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Nauset Light

Eastham Short Walks on Cape Cod

Nauset Marsh

Topo Map

Park at the Salt Pond Visitors Center of the Cape Cod National Seashore
east of Route 6 in Eastham (001).  Walk down to the ampitheater below the
center and pick up the beginning of the Nauset Marsh trail at the far
opposite corner of the seating area. 

Walk on the trail around the shore of the Salt Pond (002-004) and through
the woods (005-007), following the signs to Coast Guard Beach.  Merge
with the bicycle trail (008) and walk east (009) to the lookout past the
old Coast Guard station (010). 

You can return the way you came and at the fork (005), follow the foot
path to the Visitors Center parking lot.  We suggest walking the bicycle
path (012-016), being careful to stay to the side.  You will then see a variety
of trees, particularly the Atlantic White Cedar.   Total distance: 4.24 miles.

Coast Guard Beach

Sketch Map of Area

Park at the end of Doane Road at the lot next to the old Coast
Guard Station -- off season only!  Walk west down the foot path
to the bike bridge.  Circle left from the end of the bridge to the
edge of the marsh.

Low tide offers the best conditions for walking the marsh
side of Coast Guard Beach.  Continue along the west side of the
spit, staying away from roped-off areas.  Walk out to the end of
the spit, about 1.5 miles.  Each season offers different sights,
as described by Henry Beston in "Outermost House."

The house is gone, and even the plaque that commemorated it;
both swept away in the storm that also took the buildings and
parking lot at sea level on Coast Guard Beach.  Walk back up the
seashore to the old Coast Guard Station.

Nauset Light Beach

Sketch Map of Area

 Park at the Nauset Light Beach parking lot at the end of Cable Road,
off season only.  Walk to the north end of the parking lot and read
the signboards.  The distinctive red and white lighthouse is visible
above the trees just across the road to the northwest.  Follow the
signs to visit Nauset Light, which was moved to its present location
in 1996, to prevent its tumbling into the ocean.

 Walk west on Cable Road about 300 yards to the Three Sisters
lighthouses, which you now know about.  During the summer, guided
tours are occasionally offered by the National Park Service.  Get
a schedule from the Visitors Center, if you are interested.

 For this walk, go back east on the south side of the road,
watching out for cars, until you come to a No Parking sign in
about 100 yards.  No kidding; this is important!  Look for a
well-worn path leading into the woods.  You are now on the next
leg of the hike, and you have carefully avoided private property.

 Follow the path south approximately 3/4 of a mile to a
distinctive woods road crossing the area from east to west.
When you have found it, head west until you reach Nauset
Road--two lane, paved, with houses.  Immediately circle
around to the east, looking for a dirt barrier to a former paved
road, "Little Creek Road."  It still has some vestiges of pavement.

 Follow this road to its end, passing the huge National Sea-
shore parking lot.  Walk west for a bit on Doane Road until you
see the sign for Doane Rock picnic area.  Visit the rock, if you wish.
The entrance road continues to the bicycle path and to a hiking
trail.  Follow the trail east to the bridge over the marsh.

Walk up to the parking lot for Coast Guard Beach.  From there,
you can either walk north on Ocean View Drive to the start, or
walk north on the beach to the staircase to the Nauset Light Beach
parking lot.  If the staircase is gone, as has happened after major
storms, backtrack 200 yards to a low point in the the dunes.  Walk
west briefly, then north to the parking lot on the dune path.  This
loop is about 4.5 miles.

Little Creek

Topo Map

Park at the Doane Rock picnic area south off Doane Road (001).  Walk north past
Doane Rock, cross Doane Road (002), and continue north through the Little Creek
parking area to Little Creek Road (003).  Walk northwest on it to Nauset Road (004),
then east on the woods road to (005).

Look for the foot path going north in about one-half mile (005).  Walk north on it
to meander through the woods to Cable Road (006).  Visit the Three Sisters lights
to the west at (007).  Then walk east to Nauset Light, and visit it, if you wish.

Descend from the parking lot to the beach (008).  Walk south on the beach to
the steps to the old Coast Guard Station (009).  If the weather is bad, or the tide
is too high, walk south on Ocean View Drive from Cable Road. 

Walk west on the foot path or bicycle trail to the bridge over the march (010),
then continue on the foot path to (011).  At the sign, walk north to return to
the Doane Rock parking area (001).  About four miles. 

Eastham Beaches

Sketch Map of Area

Spot cars at Sunken Meadow Beach in Eastham, at the west
end of South Sunken Meadow Road; and at First Encounter Beach
at the west end of Samoset Road -- off season only.  This will give
you a splendid beach walk of 3.5 miles.

You must plan the walk to be on the beaches at or near low tide.
You cannot get down the shore otherwise.  At high tide, water
covers the rocks below the houses.  Consult a tide chart for Cape
Cod Bay, or look up tide times on the back of the front section
of The Cape Cod Times.  Walk south or north on the beach, starting
at either end. 

Nauset Light Beach Road

Topo Map

Print out and follow the above topo map.  The waypoints are shown on
the Orleans quad, which was last updated in 1974.  Park at Nauset Light Beach,
at Cable Road and Ocean View Drive in Eastham.  Walk north  to (02) on  Nauset
Light Beach Road.  Beyond that, the road is gone.  Walk left on the dirt road to
(03), and follow it north to (04), (07), and (08).

From (08) to (10), Nauset Light Beach Road reappears as a dirt track.  Walk north
on the dune path from (10) to (13).  WARNING!  This path may disappear as
the cliff erodes.  Locals will soon create a new path.  If not, turn back.  Also,
do not walk out on the lip of the cliff!  It may collapse under you. 

Walk west from (13) on the wide track through the woods, past (15) to (16).  Walk
south to (17) at the fork, then east and south to (20).  Continue south (21) to the dirt
road to the shooting range.  Follow it south (22) to a well-worn foot path that continues
south (23), passing the houses to the west.  When you see the athletic fields, walk
southeast to (25) and then south to (27).

Walk east on the shoulder of Cable Road.  The paved path to the Three Sisters
lighthouses begins at (29).  Return on it to (01).  The walk is exactly four miles.

Fort Hill

Topo Map

The walk in the Fort Hill area is one of the gems of the National Seashore.  It is very
well marked with signs, but we suggest some interesting variations.  Park at the lower
lot east off Route 6 (001), and then walk north to the Red Maple Swamp (002).
Walk the boardwalk around the area to its north terminus near Hemenway Landing

Walk out the landing to a foot path which circles the marsh.  This route is much
beloved of bird watchers, because it gets you down to eye level with the ducks!
High tide may block the route, however.  Follow the marsh path, if possible, clear
around to (012).

Then walk northeast up to the upper parking lot (013).  Walk the trail above the marsh
to circle back counterclockwise to the swamp and its boardwalk. About two miles.