Nickerson has great natural scenery, along with a collection of the most diverse tree species on Cape Cod. You can view pine, fir, spruce and oak. as well as various types of holly and berry bushes. Wildlife is abundant, with regular sightings of fox, deer, coyote and other common smaller animals. The trail is hilly, winding throughout the perimeter of the park’s seven camping areas, and also around two of its five pristine lakes. Watch for patches of thick pine needles collected on the pavement from the predominately pine tree canopy – they can be somewhat slippery!
The terrain here feels like an inland east coast forest with all the different tree varieties – views are especially scenic bordering Ruth and Triangle ponds. Several spurs criss-cross through the property, so be sure to grab a trail map at the park’s main entrance before embarking on your ride.
Also be prepared for heavy bicycle and pedestrian traffic in the summertime, as this popular state park is packed between June through September. Accordingly, the larger lot is heavily used throughout the season, making the smaller dirt area a better bet for hassle-free parking.
Parking & Directions
Parking can be found in two consecutive lots on the right-hand side of Route 6A heading east towards Orleans. The first one (sign pictured left, lot pictured below, right) is a dirt driveway leading back to an open area big enough for maybe 15 – 20 cars. During the summer, Idle Times Bike Shop (located in Eastham) operates a satellite location here providing bicycle rentals, repair and a limited selection of parts and accessories.
The second lot is much larger, holding 30 – 50 cars. It’s the next immediate turn on the same side of Rt. 6A past the first parking area driveway and sign. Upon turning, bear right at the main entrance to the State Park. Featuring picnic areas, restrooms and telephones, this lot is ideal for families planning a day of riding on the Rail Trail, Nickerson or both.
Keep in mind that both lots are also easily accessible from Route 6 by getting off at Exit 12 and heading north on Route 6A in Orleans. Continue on Rt. 6A past the town border into Brewster. The parking areas are located about 2.5 miles down the road on your left from this direction.