TRURO — A few nights ago, I was visited by the Ghost of Hikes Yet to Come, and he really gave me an earful.
“Stop it with all the wicked hard hikes,” he said. “Some people don’t want to deal with that. They want something beautiful and easy, and they don’t want those narrow trails where ticks can jump onto their pants.”
I objected, and with a thunderous strike, he turned my bedside lamp into a newt.
“Listen up,” he said. “The next hike you do has to be fewer than two miles. It has to be a loop. It has to include the beach. Most of the trail has to be wide, with a good surface. And there has to be good parking.”
With that, he was gone. And I had a very tricky assignment: a tasty little hike that checked all the boxes. Something that kids might enjoy, or folks who aren’t in the mood for a five-mile slog.
Luckily, the answer was easy. So on the next sunny afternoon, I whistled for the Curious Prius and we set sail to the tiny, tempting town of Truro and a rendezvous with easy walking destiny.
We came to rest in the vast and almost empty parking lot at the Cape Cod National Seashore‘s Head of the Meadow Beach. There is a town beach with the same name right next door, and either parking lot would work for this hike.
About four years ago, the Seashore created a new trail, the Head of the Meadow Bicycle Trail Connector. It’s under a mile long, and it runs from the beach entrance to Coast Guard Road in Truro. This short, wide trail is the key to this hike.
I walked up to the top of the Head of the Meadow Beach driveway and crossed Head of the Meadow Road onto the connector trail. Compared to some of my thin trail misadventures, this was like strolling on a boulevard!
The Seashore used an “alternative permeable, stable surface” along parts of the trail, so it’s easy walking. It’s also beautiful: you curve through the woods on a slight upgrade, feeling sophisticated and frisky.
It didn’t take me long to reach Coast Guard Road, where I hung a left for the short approach to Coast Guard Beach. Yup, the other Coast Guard Beach — not the glamorous Eastham locale that hogs the spotlight and makes all the Top 10 lists. No, this is Coast Guard Beach in Truro, a peachy spot that also deserves some love!
I hit the beach entrance and took a slight detour up a sand trail that leads to the top of the dunes. It brings you to a weird ruin: a big concrete square, festooned with graffiti, that may be a remnant from an old Coast Guard station. The view of the beach below and the wild Atlantic beyond is awesome!
I headed back down to the beach and walked north. For almost mid-October, it was hot. I saw a brave and joyous fellow swimming in the waves — no wetsuit, no shirt, just cavorting like it was July. I gave him the esteemed title of “Gusto Guy” and wished “Mr. Timid” (me) had the courage to jump in.
After the short beach part of the journey, I turned up the sand path back to the Head of the Meadow parking lot, where the Prius was slumbering in the sun. The whole hike was about a mile and a half and took less than an hour.
But there may be something to these short, sweet walks. The hike was refreshing and beautiful, and I still had enough energy to stop at the beer store on the way home.
Eric Williams, when not solving Curious Cape Cod mysteries, writes about a variety of ways to enjoy the Cape, the weather, wildlife and other subjects. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @capecast.
Stay connected with the Cape Cod news that matters. Sign up for our free newsletters.