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Hiking Coy's Brook Woodlands in Harwich, MA

One of the best things about living on Cape Cod is having the opportunity to explore the hidden gems scattered throughout the region. While you won't want to miss some of the area's top attractions, there's plenty of time for both once you buy a home on the Cape.

For many, finding hidden gems involves locating spots to do some hiking. After all, with forests, ponds, dunes, and marshes, Cape Cod is never short on diverse ecosystems to discover.

Coy's Brook Woodlands is a nature preserve with a trail taking you through a forest before emerging at a bog created by the Herring River. The hike is short but provides a serene environment and plenty of bird-watching opportunities that make it a hit with locals who love that sort of thing.

As you walk Coy's Brook Woodland's trail, you're sure to come across from wildlife, too. Birds are particularly common in the park, including the great blue heron.

Here's everything you need to know about visiting Coy's Brook in Harwich, Massachusetts.

A Brief History

Coy's Brook Woodlands has always been an important spot on Cape Cod from an ecological point of view, but it was private property for a long time. The Stewart family owned the land until 1997, but when they decided to sell it, more than 100 contributors donated money to see the Harwich Conservation Trust purchase the property.

In the end, it took $225,000, but the Harwich Conservation Trust was able to complete the purchase, ensuring the land was protected for years to come.

From there, the Harwich Conservation Trust created trails and developed a plan to protect the wildlife that calls this area home. Protecting the groundwater is of particular importance because so many species use it for survival.

The original purchase saw the Harwich Conservation Trust take 16 acres of land. Through additional acquisitions and donations, though, the organization now owns 30 acres of wetlands in one of the Cape's most unique habitats. 

The Trail

Coy's Brook has two hiking options depending on how far you want to walk. Both trails start at the same point, but the short one loops around a small marsh while the other circles a more significant chunk of the wetlands.

The longer of the two trails is only 0.8 miles long, but it will take you past an ultra-rare Atlantic white cedar wetland, in addition to an oak and pine forest. If you're lucky, you might also see the remnants of some cranberry borrow pits where cranberry growers would dig large holes and take the sand back to their properties to assist with growth.

No matter which trail you take, make sure you bring some binoculars because there are birds everywhere and all kinds of beautiful scenery to experience, too.

Getting There

Reaching the Coy's Brook Woodlands is simple, as the preserve's parking lot sits on Lothrop Avenue in Northwest Harwich. Lothrop Avenue is accessible via Main Street in downtown Harwich near the Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

You can also get to the woodlands from Great Western Road, and the Cape Cod Rail Trail darts through the area, too, if you want to stop for a quick hike on your bike ride.

There's a sign on the side of the main road directing you to the parking lot, making it an easy spot to find. The parking area isn't very large, but the preserve rarely gets busy, so finding a space won't be a problem.

Another Place to Explore on Cape Cod

Coy's Brook Woodlands is yet another example of the outstanding hidden spots you can explore after buying a home on Cape Cod. This park allows you to escape into the wilderness for an afternoon where you're unlikely to see anyone else while remaining only a few minutes from downtown Harwich, providing the best of both worlds.

This hiking trail is excellent for bird lovers because the marshland hosts a plethora of different species, and it's quiet enough that animals feel free to walk or fly about without worry.

If you love hiking, Cape Cod's trails provide outstanding opportunities to get out there and explore, and this little-known spot in Harwich is yet another example of the things that make the Cape such a special place to live.