Bicycling on Cape Cod

Bicycling on the Cape Cod Rail Trail Near Nickerson Park

Biking on Cape Cod

Welcome to our page about bicycling on the Cape! Come bicycle on the Cape's beautiful paths and trails, and enjoy the scenery, the sun, the beaches, and the surf along the way. Visit the popular Cape Cod Rail Trail, the Falmouth Shining Sea Trail, the Chatham Bike Route, the Canal Bike paths, the National Seashore, and Nickerson State Park.

Start at the Cape Cod Rail Trail !

Biking on the Rail Trail is a great way for the whole family to experience bicycling on the Cape. The trail now extends from South Dennis to South Wellfleet, and will soon extend from Yarmouth to South Wellfleet, running much of the length of the Cape. Gorgeous lake and cranberry bog views, woodlands, the State Park, and the National Park are right along the trails. The Canal paths provide easy, level bicycling with plenty to see and do along the way as well. 

Biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Dennis

Park Road Nickerson Park

Bicycling on Cape Cod has been enormously popular in recent years. The Cape has always been a wonderful bicycling spot, but in 1978, when the Department of Environmental Management purchased part of the right-of-way along the old Pennsylvania Central Railroad grade and set up the Cape Cod Rail Trail, bicycling really took off.  

Biking Sign

Needless to say, the planners of the Trail, who studied bikeways from as far away as California, are delighted to find that bicycling has become THE hottest thing to do here spring, summer, and fall. It has gotten to the point that if you visit Cape Cod and don't go bicycling, well .... just don't say it too loudly when you get back. A rainy day will find many visitors on the Cape's roadways, touring from place to place and from one breathtaking sight to the next. 

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. 

Chatham Beach View

Cape Cod Canal Bikepath

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 its superb 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.

Be sure to check out our Cape Cod Bike Book - for 25 years it has provided up to date information about bicycling on Cape Cod. We have all the exact locations where to park and where the trails go, but we have detailed descriptions of what you can see along each trail - nature, history, environment, popular places right near the trails, etc. 

Cape Cod Canal Trails

Cape Cod Canal Bike Trails>
Sagamore Bridge and Cape Cod Canal

Cape Cod Canal Bike Trails

Some of the most pleasant bicycling on the Cape is found right along the Cape Cod Canal. The bike paths follow the service roads maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. 

These roads offer some of the finest sightseeing that the Cape has to offer. There is always something to watch going through the busy Canal, which is wider than the Panama Canal.  The Canal is a destination itself! 

Beneath Sagamore Bridge

Sagamore Bridge View

These interesting paired eight-mile bicycle routes, one on each side of the Canal, provide continuous cool breezes and fantastic scenery. These paths follow the service roads along both sides of the Canal. They are popular for bicycling, walking, and rollerblading. The biking is entirely on the level, parking is excellent, and sightseers can view the scenic Bourne and Sagamore bridges from unique perspectives unavailable to automobile drivers. 

Other attractions along the Cape Cod Canal bike paths are the Canal Marina, the Canal Electric Plant, the US Coast Guard Station, the Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Scusset Beach and Fish Pier, and Bourne Scenic Park. You can stop anywhere along the bike paths to rest, picnic, try some fishing, or soak up the sun. 

Bicycling on the Cape Cod Canal Mainland Side

Stopping to Rest Along the Cape Cod Canal

Because the Cape Cod Canal bike paths are entirely on the level, they are a great bicycling spot for families that want an easy route with lots to see and do. Locals come here year round, visitors stop here on their way to the Cape, and many make bicycling on the Canal a part of their trip. If you are looking for a walking path with lots to see and do, this is the place for that, too!

To best see the exact parking locations on the individual maps on our web page, first be sure to enlarge the map to full screen using the icon near the top right of the map.  Then you can zoom way in.  Once you open the full screen map, satellite view is at the bottom left; also, the legend can be collapsed at the top right of the legend. The satellite view will show the exact parking locations for each trail.  

Cape Cod Rail Trail and Yarmouth Trail

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Most would agree that the most popular of the bicycling trails on Cape Cod is the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

While a few portions of the Rail Trail are not especially splendid, it being, after all, a railroad grade, most sections are quite beautiful, and some are simply spectacular.

