This hilly loop starts from Province Lands Visitor Center in Provincetown. The route is 5.25 miles long. But with the trail extensions to Herring Cove Beach, Race Point Beach and Bennett Pond, two more miles can be added to your distance. Riding the trail is a great way to tour the vast dune system in the Province Lands area, as well as its shady Beech Forest, one of the few places within the tract with extensive tree cover.
The Visitor Center itself is an excellent source for more information on the history and current ecosystem of the surrounding area. It offers informative films, exhibits, a bookstore and the observation tower. Numerous Ranger-guided interpretive tours from the center also explore the dunes and hollows comprising this stark, but beautiful landscape.
This trail is a favorite for cyclists, even though the route can be challenging at times because of its undulating hilly terrain. The paved network traverses much of Province Lands’ 4,000 wild acres, winding through the quiet dunes of Provincetown and their unique coastal environment.
Along the path you’ll explore cranberry bogs, marshes and skirt several saltwater kettle ponds too. From breathtaking marshland to exposed dunes to expansive shore views, these trails offer spectacular scenery. An added convenience is direct access to both Race Point and Herring Cove beaches.
During 2008-2009, a 3.2-mile section of these trails was renovated for safety and general improvements. A notoriously hazardous steeply graded stretch was removed and rerouted. Race Point Light also received a new overlook pullout. Additionally, two timber retaining walls were rebuilt and new ones added. Finally, both tunnels were retrofitted with warning beacons and signage to alert visitors of hazards.
During winter 2014-2015, both bicycle bridges between Race Point Rd. and the entrance to Herring Cove Beach were renovated with concrete box culverts to increase overhead clearance for bicyclists passing under Province Lands Rd. This construction was part of a larger project that included repaving 2.4 miles of Province Lands Rd. and realigning the Herring Cove Beach parking lot entrance.
Parking & Directions
From Head of the Meadow Beach, travel Route 6 north toward Provincetown for six miles. Turn right on Race Point Road at your first stoplight. Look for signs marking the Beech Forest area and Province Lands Visitor Center. Race Point Road ends at Race Point Beach. To reach Herring Cove Beach, go to the end of Route 6.
Ample parking is available at the Visitor Center year-round. There are approximately 100 spaces in the front lot facing the observation deck and main building. Cyclists are encouraged to park here, as the trail begins at the top of the hill on the far side of the observatory. Route maps can be picked up at the trailhead entrance.