Otis - Crane WMA

Southeast MA

Otis - Crane WMA

194 Nathan Ellis Hwy
Falmouth  Massachusetts  02536
United States

Easy

30%

Moderate

50%

Difficult

20%

Description

The riding in the Bourne/Falmouth area is usually referred to as riding at Otis. The riding area abuts the Otis Air Force Base which has been officially closed to anyone except official personal since the events of September 11th 2001.
Most people don't realize that they are actually riding on Town of Falmouth Conservation Land and The Frances Crane Wildlife Management Area, which is not part of the base. Unfortunately, there is really no physical delineation between these areas. Most people ride Otis without ever crossing into base land or seeing military police. But, if you happen to be crossing a paved road and encounter a base official, they will ask you to leave, or perhaps escort you out. They are not out there patrolling, or looking for mountain bikers in the woods. If you see what looks like base housing or the National Cemetery you are no longer in an open riding area.
Cape Cod NEMBA members do some of the upkeep on Otis's trails. Here are a couple of pictures taken on a late winter Trail Care day. where the emphasis was on removing winter deadfalls from the trails.
  
Directions
The best way to access the riding is from Route 151. There are a lot of trails in this area which do not go into base property. Parking is along Route 151 near the dirt mound on your left after you exit from Mac Arthur Blvd. (Rt.28), or 100 yards after that on your right. There is also parking about a mile away at the junction of Route 151 and Cloverfield Lane. From here, you bike to the end of the big field, cross the railroad tracks and enter the trails area.
The Crane Wildlife Manageent Area extends along route 151 for a few miles and there are many parking areas to choose from. You'll find many many miles of relatively easy trails to explore leading out of any of these parking lots. However, most people choose to park and to ride near the dirt mound. To explore the rest of the WMA head east along route 151 and park in any of the many well marked parking lots. Small parking areas are scattered along the north side of Route 151, from the Route 28 junction east to the Nickelodeon Theater. Locals park in a big lot on the west side of Sandwich Road. The Sandwich Road & Route 151 intersection hosts a Dunkin Donuts and many people meet or end their rides there.
The Eastern Ares of the Crane WMA
The eastern portion of the Crane Wildlife Management Area is located just to the north of Otis in the town of Falmouth. But unlike Otis’ unending singletracks Crane’s trails are mostly flat, and many consist of easy to navigate dirt roads. The singletracks, of which there are many, were created by The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Game. They consist of mowed tracks that wind through the Pitch Pine and Scrub Oak woods. Created to provide hunters easy access to the deep woods between the fireroads, these singletracks are a perfect way to explore the woodlands and to get lost. Crane is big. At over 1800 acres you’ll ride here for many days before you can fully explore it and begin to link everything together. Expect to rack up big mileage when you ride Crane. There’s nothing to stop you and only an occasional sandy spot will slow you down. Crane is a perfect place to bring the family, or people with little riding experience as the mostly flat non-technical trails offer a great introduction to riding. Bring your camera. I’ve seen more wildlife at Crane than anywhere else on the Cape. And speaking of that wildlife, remember The Crane Wildlife Management Area is very popular with hunters in season.
Hunting season in Massachusetts runs from fall till spring and a complete list of dates is located here. However, there’s no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays, so during hunting season I do my riding at Crane on Sundays.

The Riding
The riding at "Otis" mostly consists of fast singletrack that run up, down and around a long series of drumlins that head north paralleling route 28 heading north. There are some very technical trails and some very long hills. Expect to spend a lot of time exploring. Most people think the Cape is flat. And since the maximum elevation on the whole peninsula of Cape Cod is about 265 feet tht's understandable. But, at Otis you'll do a LOT of short climbs - - - A lot.
 Crane WMA West Map   There are many more trails than are shown on the WMA maps.
Riding in the eastern portions of "Otis" on what most people call the Crane Wildlife Management area is much mellower. Crane WMA East Map
 

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