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Constructed in 1967, the Province Lands Bike Trail is the first bike trail ever built by the National Park Service. The trail, located at the northern tip of Cape Cod, features steep hills, sharp turns, and some washed-out areas, depending on the time of year. Inexperienced cyclists will want to walk their bikes in some of the steeper areas, but for those who want to enjoy nature via bike ride, the Province Lands Bike Trail is the perfect place to be. The main portion of the trail creates a loop around Beech Forest, with spurs leading to Race Point Beach, Herring Cove Beach, and a nature walking trail in Beech Forest.
Starting from the Province Lands Visitor Center, you’ll want to turn left onto the trail and go almost 1 mile to Race Point Beach, as perhaps one of the steepest portions of the trail is located to the right. Ups and downs are still present in this part of the trail, and scenic sand dunes point the way to Race Point Beach. The beach is worth a visit, as it also features the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station Museum, open daily 2–4 p.m. There, you may even catch a lively group of reenactors demonstrating how the U.S. Life-Saving Service carried out operations in the late 1800s.
At the Race Point Beach spur, continue onto the main loop of the trail toward Herring Cove Beach. After passing the Provincetown Municipal Airport in less than 0.25 mile to the right, the path crosses the road at a well-marked signal crossing in another 0.7 mile. The trail then continues to parallel Province Lands Road for 2.1 miles to Herring Cove Beach, crossing under the road through several low-hanging tunnels. The scenery in this section boasts sand dunes, oak trees, brush, and a wide view of the ocean on the right.
In 1 mile after crossing Province Lands Road, turn right to pass through a tunnel under the road and continue along the spur to its end at Herring Cove Beach. The route is well marked with maps and signage to help point the way. At Herring Cove Beach, you can find a seasonal concession stand, outdoor showers, and restrooms.
Continuing 1 mile from Herring Cove Beach back to the tunnel, take a right onto the main loop, heading toward Bennett Pond. Here, sandy dunes give way to pine forests in a quiet setting away from the road, with no noise from cars. In 0.8 mile from the tunnel, turn right at a short, 0.25-mile spur to reach Bennett Pond. Back on the main loop, trail users can see cranberry bogs and a lush landscape dotted with pine, birch, oak, and maple trees.
Head north on the main loop 1.2 miles to the Beech Forest parking lot and picnic area, where you’ll find views of Blackwater Pond. Here, the Beech Forest Trail offers opportunities for bird-watching (note that bicycles are strictly prohibited on the soft-surface, walking-only trail).
Cross Race Point Road at another well-marked crosswalk to continue along the last 1.3-mile stretch of trail, which features a challenging up-and-down hilly section. End your journey back at the Province Lands Visitor Center, where you can read about the history and natural environment of the area—and get a glimpse of it in the observatory. History buffs might also want to explore Provincetown’s Pilgrim Monument, 2 miles south of the visitor center. Its 252-foot-tall granite tower commemorates the landing of the Mayflower in 1620.
Four main parking areas are available within the looped Province Lands Bike Trail. To reach Herring Cove Beach from US 6, follow US 6 E to Provincetown. When US 6 ends, turn right at the fork at Herring Cove onto Province Lands Road. Go 0.1 mile. Turn left into the beach parking area, then make an immediate right. In 0.4 mile, you’ll reach the end of the parking lot by the start of the trail. Note that seasonal parking fees apply.
To reach the Beech Forest Trail parking lot from US 6, follow US 6 E to Provincetown. About 0.2 mile after passing Dunes’ Edge Campground on your right, turn right onto Race Point Road. In 0.5 mile, turn left into the Beech Forest Trail parking lot.
To reach the Province Lands Visitor Center from US 6, follow US 6 E to Provincetown. In about 0.2 mile after passing Dunes’ Edge Campground on your right, turn right onto Race Point Road. Continue down Race Point Road 1.4 miles. At the Province Lands Visitor Center, turn right into the parking lot.
To reach Race Point Beach from US 6, follow US 6 E to Provincetown. In about 0.2 mile after passing Dunes’ Edge Campground on your right, turn right onto Race Point Road. Continue down Race Point Road 1.5 miles. At Province Lands Road, bear right to continue on Race Point Road another 0.8 mile. The Race Point Beach parking lot is located at the end of the road on the right. Note that seasonal parking fees apply.
There's definitely hills on this trail. We rode our E-Bikes and had a great time. All the spurs led to interesting spots. The trail looked and felt like it had just been recently paved. Recommend parking at the National Park Visitors Center lot trailhead. BTW - The Visitors Center has an elevated platform that gives an excellent viewpoint to the area.
Great trail with flats and rollers…if you do not ride you may have issues as the dunes can be steep. Pay attention to sand on curves and watch your speed. Be respectful of others by pulling to the outside of the path when taking in the scenery. Look back as you will see the scenic vistas from a different perspective- If your hungry head over to Cosmos to Go as they have great food and cold drinks as well as cookies!!!
Did this trail 3 times in two days that is how great it is!
Sand dunes and beach need I say more! There are definitely some hills, I’m going back in the fall to check out the beach Forrest
Really lovely trail. Beautiful scenic views. Definitely a hilly ride but definitely worth it if you have a little experience. Easier with a road bike!
Easily my favorite set of trails, the Provinceland Trails never fail to disappoint. A roller coaster of a trail, with constant up and downs and tight curves, a skilled rider could easily hit 20 mph (30 km/h). And there’s no shame in walking the bike up a few of the hills, since in the end the views are worth it. Can’t wait to do it again!
Wow! Wasn’t expecting this ride after biking other trails on Cape Cod. Felt like I was out West with the hilly terrain and sparse vegetation mixed with sand in some places. I would say not for the leisurely cycler, but some wonderful ups and downs with some narrow curves in places. I went near dusk and it wasn’t crowded at all, and got to witness the sky changing colors prior to sunset. Bug spray is recommended!
Great way to see Cape Cod National Park! Make a point to stop at Visitor Center for great views, Race Point Beach (saw 2 whales) and Herring Cove for fantastic sunsets. Trail is a little up and down with small dune hills, but well worth the effort. Walk it up if you need to!
This trail was so much fun to ride! The hills are fun and the scenery is gorgeous. The trail is very well maintained and well marked with signs to remind you where you are and where the next turn will take you. I can't wait to return and ride it again.
Did this trail with my son (12), short & moderately challenging trail with several good hills and sharp turns. Great scenery, it winds through a few different areas of the park, so you get to bike through the piney areas by the shore and deeper, denser forested areas further inland. There's a short little spur to a neat little pond too. Great trail for families with middle school age kids and above.
We rode this trail today 6/21/2018 really enjoyed the trail, a lot of hills. Will definitely do it again.
It doesn't get better than this!
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