The Maple Swamp Conservation Area in Sandwich
SANDWICH – The Maple Swamp Conservation Area Trail System is a challenging network of trails spread over much of the terrain. And although Cape Cod tends to be a flat place, the area is hilly and you will have to climb to reach the highest point. But the payoff is a great view, with a delightful viewing platform.
According to the Town of Sandwich, “The Maple Swamp Conservation Lands consist of 500 acres of upland property which is made up of 25 different parcels. Located on the service road between exits 3 and 4, (the) property also boasts some of the most diverse topography on Cape Cod. (Extending from 40 feet above sea level to 250 feet above sea level, Maple Swamp offers spectacular views north over Cape Cod Bay to Provincetown and south to in Vineyard Sound.”
A similar entry on the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) website added this sentence: “You’ll be rock climbing here.” But they also offered a delightful reward for the effort: “(Cape Cod) NEMBA recently installed a beautiful deck at the highest point of Maple Swamp, Sam Nye’s Mountain.” There seems to be a nice cooperation between the city and these spirited bikers.
I have to give credit to the people who designed these trails because they curve through the forest beautifully, gaining elevation without a ton of steepness. And the street signs made me laugh. I hopped on the one called “The End Is Nye,” and I hopped on the one called “Spinal Tap,” which is a great movie, but an uncomfortable procedural.
The highlight of the hike is the observation deck on top of Sam Nye mountain. It’s one of the most spectacular long sights on Cape Cod and the beautiful deck makes it all the better. There are even seats, and you can sit down and rest a bit while you enjoy it all.
The main Maple Swamp Conservation Area parking lot is located at 160-174 Service Road, Sandwich, if using a mapping app. This part of the service road runs along Route 6 between exits 61 and 59 (formerly exits 4 and 3).