Shining Sea Bikeway

Trail Map

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Curling nearly 11 miles past woodlands, marshes, salt ponds and seascape, the Shining Sea Bikeway is the only bikeway on Cape Cod to skirt the shore. Also called the Shining Sea Bike Path, the paved trail extends from County Route 151 in Falmouth to the Woods Hole Steamship Authority's site in Woods Hole, a historical seaside fishing village and home to an internationally known scientific community.

Rich in history, the bikeway follows prehistoric Wampanoag Indian trails. Members of the Algonquin Nation, the peaceful Wampanoag were notable seafarers who thrived here on a plentiful diet of shellfish, fish, game, wildfowl, berries, roots and nuts. In 1620 Wampanoag Chief Massasoit greeted Pilgrims, the first substantial wave of European immigrants. By the 1850s, Falmouth had become a destination for summer tourists, and the Penn Central Railroad soon stretched from Monument Village to Woods Hole, tracing the ancient Wampanoag trails.

The railroad stopped service in 1957, and within 20 years, the bikeway was built and dedicated as part of Falmouth's bicentennial celebrations. Today it serves as an inter-modal transportation link, connecting automobile, bus, ferry and bicycle routes. Its name comes from "America the Beautiful," the famous poem by Katherine Lee Bates, a Falmouth native.

From Falmouth head south through a residential and commercial district. Along the shaded path you will soon reach an information kiosk and spur path to the left for the Salt Pond Areas Bird Sanctuary. This 60-acre preserve between the bikeway and ocean offers a network of footpaths from which you can spot many species of shorebirds as well as river otters and muskrats. Soon after the sanctuary, the trail leaves the woods to reveal an expansive ocean view. This is truly the scenic highlight of the bikeway. Between the trail and the ocean lies Trunk River Beach, a barrier strand consisting of pebbles, cobbles and sand. Pause here to breathe in the sea air or watch ospreys and herons glide over Vineyard Sound.

Continuing along the shore, the bikeway soon crosses the Woods Hole Steamship Authority parking lot. The trail ends in Woods Hole, affording you plenty of places to eat or shop.

Parking and Trail Access

There are several places to park in the southern half of the trail. In Woods Hole, street spaces are available. You'll also find several places as you head north from Woods Hole on Fay Road. Other parking is on Oyster Pond Road, Elm Road and several places in Falmouth (refer to the map for more details).


Great Trail

   August, 2015 by mcgeever

I rode the trail today and loved it! This trail has just about everything you would need or want to see along the way. There are so many things to discover and areas to explore, you would need to take the ride several times. It is great for everyone! more

Shining Sea - Gorgeous Ride

   July, 2015 by sunnshyn1

I hope that there are plans to extend this to the Cape Cod Canal, however, until then this is beautiful! Nice ride, beautiful scenery through farms, marsh, along the ocean and right down to Woods Hole which is nice to walk around. If you want a little more

Take a side trip to Nobska Lighthouse

   April, 2015 by slipsoup

This trail offers various types of scenery including ocean, cranberry bogs, and marshlands. My husband and I started our ride in Falmouth. The parking lot is located across the street from the bus terminal on Depot Ave. We set our GPS to 1 Depot Ave. more