The Best Bike Route For Discovering Falmouth And Woods Hole
Woods HoleNorth Falmouth 10.7 miles 2 hours
The Shining Sea Bikeway takes its name from a line in the song America the Beautiful, written by Falmouth native Katharine Lee Bates in 1895. This 10.7-mile route travels between the Steamship Authority ferry terminal at Woods Hole and North Falmouth, and was once a spur of the New Haven and Hartford Railroad.
Flat and paved, the Shining Sea Bikeway passes cranberry bogs, the Great Sippewissett Marsh, and the historic Bourne Farm nature sanctuary, running roughly parallel to the 28A. The Falmouth, Quissett, Trunk River and Fay beaches are easily reached along the south end of the Bikeway.
The northern end of the bikeway has a bike station with tools and pumps available, and nearby Bike Zone rents and repairs bikes. The proposed 6.5-mile Bourne Rail Trail will eventually connect the Shining Sea Bikeway to the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway.
Iii Cape Cod Canal Bikeway
Distance: 14.1 Miles
The Cape Cod Canal Bikeway begins at Bourne Bridge and ends at Sagamore Bridge near Scusset Beach. The terrain is very flat concrete which makes it a popular spot for cyclists, walkers, runners, and inline skaters. It is divided by a yellow line to allow for a two-way flow of traffic. The other perk of this bike path is that you can enjoy the view of the boats and fishermen along the canal. Due to its popularity, this path can get crowded so be mindful of bike etiquette.
Parking & Beginning of Bike Path
21 Bourne Bridge, Bourne, MA 02532
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A Great Trail For All Riders Despite Numerous Road Crossings
I recently rode almost the entire Cape Cod Rail Trail starting in Yarmouth at Peter Homer Park and ending at its terminus in Wellfleet. The entire path is paved, mostly shaded, in near perfect condition and is wide enough to accommodate many people using the trail. There are many trailheads that allow you to ride the trail for as long as you’d like. Orleans is a perfect stop to get something to eat or visit the bike shop there. There is one short on road section that was very well marked and offered a wide bike lane to protect riders. There are numerous road crossings throughout the trail most of which are quiet two lane roads that were very lightly trafficked even on a Saturday but there are a few that were busier intersections. I must say that all of the drivers were beyond respectful to the trail riders, some of the best drivers I have interacted with and I have rode trails in many states along the east coast. The trail was very busy on a lovely Fall afternoon, just be courteous and patient when passing and you will enjoy the Cape Cod Rail Trail!
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Ii Cape Cod Rail Trail
Distance: 27.5 Miles
Note that they are working on extending the trail. Check for trail closures via their website.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail extends from South Yarmouth to South Wellfleet. You can enjoy relatively flat and paved terrain with some elevated sections near Wellfleet and Orleans. This is another historical trail as it follows the original Cape Cod Central Railroad, completed in 1865. The CCRT includes wooded areas, parks, bridges, ocean views, and charming coastal towns. Be aware that this route does include road crossings. The view of the dunes and ocean in Wellfleet is worth the venture!
Parking & Beginning of Bike Path:
505 Main St, South Dennis, MA 02660
Have Anything To Add About This Trail
..Rail Trail on the NorthEast Coast in our opinion. We visited for the fourth time and stayed several days in Orleans, MA for the sole purpose of riding this Trail and did so several times. Easy access to the Trail from our hotel . Perfect pavement. Riding South and West the first day through varied scenery including Cranberry bogs and even a beautiful beach. From the roundabout you can access the Old Colony Trail. Dont miss stopping for Ice Cream at Ferrettis Market . Home made ice cream for $5 a serving, not a scoop!!!! Best Ive ever had. The extreme west end becomes a bit desolate as you pass the Blue Rock golf course. The following day we cycled North from our base in Orleans to the new end point 1 mile north of the original. Easy access from several places to the beaches and worthwhile for the view even if you dont swim. SHARK WARNINGS POSTED.
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Cape Cod Rail Trail Facts
States: Counties: Length: Trail end points: Trail surfaces:
Closure Notice: Starting March 15, 2021, the Lecount Hollow trailhead and parking lot will be closed as the DCR works on extending the trail please consult the official project site for the latest information.
Cape Cods briny seaports, sandy beaches, delectable seafood, and diverse landscape of salt marshes, pine forests, and cranberry bogs can all be experienced from the 27.5-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail. Completely paved and mostly flat, the trail is a popular destination for families and recreational bicyclists.
The route follows 19th-century rail lines that carried vacationers to the once remote peninsula from Boston and New York City. Between Yarmouth and Orleans, the trail follows the Cape Cod Central Railroad, completed in 1865. The Old Colony Railroad bought the line in 1872, then extended it from Orleans to Provincetown, past the trails current endpoint in Wellfleet. Passenger service ceased in 1937, and freight hung on until the mid-1960s. By 1978 the trail was in place, and vacationers once again hit the corridor, but this time on foot, in-line skates, and bicycles.
