Cape Cod Shining Sea Bikeway
The Shining Sea Bikeway (SSB) 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. Directions: To reach the Shining Sea Bikeway, take Route 24 south to 1-495 south to the Bourne Bridge. From points north, take Route 3 south to the Sagamore Bridge rotary. Follow the signs to Buzzards Bay/Falmouth, then cross over the Bourne Bridge. From Bourne Bridge: travel Rt. 28 south to Falmouth. Fork right onto Locust Road Entry to the bikeway parking area is a mile down on the right just past Pin Oak Way. The newer North Falmouth parking area is located on the corner of County Road and Route 151.
Cape Cod Canal Bikeway
This bike way 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.
Directions from the Bourne Bridge: Head west off the South Bourne (Cape-side) Rotary at the bridge. Take the first right and continue along until you see a T intersection. Then, turn right. Parking lot is immediately on the left after you go back under the bridge. Restrooms are open in-season This area currently has limited access because of bridge construction. A makeshift dirt strip exists along the street with enough parking for maybe 8 cars total. As of this writing, there is no definite date for completion and reopening of full facilities here.
From Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center: Take Route 6 to exit 2. Turn left following Route 130 N into Sandwich Center. At Sandwich Center fork, bear left to continue on Route 130 N. Turn right on Tupper Road. (Sandwich Glass Museum on corner). At traffic lights, cross over Route 6A, then take first right at Town Neck Road. Take second left on Coast Guard Road. Turn right at end on Ed Moffitt Drive to enter the Visitor Center parking lot. The building resides next to Joes Lobster Mart and across from Seafood Sams
Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) 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 The CCRT starts at the S. Dennis trailhead parking area, conveniently located just minutes from Route 6 on Route 134. Get off at Exit 9A and head south on Route 134 past Patriots Square plaza and Cumberland Farms. About 1/2 mile down from the exit you’ll see a sign and parking lot on the left – turn here for the trail entrance.
Directions: The CCRT starts at the S. Dennis trailhead parking area, conveniently located just minutes from Route 6 on Route 134. Get off at Exit 9A and head south on Route 134 past Patriots Square plaza and Cumberland Farms. About 1/2 mile down from the exit you’ll see a sign and parking lot on the left – turn here for the trail entrance.
Cape Cod Nickerson State Park Bike Path Network
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.
Directions: Parking can be found in two consecutive lots on the right-hand side of Route 6A heading east towards Orleans. The first one (sign pictured left, lot pictured below, right) is a dirt driveway leading back to an open area big enough for maybe 15 – 20 cars. During the summer, Idle Times Bike Shop (located in Eastham) operates a satellite location here providing bicycle rentals, repair and a limited selection of parts and accessories.
The second lot is much larger, holding 30 – 50 cars. It’s the next immediate turn on the same side of Rt. 6A past the first parking area driveway and sign. Upon turning, bear right at the main entrance to the State Park. Featuring picnic areas, restrooms and telephones, this lot is ideal for families planning a day of riding on the Rail Trail, Nickerson or both.Keep in mind that both lots are also easily accessible from Route 6 by getting off at Exit 12 and heading north on Route 6A in Orleans. Continue on Rt. 6A past the town border into Brewster. The parking areas are located about 2.5 miles down the road on your left from this direction.
Cape Cod National Seashore
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.
Directions: Parking is located at Salt Pond Visitor Center off Route 6 in Eastham. Just bear right at the signs for the National Seashore (heading east) and immediately turn right again into the lot, which is adjacent to the Nauset Marsh Trail entrance. The trailhead resides at the far end of the parking lot, curving right past a small plot of apple trees. Begin here and travel into a stand of locust trees to start your journey. Be sure to watch for other cyclists and pedestrians, as this is a well-traveled route during the summer season.
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.
Directions: From Head of the Meadow Beach, travel Route 6 north toward Provincetown for six miles. Turn right on Race Point Road at your first stoplight. Look for signs marking the Beech Forest area and Province Lands Visitor Center. Race Point Road ends at Race Point Beach. To reach Herring Cove Beach, go to the end of Route 6. Ample parking is available at the Visitor Center year-round. There are approximately 100 spaces in the front lot facing the observation deck and main building. Cyclists are encouraged to park here, as the trail begins at the top of the hill on the far side of the observatory. Route maps can be picked up at the trailhead entrance.