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Great Island Trail

MODERATE 156 reviews

Great Island Trail is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Wellfleet, Massachusetts that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 4.7 miles Elevation Gain: 144 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

bird watching

beach

views

wildlife

no dogs

Note some sections of the loop may be closed for nesting birds. Please check with the park page for more information.

hiking
muddy
28 days ago

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful trial along the marsh and then beach. Did in early October and couldn’t have been better!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail. Some dunes may be more difficult for inexperienced hikers. Great marsh, seashore and wooded ecosystems. Great birds and beautiful vistas.

hiking
2 months ago

Overall a very good trail, a bit tough to walk during some parts because of sand. Highly recommend!

hiking
2 months ago

Excellent hike, Start at high tide so that water doesn't interfere.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a nice easy hike to a beautiful secluded stretch of beach. Much of the trail is a wide path with stable footing. For older folks and kids there are just a few areas that have some marshy footing to pass through and a bit of deep sand to get to the beach. Overall a very easy walk through lovely salt marsh leading to a gorgeous stretch of beach. We saw a few seals there and plenty of fiddler crabs along the way. Would recommend for all ages and skill levels.

hiking
3 months ago

Great walk. Nice views over the ocean and the bay.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

We did this hike 8/16 and it was the highlight of our outdoor adventures on Cape Cod during our 10 Day visit. Great views of the harbor, dunes, and bay/ocean. Stumbled upon three skeletons of what I am quite certain where Harbor Porpoise remains. My son was fascinated by the millions of fiddler crabs all hike long. Our route was to traverse the Gut and hike as Far East into the harbor as we could, then ascend the hill and hiking past the Tavern site. This was a nice shaded section of the hike. At the trail junction we went left (south) towards Beech Hill, passing the Monolith on our left. Before heading toward the Point, we took at detour to hike through the marsh, following the white PVC markers over to the costal path. (That is where all the Harbour Porpoises are.) unfortunately this was when then the Greenheads started striking us. We doubled back to the trail along the dunes, over, and to the Point. Stopped to swim and eat lunch on the beaches here. Beautiful steep dune bluffs along this section. More Greenheads harassed us, but a couple from Sweden said Deet bug spray was working for them. We stretched this into more like a 6 mile hike by taking spurs off the main trail. Highly recommend; I wore sandals but probably should have gone with sneakers or light hiking shoes.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

Great loop, some sections are walking in beach sand/ the beach..some sections of the loop were closed for nesting birds.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing trail, little bit of sand walk, woods walk and beach walk. Super awesome place.

absolutely stunning coast line. fun to play in the water

hiking
6 months ago

Great scenery trail, easy to hike with kids. We walked on the beach first and when back by the woods. It was nice to watch some seals bathing near the shore. The kids enjoyed to watch all the small crabs hiding in holes almost all along the way. We also saw some dead animals, two dolphins et few ducks.

6 months ago

Beautiful views. Very rewarding trail. Warning for animal lovers. We encountered a few dead dolphins and seals along the way.

Tue Sep 25 2018

Beautiful. Highly recommend. Dogs allowed for part on leash

hiking
Sun Sep 09 2018

Quick hike with a good variety of scenery. I’d do it again if I’m in the area but it’s not a hike I’m going to go out of my way to do.

bird watching
Sat Aug 25 2018

If you dislike other human beings, this is the place for you. Had 2 miles to ourselves in the middle of August.

Sat Aug 18 2018

Beautiful hike. And definitely quite challenging. The hike has a few parts: the initial part is less than half a mile to an access point to the beach, could be doable for families, I saw people with flip flops walking it. Many people seem to bring beach gear and set up for the day. Incredible scenery and amazing tide pools nearby. If you don’t go to the beach there, the trail continues until another beach access point, maybe 1.5-2 mile strenuous hike where you can choose to go to the beach, or continue on to the end loop part. The end loop part is partly wooded, partly open and very beautiful. The trail ends on the beach, where you can then continue on to a sand bar, or head back along the beach. I spoke to a few people along the path were told the path isn’t a loop. It IS a loop, with one way being along the beach. Definitely plan to be on the beach portion at low tide! It’s very special.

hiking
Fri Aug 17 2018

I've done this trail a couple of times in my trip down to the Cape. It's really flat and not very interesting like hilly or mountainous trail that I prefer. We were on our way to Provincetown so it helps break up the long drive quite a bit and gave the kids much needed break.

Fri Jul 27 2018

Be aware this trail has little shade and goes extensively through sand dunes. Can be difficult to navigate with smaller children. The views are nice but the lack of shade on a hot day can make this trail less enjoyable.

hiking
Tue Jun 12 2018

Beautiful trail that takes you through beach, marsh, and forest. Go at low tide if you’d like a smoother walk along the beach. Our GPS clicked this at 6.1 miles, not 4.7, but we parked on the road rather than the trailhead lot.

Thu Sep 14 2017

Awesome day! Easy walk in the sand.

hiking
Thu Aug 03 2017

started the trail mostly marsh with a trail mostly sand. through a wooded area that isn't clearly marked but able to find our way back to the main trail. this portion is a wide path, sand, pine needles. lots of trees then circles back around to the marsh area. the last bit of the loop seems to closed, it is roped off and the signs say it is suberged. trail ends walking back in the beach, as u continue on the beach there is a large house near the parking area but couldn't find a marked exit off the beach back to the parking area....2 sets of stairs....one marked private. took the other set that lead to woods near the house where the owner of the home came outside yelling we were on private property.....even though the stairs up the dunes were not marked. apologized for not being sure of the trail as she continued to tell us all this land is private....guess she owns the national seashore of wellfleet....not worth your time

Fri Jul 21 2017

beautiful early morning walk on the water

hiking
Mon May 29 2017

Very good trail, combination of beach, marsh and woods. The scenery is beautiful!!

Fri Nov 25 2016

Wonderful hike for a beautiful Thanksgiving Day with family. It is more like 6 miles if you do the whole loop. A good workout.

hiking
Sat Oct 08 2016

It's a great place Great Island. What I didn't expect was the amount of walking in soft sand...'twas a bit draining. Also it it's longer that stated. More like a 6 mile loop.

hiking
Tue Aug 30 2016

It had a lot of everything. Groomed hard packed beach trails, marshes, challenging soft sand beaches, narrow forest trails, sun, shade, gentle hills, flat coastal areas, hermit crabs, minnow-filled tide pools, 450-million year old horseshoe crabs, etc. Well marked, but good luck finding the 18th C. Whaler's Tavern. Don't know why it's marked moderate; it's quite easy, and as long as you want it to be.

Wed Jul 13 2016

Very beautiful hike! I did this with a 40lb pack to train for the Lost Coast Trail in California. I went a total of 6.3 miles in 3:34 minutes. The loose sand makes it quite hard to keep your footing. Trekking poles helped a lot!

hiking
Fri Aug 15 2014

Hiked the entire island on a Cape vacation a few years back. There are some spectacular views back to Wellfleet and amazing dunes on the western shore. There are parts where elevation changes and the entire hike is made more difficult for the frequent tracking through soft sand.

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