My family and I are having a lot of fun biking around New England. My brother lives on Cape Cod, so we went up for the day with him and his family to ride the Cape Cod Canal Trail. We rode the portion of the trail that is on Cape Cod, which is around 7-miles long. You can also ride across the canal looking onto the Cape. The off-road trail runs along the water of the canal the whole time so that you can enjoy the wildlife and the boats going by.
Cape Cod Canal Facts
- The Cape Cod Canal connects Cape Cod Bay in the north and Buzzards Bay in the south.
- The canal is about 7 miles long.
- The Cape Cod Canal was opened on July 29, 1914.
- The canal was built to improve shipping trade routes and provide the US a military advantage.
- The canal separates Cape Cod from the rest of Massachusetts.
- Three bridges cross the canal, two for automobiles, and one for trains.
- Before the canal was here, there was still running water- the Mamomet and Scusset Rivers.
- The canal is part of the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway. Did you know that you can take a boat from Erie, Pennsylvania, all the way to Mexico, mainly bypassing the open ocean?
Length of Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail
14.2 miles combined with the on-Cape and off-Cape trails. Today I will only cover the on-Cape portion of the trail.
Ease of Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail
Although it has a slight slope, this trail is all off-road, paved, and flat, so it is ideal for families with kids.
Visual Features on the Cape Cod Canal Trail
This trail starts at Scusset Beach, goes by the power plant, goes under all three of the canals bridges, and ends in Buzzards Bay. You can see many birds along the way, including a large number of double-breasted cormorants. I saw one on almost every lamppost that I passed.
This metal arch and suspension bridge was built in 1935. It was originally a drawbridge. It connects mainland Massachusetts to the south side of Cape Cod.
This similar truss bridge carries Route 6 onto the Cape.
Buzzards Bay Train Bridge
This bridge, also called the Cape Cod Train bridge, is the 2nd longest lift bridge in the United States. I would love to see it in action, but it only is used about once a day with an unpredictable schedule.
Where to Park for the Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail
We parked by the water at the Sandwich Recreation Area. The easiest GPS coordinate for that is 20 Freezer Road, Sandwich, MA. Continue past this address to the end of the lot, where parking is free. There are also bathrooms to use before you go. Alternatively, you can start in the middle of the trail and park under the Sagamore Bridge. Local tip: If you are not starting on Cape Cod, take the Sagamore Bridge to get here as it generally has less traffic then the Bourne Bridge.
Things to do Around the Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail
As you can see from the pictures, this trail is a great place to do some shore fishing. The birds are here for a reason. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the grassy hills leading to the ocean. We started our ride with lunch at Sam’s Seafood right near where we parked. The local we were with says they have the best gluten-free lobster rolls on Cape. I would not recommend the chowders, but the fried lobster was tasty. For a treat after your ride, stop at Shipwreck Ice Cream for decent locally-made ice cream in a unique variety of flavors, including some Cape Cod-specific, such as Boardwalk Mudd and Sandbar Swirl.
Take a ride on the Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail if you want a
leisurely bike ride along the water and woods of Cape Cod perfect for families or those who want a relaxing bike ride. It is even better if you are a fan of birds and bridges.
For more local bike rides, check out The Shining Sea Bikeway, Falmouth, MA or The Best Bike Trails in Rhode Island.
12 thoughts on “Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail”
This looks like such a great place to ride a bike, and so beautiful. The bridges are really cool, will check this out when I am back in Cape Cod.
Glad to hear from a fellow bridge-lover.
I’ve been to Cape Cod but I didn’t know that there was a canal, or a canal trail! Sounds like the perfect place for an afternoon bike ride though!
Did you fly in or drive?
I might be biased because I work in the rail industry, but the Buzzards Bay train bridge looks amazing! They certainly don’t build them like that anymore!
This looks like a fantastic bike ride and I love that it is easy riding too with bridges and lots of natural beauty. Great way to spend the day and end the journey with a lobster roll!
I love any activity if it involves bird watching! Is the whole route 14 miles return/loop, or is it one way? Looks like you’re having some good weather for it too!
The whole loop. 😀
I love a good bike trail, and one as scenic as this one too! When visiting a new destination, I always look for a walking/biking trail, it’s a great way to see the city from that perspective.
What a beautiful bike trail! The views along it look absolutely lovely. The Buzzards Bay Train Bridge looks really cool!
The Cape Cod Canal Bike trail seems to promise an exhilarating experience. With the canal water flowing by your side and surrounded by beautiful landscapes, it must be a heavenly experience. The fact that the trail is paved and riding not difficult adds to the enjoyment factor without the need to huff and puff. It makes for a great family outing.
Looks so beautiful starting to bike here again in Atlanta & hoping to do a road trip soon! Cape Cod looks like an awesome spot! I was there in the winter few years ago