The Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) is a paved bikeway that runs 25 miles from South Dennis to Wellfleet. The terrain is relatively flat with some minor grades in certain sections in the Lower / Outer Cape areas, specifically Orleans and Wellfleet. It easily offers the greatest variety in scenery and natural landscapes of all the regional bike paths.
The trail stretches from Route 134 all the way to Lecount Hollow Road in South Wellfleet. The name stems from an old railroad right of way it follows, which transported passengers and freight to Cape Cod in the early 1800s until around 1960. The CCRT is managed by the MA Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR). It passes by many local points of interest and several areas with lakes suitable for swimming / picnicing, including Nickerson State Park in Brewster.
Continuously monitored by local police bike patrols, this paved path is a safe and enjoyable way to spend a Cape Cod summer day. Traveling through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet, the smoothly-paved surface (akin to gravel asphalt) makes the CCRT ideal for cyclists, walkers, inline skaters and runners. Bicycle and rollerblade rentals are also available at various bike shops conveniently located right along the trail in Dennis, Brewster, Orleans and Wellfleet.
Several CCRT improvement projects have been completed since 2002, including construction of the Harwich bike bridge between exits 9 and 10 over Route 6. This structure links a former trail gap between Headwaters Drive and Queen Anne Road. A second bridge was also built in Orleans to bypass the dangerous 2-mile stretch of road from Main Street to Rock Harbor Road then back onto the trail. In 2004, the path was connected to Chatham by a newly built spur called the Old Colony Trail (Old Colony Trail PDF Map), which runs 4.25 miles from the Harwich bike rotary to Depot Road near the town center.
During 2005-2007, a 12-mile section on the CCRT main trail between Brewster and Wellfleet (plus adjacent parking lots) was repaved and new landscaping / improvements installed at key intersections. These upgrades include a modern 20-foot retaining wall at the Pleasant Bay General Store, granite benches, picnic tables, graphical trail map signage, mile markers, traffic warning beacons, pavement markings, curbing, fencing, guardrails, etc. This most recent rejuvenation was a major undertaking, costing the Mass DCR $6.3 million dollars.
Parking & Directions
The CCRT starts at the S. Dennis trailhead parking area, conveniently located just minutes from Route 6 on Route 134. Get off at Exit 9A and head south on Route 134 past Patriots Square plaza and Cumberland Farms. About 1/2 mile down from the exit you’ll see a sign and parking lot on the left – turn here for the trail entrance.