Cape Cod Canal Bikeway


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Cape Cod Canal Bikeway Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Barnstable
Length: 13.9 miles
Trail end points: (South of canal) Old Monument Neck Rd. to Freezer Rd. and (North of canal) Canal St. to Scusset Beach Rd.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015941
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Cape Cod Canal Bikeway Description

The Cape Cod Canal Bikeway connects Cape Cod Bay and the communities of Sandwich and Sagamore on its eastern end with Buzzards Bay and the community of Bourne on its western end. Following both banks of the canal, the trail offers access to parking, restrooms, picnic areas, and fishing spots from either side.

But the highlight of the experience is the canal itself. Each year, 14,000 commercial and recreational vessels use the canal and the trail offers a fascinating viewpoint for watching them go by. Learn the history of the canal at the museum inside the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center (60 Ed Moffitt Drive, Sandwich) on the east end of the trail.

On the west end of the trail, you'll have a stunning view of the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge, one of the longest lift bridges in the U.S., which carries trains across the canal and rises 135 feet above the water.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway, head west off the South Bourne Rotary at the bridge on the Cape side. Take the first right and continue to the T intersection, where you turn right. Parking is on the left after you go back under the bridge. Restrooms are open in season only.

Cape Cod Canal Bikeway Reviews

Flat and fast, very scenic.

Great trail. Mostly flat.

Trail goes over canal on one of the bridges. I didn't bother.

Lots of boats, Fisherman, just plain folks exercising.

Birds, Birds, and more Birds. Mostly off path.

Most bikes (modified to carry fishing gear) ridden by older gentlemen looking for a spot to cast their lines. Only saw one fish being pulled in.

The pace is SLOW...

In this case The Corps of Engineers are spending their money wisely.

I was disappointed in this ride because the distance given is 13 miles, but that is round trip. When I do training rides I usually like a distance on the order of 25 miles. I also drove almost two hours to get to the trailhead near the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

The trail is not a total bust. The northern trail is very suitable for a family outing. You can spend time at Scusset Beach for a picnic or snack before heading back to the trailhead. There are racks where you can lock your bikes while exploring the dunes and beach.

Be courteous and cautious because the trail has a lot of pedestrian and bicycle traffic.


There's a lot of history to be discovered along this trail. The trail is paved and in great condition. There are no vehicles allowed accept for park rangers and maintenance. Its a great place to see local wildlife. The scenic views are located along the canal with many opportunities for some great picture taking. Good place for everyone of all levels and physical condition. I really enjoyed riding the canal.

Love this Trail. Get for a family day, I bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the wonderful views.

After riding 4 rail trails on the Cape, this one is my least favorite. I say that because it's not particularly scenic. The highlight is the railroad bridge in Buzzards Bay. That being said, this trail is good for training, as there are no road crossings to contend with on the Cape side. There is plenty of parking near the railroad bridge on either side of the canal. The RTC site's directions are to the Bourne Bridge parking area. If you want to start at the railroad bridge, continue further down Shore Rd. until you cross the railroad tracks.

have been doing this one quite a long time...beautiful ride, along the canal, though always seem to have a head wind on way back to Buzzards Bay, I start at train bridge.. if its in the summer time you can spend some time at Scusset beach.. its very nice there... somewhat crowded on weekend but not too bad..worth a try...also has nice facilities etc.

It was a last minute decision to ride the Cape Cod Canal. Crossing both the Bourne and Sagamore bridges with a side trip to Mashnee Island made this a 25 mile easy ride on a beautiful day.

A short ride from the southern canal entrance brought me to the access for bikers and walkers to cross the Bourne Bridge to the cape side of the canal. From there it's necessary to back track a bit to get to Mashnee Island and the southern terminus, across the canal from Mass Maritime Academy. Here is where I came across a very old cemetery that has people who were born in the seventeen hundreds. One of the lesser known history items of this area is The King Phillip War in the 1690s. Many familiar names from that war are common around these parts. Narragansett, Pocaset, and Cataumet are but a few of the common names of that era.

Read more by copy and pasting the link below.

Glorious ride year round.Just be prepared for the head winds.
If you have the time and end at Buzzards Bay end,be sure to take the extra time to tour the UMass Maritime Academy campus.Gorgeous and impressive!!

We did a day trip here last weekend. We started on the Bay of Cape Cod,riding against the wind. The views are breath taking. Not living near the ocean, it was a delight to take in all the sights that God created for us. We marveled at the fisherman, how their bikes were all rigged to hold their fishing poles and their catch of the day. Quite a sight. We met many friendly people along the way & runners. As we approached the end we had the pleasure to watch the draw bridge lower for the train, then raise again. One question... It has on the map this trail is 13 miles long, are you counting both sides of the trail?

Massachusetts has the best Trails! Beats Connecticut hands down.

This is a great getaway, long weekend trip so you can take in all that the Cape has to offer!

We will be back to ride the Cape side next time!!!

Mel & Sandy
Ashford CT

I highly recommend starting your ride on the East or Cape side of the canal, at the parking lot near Buzzard's Bay and the 1935 vertical-lift railroad bridge. The bridge is really a stunning piece of architecture up close. (Be careful, though. I was under the impression that the line was abandoned, but it was in fact an active railroad on 8/31/13, at least.) You can see the Main Cape branch line curving off north and the Falmouth branch curving away south just past the bridge. About a mile from the bridge is the Aptucxet Museum, which has a antique windmill, a former railway depot building, colonial artifacts, all kinds of interesting things. A mile or so further north, you'll come to the Bourne bridge, which has the Bourne Recreation Area under it on this side, with restrooms and picnic tables and tourist information. (By contrast, the Sagamore bridge on this side has a construction site and a porta-potty at present, so the Bourne is your picnic bridge.) As you ride along, you will see an occasional large stone abutment on either side of the canal. I have no idea if they are left behind from railroads or piers or something else, but they're interesting.) The Cape Cod Bay end of the canal trail on the east side takes you by some industrial facility with warnings about open flame, but past that there's recreational parking again and the end of the bike path. The day we made our ride, we found the return trip to be harder due to the wind coming up the canal from the south. We got back to the rail road bridge just in time to see it lowered! It's quite something to see and hear. Before the bridge came down, boat traffic on the canal stopped and then the bridge lowered and the Cape Flyer passenger train crossed over, bringing tourists back to Boston. (The train seems to have a special section just for bicycles, FYI.) Nice ride. I'd like to try the west side path, but the east side was so much fun, I'm not sure which I'll do next time I drive down.

Nice trail but it can get a little windy. Fun to watch the boats but not much else to see on the trail.

This is a great paved, fairly level trail running along the canal. There are just a few spots requiring some maintenance, otherwise I would've given it a full 5 stars. I rode it yesterday, 5 Nov 11, and though I had to battle the wind on the return trip, it was well worth it. Numerous opportunities for bird and wildlife viewing. Also proud to see our Coast Guard patrolling the canal. The Bourne and Sagamore Bridges offered some great photo ops. Definitely recommend the ride.

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