With the popular Cape Cod Rail Trail running right through the center of town, Orleans is a great place to lace up those running shoes and hit the pavement.
Following the old railroad route, the Rail Trail itself is 22 miles in total, with about 1.5 miles of that in Orleans, making for a good run past plenty of beautiful scenery.
But the Rail Trail is only the beginning. The Orleans Conservation Trust and Town of Orleans maintain 15 conservation areas that contain trails, each unique in its own way but all surrounded by typical Cape Cod foliage, including upland forest, wetlands and salt-marsh ecosystems. Though not paved, the trails are cleared and easy to follow, ranging in length from less than a mile to about three miles. All offer parking areas.
Couples love long walks on the beach but runners love the challenge of a waterfront run on the sand. In Orleans, both Nauset and Skaket beaches offer long stretches of beachfront sand.
You won’t see traffic jams in Orleans, but what you will see are runners on the uncongested streets. Drivers here are careful about runners and bicyclists, so feel free to work out your own route along our streets, lanes and boulevards. Just exercise caution when crossing and be mindful when on major thoroughfares like Route 28 and 6A.
If you’re feeling competitive, two major 5K races are held in Orleans every year – the Five-0 5K, produced by the Orleans Police Department; and the Santa Stampede, organized by the Orleans Chamber of Commerce.