Re Cycling Back Bay and False Cape State Park


Encouraged by our Summer Biking experience at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, we returned in October during our week off from school. The Daughter and I have been riding a few times a week on a 5 mile course of the neighborhood we laid out using Map My Ride, so we were ready to try for a longer ride as we build up to the 20 and 30 mile rides required for her American Heritage Girl Cycling Badge.

Our plan was to ride just over 15 miles – by revisiting the East Dyke trail through Back Bay, but instead of turning around, adding in the main trail through False Cape State Park. The trail actually goes all the way to the North Carolina Border but after about 4 miles the sand is too loose for bikes. We had read about this and were prepared for it.  I have a trail map at the bottom of the post.

The trail along the Dyke is wide open, with wetlands and the dyke canals to the east and Back Bay to the west.  The trail through False Cape is largely wooded.  There are a few stretches that are fairly narrow so that while the trail hugs the shore of the Bay, you can also hear the dull roar of the waves crashing on the beach. It’s a little daunting to consider that only a ridge of high dunes keeps the ocean in check.


To our delighted surprise, a pair of red foxes trotted across the trail ahead of us, their fur illuminated in the dappled sun.  At the point where the trail became too sandy to ride, we took a break and hiked a side trail to visit the shady graveyard of the long gone Wash Woods village.  The markers are aged, but still legible, telling of both long and short lives.  Whelk, and scallop shells had been left in lieu of flowers. The trees, draped with wispy Spanish Moss made for an evocative, even archetypal setting.  We also visited the Wash Woods Environmental Center which is where we saw the old wooden boat.

Then we went back the way we came, re cycling the trail through False Cape and the East Dyke trail through Back Bay.  By the time we got to the car we were hot and sweaty. So we secured our bikes, drank some water and sought out the path between the dunes to the ocean, delighted again to see a wide solitary expanse of sand and waves inviting us to cool off! Shoes were quickly shed and all heat and exhaustion forgotten as we dipped our toes in the chilly surf and walked along the beach with only speedy flocks of sanderlings for company.


Drift wood serpent

Drift wood serpent

Here is a map.

A few pictures:



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