Cape Cod Rail Trail in South Dennis

Highlights of the Cape Cod Rail Trail include the famous cranberry bogs in Harwich, particulary beautiful in the fall, the sunny views at Long Pond and Seymour Pond, and the adjoining Salt Pond Bike Trail and Visitor Center in Eastham. In Brewster, the trail goes right to Nickerson State Park with its own bike trails, its campgrounds, picnic areas, ponds for swimming, and thousands of acres of woodlands.

Cape Cod Rail Trail in Brewster

During 2006-2007, reconstruction of the Rail Trail from Route 134 in Dennis to Welfleet vastly improved the already famous Cape Cod Rail Trail. Initially completed in 1983, the Cape Cod Rail Trail for more than 20 years extended from Route 134 in South Dennis to Lecount Hollow Road in South Wellfleet, running much of the length of Cape Cod in the mid-Cape and lower-Cape. Work will be completed in 2017 to extend the trail from Yarmouth to South Wellfleet, joining with the current Yarmouth Bike Trail that starts at the large parking area at Peter Homer Park on Townhouse Road in South Yarmouth.  When the work is complete, the trail will run from its new start in Yarmouth to South Wellfleet.  Additional parking will be at Station Avenue (exit 8) and Old Bass River Road in South Dennis. New pedestrian bridges will allow bicyclists to safely cross Station Avenue and Route 134 and a new bridge will eventually replace the railroad bridge over Bass River as well.

Gorgeous lake and cranberry bog views, woodlands, Nickerson State Park, and the National Park are right along the trail. Just a short distance off the trail are many places to eat, to shop, to swim, or just to enjoy the scenery of the Cape. The Cape Cod Rail Trail has become a "must-do" for bicyclists on the Cape.

Biking in Harwich

From Yarmouth to Wellfleet, there are things to see and do along the Rail Trail, from great views to quiet beaches to lots of food! In Harwich, gorgeous pond views invites us all to take a rest! And in Brewster, Nickerson State Park with its own bike trail system beckons us all for a short picnic or fresh water swim. Rock Harbor in Orleans, a busy port for traffic to Boston in the 1800's, offers an historical perspective as well as stunning views of Cape Cod Bay. It is just a short distance south of the trail in Orleans center. And of course, Orleans center itself is a great place to rest, shop, and dine. And not to be missed are the sights along the trail in Eastham and Wellfleet. Several beaches are accessible by short side routes from the Rail Trail. And of course, there are always the ice cream shops and country stores along the way.

Biking on the Rail Trail is generally quite easy, although be wary of the high volumes of bicycling traffic and of automobiles at the many cross roads. Because of this, stay with your children and be sure to walk, not ride, across main roads. Try not to be tempted to set distance records. Instead, use our guide and try to really stop to see some of the things along the Trail.

Chatham Bike Route and Old Colony Rail Trail

Chatham Beach Near Chatham Lighthouse

Chatham Bike Route

One of the most pleasant routes on the Cape is found at the elbow of the Cape, in Chatham. Though this route is not an off road path, and it runs along main roads, it is a fine ride, totalling about eight miles in length. 

There is a wealth of scenery to take in while visiting Chatham, and lots of shops to see in Chatham for those so inclined as well. There are some breathtaking views from the Chatham Light area, overlooking the breakers and the sandbars there; bathing is available at several beaches, and there are many restaurants and stores right in the center of town.

In a small area, Chatham offers a number of things to see, including Chatham's famous lighthouse, Coast Guard Station, and weather facility. You can also stop at the Chatham fish pier where commercial fishing can be seen closeup, and view the breathtaking sights along the shore of the treacherous Chatham bars. 

The bars have become famous because of the erosion that has happened there in recent years, threatening houses and toppling them into the sea; the storm tides are always changing this area, and it is always awesome to see Main Street in Chatham.

Chatham Bars Near Monomoy

Fishing Boats in Chatham

There are many beautiful sights right along the path of Chatham's well-planned route. including numerous ocean views. If you tire of biking, it is only a few hundred yards from parts of the trial to Chatham's renowned Main Street shops and restaurants. There are several parking areas along the route. While most of the bicycling is level, be particularly cautious along this route, as sightseers in automobiles or on bicycles may be distracted by the scenery themselves and may not be watching for you. 

An extension of the Rail Trail, now called the Old Colony Rail Trail, begun in 2004 and completed in 2006, brings bicyclists from Harwich to Chatham.  It runs from Harwich to Chatham center where you can directly connect to the Chatham route.

