Running the Cape Cod Rail Trail


Last week I took you with me on my favorite everyday run during my summer stay on Cape Cod.  Today I want to take you on a new-to-me run along the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

As the name indicates, this pathway follows the disused Cape Cod rail line.  In total, it is 25 miles long, running from South Dennis (on the bicep of Cape Cod) to Wellfleet (in the forearm).  There is also a spur, the Old Colony Rail Trail, that runs down to Chatham (Cape Cod’s elbow).  It is this spur I’m going to show you today.

The plan was to drop me off along Queen Anne Rd. in Brewster where I would pick up the trail.  My husband and kids would continue on to Chatham, my final destination 5 miles (or so I believed) away.  There is a great playground and train museum there, so it was a good outing for them while I got to do my run.

I started off and ran south the Harwich bike rotary.  That was about 0.75 miles.


From the rotary, I headed east toward Harwich Center.  This was the busiest section of the trail, with cyclists, several families out walking, and locals walking their dogs.

There was a horse farm….


….and a solar farm.


The scenery was classic Cape Cod beautiful.


I loved the silence of the trail.  I could go for a half-mile or more at a time without seeing anyone. (Granted, I was running at 2pm on a weekday.)  I really loved how the trail was marked every quarter-mile, and the signposting was reassuring to me.


There were also maps along the trail every time it crossed a roadway.


At one point 45 minutes in to my run, it was clear that I was a) wrong in my estimation that this route was about 5 miles,  b) nowhere near to my planned end point in Chatham, and c) stupid for not carrying water with me.  Temps were in the mid-80s, but humidity was high enough for a short, blessed rainshower to break out for 2 minutes or so.

I called my husband to let him know that I wouldn’t be rounding the bend at any moment; in fact, I looked at one of the maps and concluded I still had 2.5 miles or so to go.  I told him I’d get there, it would just be a bit longer than planned.

Five minutes later, my phone rang.   It was my husband saying the kids had enough of the playground and it was now raining heavily in Chatham.  He found a place where the trail crossed a roadway a little over a mile away from where I was, and we agreed to meet there.  I just had to get to the other side of the Chatham air field.


While my run didn’t exactly go as planned, I really enjoyed it.  The scenery was lovely, the trail was empty, and my legs appreciated running on a mostly flat route for a change.

I am always grateful to my husband, who supports me when I have a crazy idea like “You can take the kids to Chatham, and I’ll run there to meet y’all.  It’ll be great!”


Good health and great happiness to you!


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