Above: Snowy egret in Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod, Massachusetts - PETER / ADOBE STOCK

Three Scenic Cape Cod Hikes

Snowy egret in Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod, Massachusetts - Peter / Adobe Stock

Much of the eastern side of the peninsula between Chatham, Massachusetts, and Provincetown, Rhode Island, is protected as the Cape Cod National Seashore (and as other smaller wildlife reserves and refuges). In addition to looking stupendous from a biplane tour, the region offers numerous compelling hiking opportunities in a variety of environments. We explored dunes, beaches, salt marshes and forests on easy hikes that were mostly level.

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

Clamming in Stage Harbor, Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge - Andrew Harper editor

Just south of the Chatham Lighthouse, which draws buses of sightseers, is a much quieter stretch of unspoiled coast. The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge contains a web of trails crossing several different habitats. We parked at the lot at the end of Wikis Way, but due to erosion, the beach trail from there to the bulk of the refuge is no longer accessible. Instead, we walked past the multimillion-dollar homes along Tisquantum Road for about half a mile, turning left at the Morris Island Loop Trail access point.

A path led downhill through dry forest. We turned right to access a sandy peninsula dividing Stage Harbor from the sea. At first, we kept to the peninsula’s central ridge, which was covered with grasses, goldenrod, scrubby oak and rose bushes, but we couldn’t resist heading down to the broad harborside beach. We strolled along the sand, passing clam diggers and fishermen, eventually reaching the channel connecting the harbor and ocean. A lighthouse punctuated the far shore.

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Above: Snowy egret in Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod, Massachusetts - PETER / ADOBE STOCK

Read More from Our Trip:

Scenes From New England New England Restaurant Discoveries Cape Cod Biplane Tour Martha’s Vineyard Private Tour Great Cape Cod Escapes A Hit and a Miss on Martha’s Vineyard A Gilded Age Stay at The Vanderbilt