Best Ride To Experience The Cape Cod National Seashore
Provincetown 5.5 miles 12 hours
Just north of Provincetown, the Province Lands Bike Trail is a 5.5-mile loop trail at the very tip of the Cape, within the protected area of the Cape Cod National Seashore, with short spur trails to Race Point Beach , Herring Cove Beach and Bennett Pond .
The main trail has four access points, including at Province Lands Visitor Center, which overlooks Race Point Beach. The loop trail can be slightly hilly as it winds through sand dunes and sand often blows over the pavement in some areas, so bikes with wider tires are recommended.
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Finishing Your Rail Trail Cape Cod Adventure In Wellfleet
The final stop on your adventure across Cape Cod is Wellfleet, which rests halfway between the tip and elbow of the eastern side of the peninsula. There are two places where you can park your car if you decide to start the journey from here the headquarters for the Cape Cod National Seashore on Marconi Site Road and by the Wellfleet Trailhead on Lecount Hollow Road.
Take The Nauset Bike Trail
I recommend that you take a side trip on the Nauset Bike Trail. It adds about 5 miles to the trip. In Eastham, there are signs directing you off the trail. You reach the Salt Pond Visitors Center and the Cape Cod National Seashore. The trail to Coast Guard Beach weaves through forest terrain. There is a former Coast Guard station, which happened to be open the day we were there. . We were there for International Marconi Day. The radio operators were sending Morse Code messages in an attempt to reach different countries. Also, the beach was nice to walk on. It was definitely the highlight of the trail.
Cape Cod Rail Trail Is Great
The trail is in great condition, I have gone from Dennis to Wellfleet last weekend and the trail is nice and smooth, you could roller blade on it but I biked, I have also gone from Dennis to Chatman last year and it is just as nice. It great to have such a nice trail to ride on, and the cars on the road always stop when you want to cross.
Cape Cod Canal Bikeway
This bikeway follows the Cape Cod Canal as it winds its way from Cape Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay. Doubling as the canal access road, it runs approximately 7-8 miles between the Bourne and Sagamore bridges. A wide road with minimal grades, this is the ideal path for beginner to casual cyclists, especially families with younger children.
Following the length of the canal with great views of passing yachts and working barges, youll be joined by plenty of pedestrians, inline skaters, and joggers. Fortunately, dozens of park benches are scattered along the path at regular intervals, so you can take a break and enjoy the passing boat traffic.
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Following The Rail Trail Through Harwich And Brewster
As you continue the journey northeast, youll pass through Harwich and Brewster. There are several places along this section where you can stop for a picnic and detour to other towns and trails. Youll find Cape Cod Rail Trail parking on Headwaters Drive in Harwich, on Long Pond Road in Brewster, and at Nickerson State Park in Brewster, which is just down the road from Candleberry Inn.
The Shining Sea Bike Path
The Shining Sea Bike path is the only Cape Cod Bike Path that runs along the ocean. It runs through the town of Falmouth, passing through many of its villages. It offers views of the many biospheres of Cape Cod- historic farms, marshes, ponds, cranberry farms, and the Atlantic Ocean offering views of Marthas Vineyard.
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Where To Pick Up The Cape Cod Rail Trail From Chatham
If youre visiting Chatham and want to explore the Rail Trail from there, you can get to it via the Old Colony Rail Trail. Its asphalt-covered and has an easy-to-intermediate difficulty. This path runs west through Harwich, where it connects with the Cape Cod path at the Harwich bicycle rotary. On the other hand, you can always detour to Chatham from the Cape Cod trail. You can see the route on this map.
Dennis To Orleans Is Nice
We did this trail in 2 days, Dennis to Webster then Webster to Wellfleet. The trail is nice and scenic Dennis to Orleans because you go by some ponds. There are some nice beaches and a state park where you can cool off. There is not much scenery from Orleans to Wellfleet. At the end of the trail in Wellfleet there is a general store and port a potties. You would have to ride about 2 miles on route 6 which is very busy or go about 5 miles on very hilly roads to get to any restaurants and that is pretty much all there is in Wellfleet. I suggest take a break at the end, get some food at the store, then head back. Or just go to Orleans. If you do go into Wellfleet and come back route 6 go all the way to the Marconi Beach turnoff where there are walk lights for an easy crossing.
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From There Many More Trails
Added to trails at the Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham, Truro, and Provincetown, and to the trails at Nickerson State Park in Brewster and the Shining Sea Trail in Falmouth, the Rail Trail provides the backbone to link Cape Cod’s bicycle paths into an unequalled opportunity for sightseers and exercise-seekers alike.
