Shining Sea Bikeway, From Falmouth to Woods Hole
The Shining Sea Bikeway connects North Falmouth with the scenic village of Woods Hole. On the way, the 10-mile bike path passes through downtown Falmouth and next to the sparkling waters of Vineyard Sound. Avoid Falmouth’s notorious summer traffic by riding a bike, taking a run, or skating down the coast of Falmouth on this picturesque Cape Cod bike path.
The Shining Sea Bikeway traces the original route of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, which once ran through North and West Falmouth, around Woods Hole, and into Falmouth Station. The town built the Shining Sea Bikeway on former railroad tracks and the paved path is almost completely level with a few gentle uphill/downhill sections.
In North Falmouth, the Shining Sea Bikeway starts on County Road, at the site of the former North Falmouth Railroad Station. While the railroad station is gone, an active railroad track still runs past the place where it once stood on County Road. The bike path runs adjacent to this active track for about thousand feet before the two tracks go their separate ways.
After parting ways with the active track, the bike trail passes through a cranberry bog between North Falmouth and West Falmouth. In West Falmouth, it crosses Chapoquoit Road near the Chapoquoit Beach before cutting through the Little Sippewissett Marsh. After passing through the salt marsh, the path turns toward the village of Sippewissett and, then, downtown Falmouth.
In Falmouth, the biking trail crosses Woods Hole Road and continues southwest past the serene salt marshes of Salt Pond Bird Sanctuary. After passing the sanctuary, the Shining Sea Bikeway skirts the edge of Surf Drive Beach for about half a mile. The bike path ends at the site of the former Woods Hole Railroad Station, which is now the Steamship Authority ferry terminal.
The Shining Sea Bikeway is named for a line in the song “America the Beautiful,” which was written by renowned writer, poet, and social activist Katharine Lee Bates. Bates, who taught at Wellesley College for many years, was born in Falmouth in 1859. Her parents, William Bates and Cornelia Frances Lee, were important figures in the town’s Congregationalist community