Cape Cod’s many bike trails are some of the most enjoyable ways to see and experience the beauty of Cape Cod. Combined, the network of bike ways offers over 60 miles of breath-taking scenic trails for bicycle riders of all levels. Go places that roads just won’t take you. Get an up-close look at nature in its purest form. All while traveling at your own pace with family, friends and fellow bike riders.
The Cape Cod Canal Bike Way
This bikeway follows the Cape Cod Canal through sections of Bourne and Sagamore, respectively. Maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, it offers fantastic views of the canal’s various boat traffic, along with the area’s quaint shoreline scenery of unique homes and natural beauty.
The path is actually the Corp’s access road, a paved route designated for government vehicles, foot traffic and non-motorized vehicles only. It runs for approximately 7-8 miles between both Bourne and Sagamore Bridges. Featuring a generous width with minimal grades, it’s ideal for casual cyclists, especially families with younger children.
Cape Cod National Seashore – Nauset Marsh Trail
Starting at Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham, the gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Nauset Marsh Trail runs 1.6 miles into National Seashore acreage once inhabited by the Nauset Indian tribe and early Cape Cod settlers. Ending at Coast Guard Beach, the trail here provides panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a paved bikeway that runs 25 miles from South Dennis to Wellfleet. The terrain is relatively flat with some minor grades in certain sections in the Lower / Outer Cape areas, specifically Orleans and Wellfleet. It easily offers the greatest variety in scenery and natural landscapes of all the regional bike paths.
Cape Cod Nickerson State Park Bike Path
Located directly off the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Brewster, Nickerson State Park contains 8 miles of dedicated bike trails. Offering easy access to picnic area and campsites, this hilly and scenic network provides an enjoyable ride through beautiful pine and fir tree forests around ponds, lakes and bogs. It’s a great opportunity to see Nature in its purest form within a unique coastal woodlands ecosystem.
Cape Cod Provincelands Trail
This hilly loop starts from Province Lands Visitor Center in Provincetown. The route is 5.25 miles long. But with the trail extensions to Herring Cove Beach, Race Point Beach and Bennett Pond, two more miles can be added to your distance. Riding the trail is a great way to tour the vast dune system in the Province Lands area, as well as its shady Beech Forest, one of the few places within the tract with extensive tree cover.
Cape Cod Shining Sea Bikeway
The Shining Sea Bikeway was named for a line in the song America The Beautiful, written by Falmouth native Katharine Lee Bates. It follows the original route of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad that used to run from Buzzards Bay, through North and West Falmouth, around Woods Hole and into Falmouth Station. In the early 1970’s the Town of Falmouth purchased the right of way, tore up the tracks and officially opened the 3.3-mile Shining Sea Bikeway in 1975.
In 2009, a new 7.4-mile section was added, extending the trail to North Falmouth. This addition was built with a $3.2 million federal grant. Now the SSB runs 10.7 miles from County Road in North Falmouth all the way to the Steamship Authority parking lot in Woods Hole.
General Trail Information
There are many opportunities to get off the various bike trails and visit local areas and beaches. Food and water are also readily available and public restrooms can be found at Nickerson State Park, Salt Pond Visitors Center at Cape Cod National Seashore and the National Seashore Headquarters. If you do not have a bike, bike rentals are available at many points along the way. For people with disabilities, a limited number of hand-cycles are available for rent at specific bike concessions.
Recommended Trail Etiquette
Along the bike trails, you will encounter trail users of all ages and abilities, including bicyclists, walkers, hikers, runners, inline skaters, wheelchair users, and baby carriages. For the safety and enjoyment of all, please adhere to the following:
- Be courteous of other path users.
- All users keep right, except to pass.
- Stop at all stop signs.
- The trail is open for recreation from dawn to dusk. (Commuters with appropriate lights may use the trail at their own risk).
- Give a clear audible signal before passing and pass only when it is safe to do so.
- Travel at a reasonable speed in a consistent and predictable manner.
- Wear protective headgear. This is required by law for children 16 years and younger, but recommended for all users.
- Respect private property adjacent to the trail.
- Carry in, carry out.