Cape Cod Mountain Biking
Cape Cod Mountain Biking
Cape Cod has a wide variety of mountain biking opportunities for riders of all abilities. And Sea Sports, home to the Cape Cod Mountain Bike Racing Team, is ideally located in the geographic center of the best mountain biking that Cape Cod has to offer. With Willow Street literally right up the street, Trail of Tears a short drive away, and Otis and Nickerson about 20 miles in either direction, Sea Sports is the ideal location to kick off your Cape Cod mountain biking adventure
Here’s a quick guide to mountain biking on Cape Cod:
Trail of Tears, West Barnstable/Sandwich:
Trail of Tears, or T.O.T. as locals call it, offers 22 miles of the best all-around mountain biking on Cape Cod. Beginners can get their wheels under them on its vast single and double track trail system, while advanced riders know that the faster T.O.T. is ridden, the more challenging and fun it is. The terrain is mostly rolling and flowing, with some technical trails and features mixed in. There are few demanding hills, but the constant up and down certainly can challenge the fittest riders, and even occasionally reveal how the trail system got its name.
Where to park: Race Lane lot at corner of Race and Farmersville, across the street from 1583 Race Lane, Barnstable MA.
Group rides? Yes. From Race Lane lot, Wednesdays and Fridays, 5pm sharp. All abilities.
Don’t miss: The sandy overlook that marks the Barnstable/Sandwich town line is also the starting point for the steep “Primal Scream” trail to the west, and the long and winding “North Ridge” trail that descends to the east. Danforth cow fields on the east side are also a favorite.
Bonus: At the westernmost side of T.O.T, across Great Hill Rd and along both sides of the power lines, lies the “Sandwich Side.” Ridden and maintained mainly by dirt-bikers, these loose and rutted trails are a favorite training ground for local racers and include the steepest and most sandy climbs on Cape Cod.
Download the map (.pdf)
Just up Yarmouth Road from Sea Sports is the wickedly winding Willow Street trail system. There are trailheads on Willow St in Yarmouth and on Mary Dunn Rd in Hyannis, and the trail system lies in the middle, framed by Hyannis airport to the south and the Mid-Cape Highway (Rt 6) to the north. The trail system contains about 13 miles of Classic Cape Cod XC riding, flowing trails with lots of short up and down “kicker” hills, especially on the west end. The trails generally follow one big loop, with a couple of offshoots and bisecting trails. Willow Street’s trails drain remarkably well, and can be ridden in just about any conditions (we strongly advocate responsible trail use, but Willow Street’s trails are nearly always rideable).
Where to park: Local non-profit IFAW kindly allows parking for Willow at the back of their building’s parking lot at 290 Summer St. The trailhead is diagonally across the highway - a short ride south on Willow St and just south of the Rt 6 underpasses – hop across the railroad tracks and go! Or park on Mary Dunn Rd in Hyannis, just south of Independence Rd - take the fire road in and look for tire tracks into the singletrack.
Group rides? Not really. Advanced riders may be able to find a guide – try calling Sea Sports for more info.
Don’t Miss: Art’s trail. Going in from the trailhead on the Willow St side, take first left (at random traffic posts) and enjoy the wonderfully winding and whoopy creation named after the local mountain bike legend who built many of these trails.
Bonus: The woods to the east of IFAW contain Greenough Boy Scout Camp and its 5 miles of pristine, tight, and lightning-fast single track. Combine Willow and Greenough for a very nice workout (and a single-speeder’s paradise).
Download the map (.pdf)
Nickerson State Park:
Nickerson State Park is a great spot for lots of activities, and mountain biking is certainly one of them. It’s a wonderful blend of trail types – from the rooty and rocky trails that ring the shorelines of the ponds, to the flowy forest trails that are a smooth and loamy dream. There are even some longer hills to satisfy your climbing legs’ thirst. Total mileage probably clocks in at about 17 miles.
Where to park: Park in the public lots near the main entrance on Rt 6A, or at the end of Flax pond road if you might like a post-ride swim.
Group rides: An advanced level ride usually meets on Sunday mornings at 7:30 in the lot at the end of Flax Pond Rd. An intermediate ride meets Sunday mornings at 9:00AM in the Rental lot just west of the main entrance to the park. During the summer, a popular group ride leaves from Fisherman’s Landing beach/lot on Tuesdays at 5:30PM (post-ride swim encouraged).
Don’t miss: The trail that hugs the shoreline of Little Cliff Pond is a rooty and rocky challenge, with some fun shallow water crossings depending on the water level. Watch out for hikers, and be careful not to be distracted by the wonderful pond views.
Bonus: Freeman’s Loop is a challenging, time-trial like trail on the southwest corner of the park. A favorite training loop for local racers, it’s a constant up and down and best enjoyed at redlined heart rate.
Otis trails sit at the southwest corner of Otis Air Force base, with the base road as a border to the north, Rt 28 to the west, Rt 151 to the south, and the Crane conservation area, some barracks, and the National Cemetery to the east. Otis certainly has the most technical terrain on Cape Cod, with natural stunts aplenty, and man-made stunts that have been built by the local freeriding crowd. Many of the trails were built to enjoy the rocky terrain, though many of them are also screamingly fast. There is also some challenging climbing, especially around “Mt. Zig.” There are many trails that criss-cross this rectangle of land, so it’s easy to get lost. But the highway is nearly always within earshot -- so if you do get lost, head to the highway and go left on the fun-and-fast trail that runs south alongside Rt 28. Tip: if your trail appears to end at barracks, turn around and go the other way (quickly!).
Where to park: Park on the north side of Rt 151 west, just before the on-ramp to Rt 28. The trail head is just behind the “sand hill.”
Don’t miss: From “Lemmiwinks” to “Moose Alley” to “Rip Your Shorts Off”, Otis is full of don’t-miss trails and rocky areas like “Heaven’s Gate.” A local favorite is the “Graveyard” trail – an approximate mile-long strip of big rocks and small boulders fit so tightly together that it requires constant attention lest you end up buried beneath one of them. Cross over the fire-road at the end of Graveyard for a killer rock garden and then look for the troll bridge in the woods on the left – it’s a fun stunt that leads to a series of rock hucks (each bigger than the last).
Bonus: Otis doesn’t need a bonus. If you ride it all, you’ll be fully satisfied, contentedly exhausted, and probably nursing a bruise or two (we call them ‘badges of honor’).
Download the map (.pdf)
General note for Cape Cod Mountain Biking: All of Cape Cod’s mountain bike trail systems are multi-use, so please be respectful to other trail users such as dog walkers, hikers, horses, dirtbikes, deer, coyotes, etc... Unless otherwise noted, hunting is permitted on these lands, so during hunting season it’s best to wear bright colors and attach a bear-bell to your bike.