Cape Cod National Seashore Trails

Cape Cod National Seashore Entrance

Salt Pond Visitor Center

Cape Cod National Seashore Bike Paths

There are miles of bicycle paths found within the Cape Cod National Seashore. Besides the Rail Trail that passes through the Park, other bicycle paths are found in Provincetown, Truro, and Eastham. While many local residents disputed the wisdom of forming the National Park in the 1960's, few will disagree now about the blessing that it has been, especially in preventing over-development and in teaching an appreciation for Cape Cod's natural resources. 

The bicycle trails that the seashore maintains are among the best on the Cape, with fantastic ocean breezes and scenery that will definitely become a part of your memories! Be sure to stop to see what the National Park offers in terms of tours, talks, and displays at the recently-renovated Salt Pond Visitor Center and at the Provincelands Visitor Center!

Nauset Lighthouse

The Outermost of Lands - Coast Guard Beach

Bicyclists on Cape Cod could spend a full vacation at the Cape Cod National Seashore alone. There are so many things to do there, especially for children! There are great tours and guided walks that they provide, free of charge. The Nauset Trail (Salt Pond Trail) takes you over gently rolling hills once occupied by the Nauset Native Americans as well as by early settlers on Cape Cod. 

Nauset Marsh

Coast Guard Beach

From the trail, there are many views to Coast Guard Beach and to the old Coast Guard Station, views that only bicyclists and walkers can enjoy. The path crosses the great Nauset Marshes on a wooden bridge, and then ends on the bluff overlooking Coast Guard Beach. Here there is an unforgettable view to the east over the Atlantic. Bike racks are provided and the beach itself is a certain invitation. 

It was at this beach that Henry Beston lived for a year in a small shack, writing the famous book "The Outermost House", and it was here that during the blizzard of 1978 several homes, a bath house and the large parking area were destroyed, never to be replaced. The surf is high here, and it is still relentlessly cutting away at the coast. 

The trail is a must for all bicyclists on the Cape and is only moderate in difficulty, a fabulous place for a day's picnic. 

Old Coast Guard Station Eastham

Cape Cod National Seashore -  Provincelands

The Provincelands Trails are a certain favorite for Cape bicyclists, although most agree that they are difficult bicycling, as they follow the hilly terrain over all its ups and downs and have sharp curves in spots. The trails total about seven miles in length, passing over the undulating dunes of Provincetown and over successions of land spits, each one formed north of its predecessor to form the entire Provincetown area. 

From protected, shallow ponds to exposed dunes, from stunning views to the mainland, to access to fine sand beaches at Herring Cove and Race Point, these trails offer much. Bicyclists should be certain to stop at the Provincelands Visitor Center, atop which is an observation platform with panoramic views of all the surrounding area, Cape Cod Bay, and the mainland. 

The Head of the Meadow Trail is a very level trail that takes you along the edge of the Salt Meadow to the Head of the Meadow Beach, both in Truro. This pleasant four mile round trip runs between two interesting geological areas, the high hills to the south that mark the end of the glacial deposits that formed Cape Cod thousands of years ago, and the sand deposits (dunes area to the north) that have since created the entire Provincetown area. The Salt Meadow itself marks the location of the north shorelines of Cape Cod at some point thousands of years ago. Picnic tables, easy bicycling, and a wonderful beach (heavy surf, though!) make this a trail not to miss.

Falmouth Shining Sea Trail

Shining Sea Bike Trail

Falmouth Shining Sea Trail

This beautiful trail now runs from Woods Hole 10.7 miles to County Road in North Falmouth. While tiny, Woods Hole itself is a fantastic destination and opportunity, with several museums museums, the Nobska lighthouse area, and busy science centers providing plenty to see and do. There are many restaurants and stores right in Woods Hole, as well. Falmouth Center also provides many opportunities for visitors. 

The Shining Sea Trail runs directly along Martha's Vineyard Sound in some spots - you can literally stop for a swim or picnic right on the beach. The north section of the trail passes the beautiful Sippewisset Marshes and gorgeous views of Buzzards Bay.

Falmouth Beach

Starting just outside Falmouth Center, the Falmouth Shining Sea Trail provides a nice, level ride on an off road bike path between North Falmouth and Woods Hole. The bike trail has recently been extended to the north and will shortly extend all the way to the Cape Cod Canal. This is a fantastic trail with gorgeous views of Vineyard Sound as well as Buzzards Bay. 

Following the old Penn Central Railroad grade, the path runs through some beautiful areas and for some distance follows right along the water's edge, with views of Martha's Vineyard on the horizon.

