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By David Weintraub


*Number of steps based on approximately 2,250 steps per mile; average stride 2.35 Feet. Calories burned based on 160 lb. walker, from walkmeter app.

Where the Pilgrims first found fresh water, you can enjoy a quiet ramble amid a variety of native trees and shrubs on this short, easy loop. Trailside markers identify some of the common plants.

Just before reaching the interpretive shelter, veer right on a dirt trail and enjoy a level, forested walk. On a curvy course, descend gently to an overlook where the view extends eastward across a freshwater marsh to a line of dunes and beyond to the Atlantic Ocean. A narrow corridor of shrubs leads moderately downhill via dirt steps to a clearing with a picnic table. Nearby, less than a week after making landfall in Provincetown, a party of Pilgrims found their first supply of fresh water here. Look for the spring beside a split-rail fence, near a stone marker.

With a bike trail on your left, turn right and climb a trail carpeted with pine needles. The pitch pines here are elderly, their limbs twisted with age and exposure to the elements. After a switchback and a moderate ascent, find level ground amid the pines. Soon reach a paved path that skirts some restrooms and leads through a picnic area. When you reach a large parking area, cross it and find the continuation of the trail, now a level dirt track. At a grassy area, climb an embankment to reach the east side of the first parking area.

Pilgrim Swamp Trail map

Distance: 0.7 miles Scenery: Dunes, forest, marsh Bicycles not allowed
Type of Walk: Loop Exposure to sun: Partial Dogs not allowed
Difficulty: Easy Trail Surfaces: Dirt, payment Hunting not allowed
Time to walk: 1 hour or less Fees: None
Trail traffic: Moderate Facilities: Restrooms and water (seasonal), picnic tables, interpretive shelter

From the intersection of Routes 6 and 6A in North Truro, take Route 6 north for 2.1 miles, then turn right on an unnamed road signed Pilgrim Heights. Go 0.5 miles to a large, paved parking area on the left side of a one-way loop. Two trails depart from a trailhead at the northwest side of the one-way loop. The trail to Pilgrim Spring veers right (northeast).The trail to neighboring Small’s Swamp goes left (northwest) toward the interpretive shelter.