Old Jail Lane / Hathaway Pond, Barnstable
The Old Jail Lane trails are part of the Town of Barnstable’s “Cape Cod Pathways” and include a portion of the “Red” trail – a walking route from Sandwich to Yarmouth. NEMBA riders may be familiar with red triangular trail makers used to identify the route in West Barnstable. Loop and branch trails are occasionally designated with blue (northside offshoots) or green (southside offshoots) triangular markers.
The Old Jail Lane trails were first established as double-track over rolling hills. There are a few fast downhills and one challenging climb on Ebenezer Smith Hill (a loop trail just to the north of the blue trail – try riding counter-clockwise to enjoy “Captain’s Logs”). NEMBA volunteers did a great job opening up the green trail “Green Crescent” (fun downhill in counterclockwise direction) on the southside of the preserve and other brush and log removal.
The Central Park trail was our first single-track addition a few years ago. Cape Cod NEMBA members as well as kids from Sturgis High School doing community service re-opened a long grown-in trail. We extended it all the way past the “Snowman” (split-rock) to Ebenezer Smith Hill. Later we added “Ants in the Pants” to connect to the “Picnic” trail (look for the “Top Shelf” rock to ride on!). “Mei Li Way” and “Eastwatch” can get you more than a mile of continuous flow all the way to the Cape Cod College. The most recent addition is “Fin’s Folly” complete with switchbacks – berms are being added as volunteers are available.
At the Cape Cod Community College, the “Tim Sullivan” trail is located on an old disc golf course. It's short but quite hilly and challenging. Riding it in the counterclockwise direction is fun. The reverse is quite difficult.
Rides can be extended by starting further east such as parking at the Barnstable County Complex (which has bathrooms) at 3249 Main St, Barnstable MA 02360 and entering the woods adjacent to the Trayser Museum off of Route 6A.
The trails at Hathaway Pond area favorite of Cape Cod NEMBA members who often have their summer meetings there, beachside. There is a parking fee at Hathaway before 4:00 PM in the summer. You can also park at the Cape Codder Resort or Sea Sports Cyclery. The most recent trail additions include “Little Hathaways” and the “Pintside” trail for folks that want to finish their ride at Cape Cod Beer.
Riding these trails is a lot of fun. They seem remote as you wind your way through deep woods, the only sound being some traffic noise from nearby Route 6. While not as large as either the nearby West Barnstable Conservation Area or Willow Street (Exit 72), clever riders will note that Old Jail Lane's trails fall right between them - making the possibility of a really long day's ride a reality for the hardy.
By Lev Malakhoff