Bicycle “tourists” are finding, too, that the motor tourists are missing more than just a few things, from unique perspectives of the magnificent Bourne and Sagamore bridges, to closeups of life in the dunes, to access to quieter beaches and freshwater swimming, “whispering white pines” in Brewster, and so much more. Sometimes you’ve just got to get out there in the middle of things, and the bicycle routes on Cape Cod let you do that splendidly.
Pilgrim Springs, for example, widely reputed to be the spot where the Pilgrims first found fresh water in America, is easily accessed along the Head of the Meadow bike trail in Truro. All of Chatham’s famous sights, from its Fish Pier to its eroding shore, to its Coast Guard Station, are found along the superb Chatham bike route. And the trails in Provincetown couldn’t bring you closer to the treasures of the sand dunes and beaches at the Cape’s tip.
Starting Your Journey In Yarmouth And Dennis
The best place to start the Rail Trail is in Yarmouth and Dennis. The Yarmouth section of the route is the most recent addition and was completed in spring 2019. On this Cape Cod Rail Trail map, you can see that parking is available on Station Avenue. The path continues west through Peter Homer Park, where theres additional parking, and currently ends at Higgins Crowell Road. To the east, Cape Cod Rail Trail Dennis parking is available in the Main Street parking lot and at the South Dennis Trailhead on East-West Dennis Road.
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Excellent Respect From Cars
Biked the trail out and back on 8/5/19. New west end is smooth as butter older east and northern parts have root bumps but are fine. Consider riding your hybrid, gravel, or mountain ride instead of your skinny bike. There are many road crossings but the Cape Cod drivers are amazingly respectful. They all stop. Be very very careful anyway, of course. 5 star trail.
Parking At Cape Cod Rail Trail
Parking at Nickerson State Park charged Memorial Day through October 31
MA resident $5
Free parking for trail users is available at:
Trailhead at Stations Avenue, South Yarmouth
- Trailhead at Route 134 in South Dennis
- Headwaters Drive in Harwich
- Route 137 in Brewster
- Cape Cod National Seashore at the Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham
- National Seashore at Marconi Area
- Trailhead at LeCount Hollow Road in South Wellfleet
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The Ultimate Guide To Exploring The Cape Cod Rail Trail This Year
Being outdoors, breathing fresh air, and enjoying the scenery is what exploring the Cape Cod Rail Trail is all about. Especially from spring through fall , couples and families walk and bike the path. It has become part of Cape Cod culture and an annual tradition for many recreational cyclists. Weve put together a guide of what to see and do and where to eat along the Cape Cod Rail Trail this year.
One Among The Best Trails I Have Biked
I’m rating this trail 4 stars rather than 5 only because I was expecting more “Cape Cod” scenery, otherwise it is a great trail paved the entire length, well marked, etc. It is what a rail-trial should be. We did see cranberry bogs and the such, but also lots of trees as is typical of rail-trails in the east. This is certainly one of the busiest trails we’ve ridden on, comparable to the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia or the Manhattan greenways in NYC. As mentioned in another review the cars always tend to stop at the trail crossings, as regular trail riders elsewhere this was very strange to us and can lead to a dangerous situation of compliancy for novice riders. Parking at the end point trail heads in Wellfleet & Dennis was a premium, both lots were filled early on a Wednesday morning in late July, so plan accordingly.All-in-all this is an excellent and well developed trail that provides cape vacationers a fantastic off beach activity.
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Guide To Cape Cod Biking Paths
Time to dust off your bike helmets and get outside for an invigorating bike ride through the diverse terrain of Cape Cod. This tiny spit of sand boasts miles of paved bike paths that suit both novice and expert cyclists. However, it helps to know a little bit about what youre getting into when you hop on your two-wheeler and venture into uncharted territory. With a little advance planning along with this guide to Cape Cod biking paths, youll be ready for a rewarding day pedaling your way through sand dunes and salt marshes.
When you stay at the Captain Farris House in historic Bass River Village in South Yarmouth, MA, youll be in the heart of Cape Cod. From our location you can head north, south, east, or west to any number of well-marked and maintained bike paths. Read on for what to expect on all of Cape Cods lovely bike trails.
Continuing The Trek Up To Orleans And Eastham
From Brewster, following the map of the Cape Cod Rail Trail east and north will take you through Orleans and Eastham. If you start the journey in Orleans, theres only one designated parking lot on Old Colony Way, and it has a vehicle charging station. Eastham doesnt have designated parking along the route, so keep that in mind while planning your trip.
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Completed It With My Nine Year Old
I had wanted to do this trail since I was a kid. I took my family out on it and completed the entire trail in two days. I documented the entire trek. The best stops to make start in Orleans. If you want a perspective of what it is like here is a video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYPiNHN9P1gI also extended the end and biked to the Beachcomber in Wellfleet. totally worth getting a beer at the end.