Leaf Peeping Pleasures

September 23rd marked the official start of the 2018 Fall season on the calendar. Here in Provincetown, Mother Nature seems to be right on schedule this year, with the cool nights making me drag my thick blankets back out. Fall may just be my favorite time of year to get outside and enjoy nature here—especially here on Cape Cod. The weather is still warm, the air is crisp and the natural colors that surround us are vivid and diverse! What’s not to love? Sometimes I enjoy a peaceful walk alone, a proven way to relieve stress and feel happier, and sometimes I enjoy sharing the spectacular sights with a friend. No matter who I bring along, experiencing nature at its best is all about being in the right place at the right time. Here are some of my favorite walks (not just in Provincetown but elsewhere on the Lower Cape) for when all of the natural colors are at their peak.

Province Lands Trail – This 5.455-mile bike trail in Provincetown can also be fun to walk especially when the trees, grasses and cranberry bogs hit peak foliage during the month of October. If you’re not up for trekking along the whole thing, there are shorter “spurs” that are easy access. For example, the Herring Cove Beach spur runs for about 1 mile along a beautiful stretch of coastline. The Beech Forest parking area provides direct access to the Bennett Pond spur which is only a quarter mile long. For details and parking locations in the Cape Cod National Seashore click here. The best part about a fall visit to the National Seashore? The free off-season parking!

Red Maple Swamp Trail / Fort Hill – The Red Maple Swamp trail is a short, .8-mile round trip that winds off of Fort Hill’s mile-long main walking trail in Eastham. It takes you through a lush maple forest that is simply spectacular during Fall. The elevated boardwalks weaving between the trees makes this one of my all-time favorite places on the Cape. You’ll pass through open fields and get a wonderful view of Nauset Marsh (bring the camera). For more details and parking locations please check out the Cape Cod National Seashore’s page on Fort Hill here.

Great Island – One of Wellfleet’s best kept secrets, this State Park has over 8 miles of trails that take you around marshes, through woods, over hills and across one of the best beaches on Cape Cod Bay. This is one of those special places on the Cape. I usually end up turning short walks into full day excursions. That said, always walk or hike this place with a small backpack for the basics—bring plenty of water, a jacket and snacks. If you’re ready to have an entire length of bayside beach to yourself (complete with incredible views), this is the place!  For more details and information on where to park, click here.