Be sure to see Woods Hole! At the south end, the trail ends at the Woods Hole Steamship Authority parking lot, where it is only a short walk to the sights of famous and quaint Woods Hole. Here you can see the Oceanographic Intitution and its sailing vessels when in port, the National Marine Fisheries and their aquaria which are great fun for the kids, and the famous Nobska light. 

Woods Hole

From Woods Hole, you can also get the ferries to Martha's Vineyard or to Nantucket. Be especially cautious in Woods Hole, as roads are very narrow and traffic is heavy. Parking is difficult in Woods Hole during the summer. North from Falmouth Center, the trail passes incredible scenery at Little and Great Sippewisset Marshes and West Falmouth Harbor and provides close access to several beaches in West Falmouth, including Chapoquoit Beach.

Woods Hole Pier

Nickerson State Park Bicycling Trails

Camping at Nickerson Park

Bike Trail at Nickerson Park

Nickerson State Park Bike Paths

The bike trail system at Nickerson State Park in Brewster is extensive. You could easily spend an entire day just bicycling on the bicycle paths found within Nickerson State Park.  In all there are almost ten miles of trails at Nickerson.   These bike trails tie in directly to the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  At the Park, there is camping, swiming, picnicing, and some beautiful wooded areas that only hikers and bikers are able to enjoy.  

The Park is named for Roland Nickerson, born in Brewster and enriched by the railroads in the West. Upon returning to Brewster, Nickerson built the sumptuous buildings now owned by Ocean Edge, as his "summer place", and kept the land across the road as his "park". In the 1930's his widow donated the land to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, creating a bit of "wildness forever" on Cape Cod.

Nickerson State Park Sign

While Nickerson State Park is a busy spot in the summer, there are many quiet places to be treasured by those who seek them - beautiful spruce stands, stately White Pines (on the Ober Trail), an old cedar swamp, and peaceful and relaxing ponds.

The park offers restroom facilities, picnic grounds, fresh-water swimming, and camping (reservations at  The Nickerson trails can provide some glimpses of real out-of-the-way nature that 
many tourists don't get to see.

Bicycling in the Park is difficult in some spots, and it is all at least moderate in difficulty as there are several steep hills and many smaller ones.  Beginners, though, can choose a shorter route and still see the quiet beauty of Cape Cod's woodlands.

Cliff Pond Brewster

Cape Cod Bike Book

Cape Cod Bike Book

Cape Cod Rail Trail, Falmouth Shining Sea Trail, Nickerson State Park Trails, National Seashore Trails

The Cape Cod Bike Book includes detailed descriptions of all major bike routes on the Cape, with detailed directions and information on where to park as well as interesting places to watch for along the bicycle trails. There are trails or paths in each town of the Cape and custom online maps that you can save to your cell phone and take with you as you ride for every route in every town!

The book includes bicycling information from the Cape Cod Canal to Provincetown, including the Canal bike paths, Falmouth - Woods Hole Shining Sea bike path, several bicycle routes in Barnstable and Hyannis, several routes in Dennis, the entire Cape Cod Rail Trail, all the Nickerson State Park trails, as well as routes in Orleans, Eastham, Truro, Wellfleet and in Provincetown, as well as all the National Park trails.

The Cape Cod Bike Book is authored by a local Cape Cod resident. Published and revised annually, it gives a real insider's view to the Cape, information about facilities, points of interest, notes on history, ecology, where to stop, what to see a just a short way off the main path, etc. All the main bicycle trails are included, as well as some custom routes that will get you off-the-beaten path and seeing Cape scenery that others may miss.

Just click here to purchase the Cape Cod Bike Book at - it's just $7.99.

You can also buy directly from the publisher for the same price; they ship to US or international locations.

Additional Cape Cod Information

Additional Cape Cod Links 

Bike Shops and Rentals on Cape Cod

Hyannis and North Falmouth

South Dennis

North Eastham and Orleans

Little Capistrano Bike Shop

Cape Cod Bike Path Maps

Below are the overview bike guide maps from the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Town of Falmouth, the Cape Cod National Seashore, and the Town of Chatham. To best see the maps, be sure to enlarge them to full screen with the icon at the top right of each map.  Detail maps showing parking locations are found in each bike trail section of our page, above.

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Cape Cod Canal Paths

Shining Sea Bike Path

Nauset Trail, Head of the Meadow and
Provincelands Bike Trails

Old Colony Rail Trail and Chatham Bike Route