Nickerson State Park
Nickerson State Park is located in the middle of Cape Cod just about where the peninsula begins to dog-leg north. Nickerson’s 1900 acres host about 400 campsites, and eight ponds. Oddly no streams or rivers feed these ponds and they are all interconnected by subterranean tunnels. I was snorkling there once and could feel a very strong current trying to suck me into a cave. Weird!!
But swimming under water is not why I go to Nickerson.
There is an 8 mile paved bicycle path in Nickerson. This is great for kids and gives one a brief introduction to the park. The bike path also connects to the 22 mile long Cape Cod Rail Trail.
But they aren't the big draw either. It's the Singletracks. They abound in and around Nickerson. The DCR map only shows a few of them. But, the Cape Cod NEMBA working with the Cape Cod Chamber of commerce has come up with a complete one. The only riding restrictions are the shoreline trails that surround the three larger lakes. (See the map above.)
Highlighting the trails are the many scenic views afforded of the park's lakes. But the most notable feature of them, to someone who normally rides off the Cape anyway, is the almost total lack of stones and rocks. The trails here define the word "buffed".
On a recent ride we did over 12 miles of mostly singletrack and didn’t have enough time to explore the entire park.
Speaking of trails. On the bottom of the Cape Cod NEMBA map you'll see a parking area at Freeman's field and below that some trails leading into the Training Loop. These trails, add about another 10 miles of mostly singletrack to the Nickerson system
How can you find these trails for yourself? Well, the Map suggests quite a few. But the best way is to join some Cape Cod NEMBA folks for a guided ride. Go to CC NEMBA’s Facebook Page, and see when the next ride is. Or, ask for guided tour. You’ll find that CC NEMBA people are very friendly, and are riding at Nickerson 3-4 times a week.
Orleans Cycle often leads rides here too. Check them out the next time that you're in town.
Do you recall that old Cape Cod aphorism, "Once you get the sand of the Cape in your shoes, you'll never get rid of it". Well that couldn't be more true of the sands of Nickerson State Park.
By Bill Boles