Cape Cod Trail of Tears

West Barnstable Conservation Area


The Trail of Tears (TOT) is one of the most popular riding spots on Cape Cod. Located within the West Barnstable Conservation area, it’s a 21-mile network of twisty rolling singletrack, complete with big ring downhills and short, technical climbs. This network’s best attribute is the variety of terrain one can encounter in any given ride. From loamy singletrack with pine needles and roots to hardpack rock gardens and deep soft sand, there’s something for everyone. Trail management here falls under the jurisdiction of Barnstable’s Conservation Commission and Land Management Committee.


Area Details

Please be aware: Hunting is allowed here during the off-season!

Comprising 1,200 acres, the West Barnstable Conservation Area is Barnstable’s largest dedicated conservation land tract. As mentioned, these trails offer hallmark coastal New England terrain: twisty, flowy, technical and sandy.

Originally, this was a 9-mile enduro motorcycle loop cut back in the 1970s. During the early ’80s, local MTB legends Doug Jordan and Art Hastings tried mountain biking the route with limited success. After one long hard ride, replete with tears in their eyes and many cuts/bruises, they both officially christened the Trail of Tears (TOT).

Since then, it has been greatly improved thanks to Cape Cod NEMBA chapter president Charlie Genatossio and a dedicated group of volunteers. Now the area is a well maintained 21-mile trail network complete with navigational signage, a NEMBA-constructed scenic overlook and detailed GPS-plotted route maps available from the Barnstable Conservation Commission.

At TOT’s Service Rd. entrance, follow the powerlines for about 30 yds until you see a small angled trailhead on the left. This outlet brings you into the network from the Route 149 side. The trail then forks – the right loop is loamy pine needle singletrack. The left takes you on a much more rocky, technical route.

You’ll probably notice massive clear-cutting on the powerlines by NStar, Barnstable’s local electricity provider – a controversial project due to their intention of spraying herbicide in the freshly cleared areas to prevent regrowth of nuisance trees and brush.

Most trails are concentrated between the Service Rd. entrance and Chase Rd. powerlines gate in Sandwich. Doubletrack fire roads also crisscross the entire parcel, providing even more riding opportunities. More recently, several miles of newer trails were cut on the backside of this network near Route 6. Many of these intersect with cross-trails, and some feature shortcuts via connecting outlets.

So what are you waiting for – get out there and ride! Also, don’t forget to practice proper trail etiquette. Hikers, dog walkers and equestrians all utilize TOT often during the off-season!

Please be aware: Hunting is allowed here during the off-season!


Parking & Directions

Three trailhead parking areas provide easy access. The largest is located right after the new Route 149 mini-rotary – go halfway around roundabout (straight) on 149, then make an immediate right on the Service Road. drive 1 block and look for the parking area on your left.

The second one is off Farmersville Road. Take Route 149 south until you reach a small rotary. Exit on Race Lane and drive just under 2 miles. The parking area is in the woods on your right where Race Lane turn into Farmersville Road.

The third area is on Popple Bottom Road, just north of the Olde Barnstable Fairgrounds Golf Course. Take Popple Bottom Road off Route 149 and look for the entrance on your right.


Trail of Tears Weather

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