Cape Cod Canal Bikeway Trail
By: Matt Romeo
The Cape Cod Canal Trail is a beautiful biking/walking trail that follows along the North and South side of the Canal that connects Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay. The trail is host to a plethora of outdoor and indoor recreational activities as well as a wide variety of wildlife.
Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail Overview
The trail is approximately 14 miles in length split into a North and a South side. The South side (or Cape side) runs 6.5 miles in length and houses the trail visitor center, an ice arena, and several recreational areas. The North side of the trail (or the mainland side) runs 7 miles in length and has access to a fishing pier, Scusset Beach, and several additional recreational areas.
The trail is free to access and is open from dawn until dusk. It is very flat so it’s a long, but easy walk or bike ride. Feel free to bring your dog along as pets are permitted as long as they are on a leash. At each recreational area there is plenty of parking along with restrooms. If you are driving the address is Canal Service Road Bourne, MA 02532.
If you want to get across the canal, there are two bridges. On the western half of the trail the Bourne Bridge is right next to Bourne Scenic Park. On the eastern half the Sagamore Bridge is next to the Sagamore Recreational Area. The two bridges are about 3.25 miles apart.
North Side (Mainland)
If you are starting on the North side of the path, we recommend that you start at the Buzzard’s Bay Recreational Center. That way you can bike or walk the length of the canal and end your walk with a beautiful view of Cape Cod Bay. While walking along the path you will come across several interesting stopping points.
Bourne Scenic Park
As you head towards Cape Cod Bay the first recreational point that you come across is Bourne Scenic Park. This is home to a rather large campsite that has over 200 sites in addition to cabins if you are looking for accommodations. At the park there is also a game room, several pools and even a camp store. Unfortunately, pets aren’t allowed on the campground. The Park offers some beautiful views and is a great spot to have lunch or spend the night.
Bournedale Interpretive Trail
This is 1.7 miles out and back trail. It’s a little more strenuous than the Cape Cod Canal Trail itself, but it offers a nice break from the paved path if it is particularly crowded.
Herring Run Recreation Area
This is the mid-point of the South side of the trail. It is where the Herring River connects to the Cape Cod Canal. This is a great spot to stop in the spring as its overs a clear view of the fish ladder that was built to help herring migrate up the river to spawn.
Sagamore Recreation Area
Shortly after the Sagamore Bridge, Sagamore Recreation Area is another stopping point as you head towards Cape Cod Bay. It offers fishing, picnic tables and a restroom.
Sagamore Hill & Fishing Pier
Sagamore Hill can be reached via a 1.7-mile loop trail that offers tremendous views of the canal and the bay. It was named after sagamores, or Native American leaders, who used to meet on top of the hill.
Across from the trail head is a fishing pier. Cape Cod Canal is the home to large sea bass and stripers making it a great location for fishing enthusiasts.
Scusset Beach State Reservation
The South side of the trail comes to an end at Scusset Beach State Reservation. Here you can find 1.5 miles of beach along the Cape Cod Bay. This is a great place to watch ships enter the canal. It also offers 98 R.V. sites that have hook-ups and an additional 5 tent sites. If you park here, you will need to pay $14 if you are a Massachusetts resident or $40 as a non-resident from Memorial Day through November.
South Side (Mainland)
The South Side of the trail offers five recreational areas that offer similar amenities to the recreational areas on the North side. There are no campgrounds on the Southside, but there are some unique sites to visit.
As with the North side, if you are planning on walking the entire path, we recommend starting on the Buzzard’s Bay side of the canal at Tidal Flats Recreational Area and walking east towards Cape Cod Bay.
There are five recreational areas on the South Side. From West to East, they are: Tidal Flats Recreation Area, Bourne Recreation Area, Midway Recreation Area, Sandwich Recreation Area, Sandcatcher Recreation Area. They all offer a restroom, a picnic area, and spots for fishing.
Gallo Ice Arena
If you are looking for something fun to do on a rainy day, Gallo Ice Arena offers public skate sessions for only $5 a person, plus $5 skate rentals. Check their website for an updated calendar to see when the sessions are running. The rink is located at 231 Sandwich Road, Bourne, MA 02532 if you are driving or right next to the Bourne Recreation Area if you are walking.
Sandwich Marina is at the East end of the South side of the trail right before Cape Cod Bay. There is a boat ramp located there if you are looking to take your boat out on the bay. It’s $10 to use the boat ramp for the day or $150 for the entire season. They marina also provides a wide array of services. All the information is available on their website.
Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center
The Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center is at the end of the South side of the trail and overlooks Cape Cod Bay. The museum is free to everyone and offers a rich history of the canal. At the museum you can board a retired patrol boat, learn about the canal wildlife, or watch one of several films. You can either visit the museum at the end of the trail to learn about everything that you just saw or start you at the museum to get a preview of what you are about to see.