On the outer edge of Cape Cod, we’re surrounded by picturesque beaches, miles of dunes, sheltered wildlife areas, and scenic trails in every direction, with Provincetown hikes providing access to pristine nature. Whether in the springtime and summer, with wildflowers blooming and birds migrating, or during the peak colors of autumn foliage and brisk and beautiful snow-covered scenes in the winter, every season brings exceptional beauty and tranquility.
When you stay at our Provincetown bed and breakfast, you’ll be just a short stroll, bike ride, or drive from these trails, each varying in length and terrain and showcasing Cape Cod’s rare wildlife and stunning landscapes, from woods and marshes to dunes that never seem to end.
Provincetown Hikes: Race Point Beach
Race Point Beach is a classic stretch of dunes, perhaps the most popular summer destination within the 45,000-acre Cape Cod National Seashore, and is conveniently less than four miles from your room at Gabriel’s. During the summer high season, you’ll share the beach with the Cape crowds, but it’s a place of solitude during the late fall and winter.
One of the most classic hikes in the area follows the dunes for a three-mile roundtrip to the Race Point Lighthouse, which anchors the very end of the Cape at its furthest point in the Atlantic Ocean. If you bring your dog to P-Town, they are allowed on a leash on this section of the beach. Keep your eye out for several shorebirds that make their home here, like the piping plover, a threatened species that nests along the dunes. In addition to packing plenty of water (hiking the dunes is more exhausting than it may seem), bring binoculars from April through October, as Race Point is one of the best locations to spot whales migrating in the deep waters just off Cape Cod.
Beacon of Light for Centuries: Long Point Light
Hiking out to Long Point Light is one of the most adventurous Provincetown hikes easily accessible from downtown, just a mile walk through the relaxed and less bustling west end to the traffic circle on Commercial Street (check out some excellent local art on the way at Adam Peck Gallery, one of our favorite Provincetown art galleries), where you’ll reach Pilgrims First Landing Park – famously the spot where English settlers stepped ashore in 1620 and had the first Thanksgiving soon after that. Plan your hike to coincide with low tide as you walk from the park along the exposed rocks of the Provincetown Causeway, crossing a one-mile expanse over the calm waters to the stretch of sand that curls and forms Cape Cod Bay. As you make your way along the rocky breakwater (wear shoes or sandals with a solid grip, as the rocks will be wet in places), you’ll likely see oceanic wildlife like clams, oysters, and crabs. Seals also frequent this area and are always entertaining to see in their natural habitat.
Long Point Light, with its boxy shape and white exterior worn by the salty air, dates back to the early 1800s and is one of Cape Cod’s most iconic lighthouses. If you do the entire hike, which is over five miles, you’ll hike along the outer shore to the lighthouse – it’s awe-inspiring to think of how its shining beacon of light has ushered ships safely into Provincetown Harbor for hundreds of years.
Provincetown Hikes: Beech Forest Loop
Just a 15-minute bike ride or a 5-minute drive from our central location in town, the Beech Forest loop encompasses several natural ecosystems in its one-mile loop. Living up to its name, you’ll pass through dense stands of beech trees, the seeds of which provide food for squirrels and the branches home to several types of birds, including warblers, chickadees, and nuthatches. Canadian geese love the protected waters of Beech Pond and Blackwater Pond, which anchor the center of this trail loop.
In addition to beech trees, you’ll also see birch, hickory, and maple varieties, gorgeous year-round but especially during the fall when their leaves put on a vibrant show. Although the 40 miles of dunes along the outer Cape get the most attention, this little pocket of nature shows off the immense diversity of the National Seashore, from forests and ponds to world-class birdwatching, all within a one-mile hike.
The Hidden Gem of Old Colony Nature Pathway
One of the most accessible stretches of trail right in town and somewhat of a hidden gem compared to the more popular Provincetown hikes, this 3-mile protected pathway starts at Nicky’s Park, less than a mile away from Gabriel’s on the east side of the marina. Preserved as a wildlife and nature corridor since 1995, wildflowers like swamp azaleas flourish along the route during the spring, unmissable with their sweet fragrance and pearl white petals. The trail also has historical roots, as it follows an old railroad bed, tracing back over 150 years to when the Old Colony Railroad connected greater Massachusetts to Provincetown via rail.
The gravel trail is equally suitable for hiking, biking, or trail running, and during the colder months, it’s also a great place to do some snowshoeing. During the wintertime, you’ll more often have the trail to yourself, a peaceful quiet amongst the snowy scenery, made even better by our special winter rates.
Stay with us and hit the trails on the outer Cape, where Provincetown hikes take you from dunes and ponds to wooded pathways and secluded lighthouses!