A 3.5-mile loop through typical Cape woodland (pine-oak) terrain. The area is quiet and lovely so you can enjoy a peaceful run.
Features: Fall Colors — Lake — Wildflowers
Need to Know
- To reach the trailhead, take Route 28 south from the Bourne bridge and turn right onto Barlow Landing Rd., Pocasset. At about 9/10 of a mile, look for the Second Street sign on your left and immediately beyond that on the right is a small parking area for about eight cars. This is the trailhead.
- The trail tends to be icy in freezing weather, so I would suggest not following it in the winter. There are a number of places where the snow turns slippery, and can lead to a fall.
This would be difficult for runners because many of the lowland areas are crisscrossed with tree roots and would present hazards for tripping and/or injury.
The Pine Trail is one of my favorite trails on the Cape and I am excited to share it with you. Even on semi-rural Cape Cod, there are very few spaces as accommodating as this. West Barnstable and the National Seashore are the only ones I can think of offhand.
The trail takes you from lowlands and kettle ponds up a couple of hundred feet to a highland forest rife with newly planted white pines, a view of glacial terrain and an esker (ridge formed by the glacier) on the northern edge. The trail is open and inviting, but you'll need to follow some instructions to avoid some wrong turns. Keep the map and the legend handy and if at all possible, trace your distances using the Trail Run Project mobile app
, so you'll know where the map points are.
From the parking area, run straight ahead until you find a small trail at the right-hand edge of a clearing. A few feet down that trail, you'll see a round metal black sign labeled "Pine Trail" nailed to a tree. In addition, farther along there will be thick black arrow signs to guide you when the trail changes direction or there is an interruption. These are the markers for the entire trail you'll be following. The map for the trail is below and the legend for the pushpin markers numbered one through 18 is below it. You'll need to keep this with you because there are some parts of the trail that can be confusing without it. Half of the trail will be in the Four Ponds district and half of it will be in the Bourne Town Forest.
You'll be heading through pine-oak forest with blueberry bushes on either side of the trail. In the Town Forest part, you'll see a number of planted White Pines and the terrain is gently rolling with few steep climbs or descents. If you should get lost, follow any of the wide dirt roads as they all lead to the edges of the area. The trail as you see on the map is a large loop, starting in the lowlands and ending there. There is really only one place to cross between the ponds safely, and that is where I have shown on the map. Other places have single wide planks across, which I do not recommend.
- Head uphill away from pond
- Take the right (uphill) fork
- 0.27 miles - turn left at the bench
- 0.3 miles - take a left at the fork
- 0.46 miles - take a left
- 0.84 miles - jog right 50 feet to regain trail
- 1.08 miles – begin north-most part of trail
- 1.40 miles - road on left, stay right on trail, note arrow on tree
- 1.42 miles - cross wide road
- 1.87 miles - stay right at fork
- 1.98 miles - right at fork – note pink ribbon on branch of tree
- 2.2 miles - major intersection, turn left, follow black arrow
- 2.3 miles - alternate (shown in red) trail goes left but two deadfalls to get around
- 2.37 miles - trail crosses major road
- 2.5 miles - small trail from right, stay straight
- 2.78 miles - cross road
- 2.91 miles- cross road, then take left fork immediately, follow black arrow
- 3.25 miles - take left on road
- Cross between ponds, take immediate right to follow pond margin, then follow trail up
Flora & Fauna
Pine Oak upland forest with four kettle ponds, low-bush blueberry bushes, Glacial moraine terrain, no steep climbs. Other predominant Flora, particularly at the beginning of the trail, are sweet pepper bushes. As always, common briar and poison ivy are hazards.
History & Background
The four ponds; Upper, Freemans, Shop, and Factory, were created in the 19th century by damming a stream to create water power for a nail factory. The Town Forest has been augmented by multiple plantings of white pine saplings. You can always tell a white pine from the native pitch pine by the fact that the branches of the former arise from the trunk in whorls every few feet. Pitch pine branches are more random. The distance between whorls is determined by the growth in a season, and you can tell wet from dry if you know when the tree was planted.