet

Great Island Trail is a beautiful, moderately-rated loop along Cape Cod Bay in Wellfleet. The trail runs from The Gut to Great Island and Great Beach Hill and out to the secluded area known as Jeremy Point. The trail winds through Great Island along marshes, sand dunes, and stunning beaches with beautiful views and wildlife. Please note that parts of Jeremy Point are underwater at high tide, so check the tide schedule to plan your trip. Views from Jeremy Point allow you to see from Brewster and Dennis all the way out to Provincetown.

Pamet Area Trails — Truro

Bearberry Hill Trail overlooks the glacial terrain of the Pamet River valley. The hike is rated as moderate because it inclines up a steep hill. At the top of the hill, you're greeted by spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Pamet landscape, a former boghouse from the era of commercial cranberry harvesting, and a small glacial pond.

Provincetown Dune Shack Trail — Provincetown

The Provincetown Dune Shack trail is one of the most surreal, serene destinations you can visit while on the Cape and Islands. Rolling dunes of soft sand sit pretty beneath blue sky. Dilapidated brown-shingled dune shacks dot the trails that will eventually lead you to the Atlantic. Paw prints from little critters wandering about at night wind their way through the dunes. Thought the Dune Shack Trail is located right on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of Provincetown, it feels like a world away.

Fort Hill — Eastham

Fort Hill in Eastham offers a large, lush field of green grass, lookout spots with the most magnificent views of Nauset Inlet, obscure trails off the beaten path, and so much more. This hike is perfect for people of all ages and skill levels. Our personal favorite part about it? Fort Hill happens to be home to tons of baby bunnies during the summertime!