Shining Sea Bikeway –
Perhaps the second best known bike path on Cape Cod, the Shining Sea Bikeway is a beautiful 10.7 mile bicycling and running trail through Falmouth. Originating in Woods Hole at the ferry terminal, the trail proceeds through Woods Hole’s woods, West Falmouth’s beaches, and up through the recently completed 8 mile North Falmouth extension.
Passing through a variety of scenery from the bucolic seaside village of Woods Hole, the stunning beaches of Woods Hole and working farms and cranberry bogs in West and North Falmouth, the trail is a relatively easy and doable ride for bikers of virtually any skill level. By staying off the main roads, the trail winds through a bird preserve, past Chapaquoit beach and Sippiwisset Marsh. Because it was built on an old railroad right of way, the trail is flat for virtually its entire duration. Falmouth is one of the more bike friendly towns on Cape, so feel free to pedal through downtown Woods Hole and to explore North Falmouth on two wheels.
Directions: Your best bets for parking are at the Depot Street lot near Main Street or at the northern terminus at the corner of Route 151 and Route 28A. Easy access can also be had from the Woods Hole Ferry.
Beebe Woods –
If you’re going to run through Beebe Woods be prepared: It’s not for beginners. Beebe Woods covers 383 acres of conservation land donated to the town of Falmouth in 1972, and is crisscrossed by a variety of walking, hiking and jogging trails. The woods provide a nice amount of shade on hot summer days, while the hilly terrain challenges even expert runners. You’ll see many people training for half and full marathons in the woods.
Located on the grounds of historic Highfield Hall, the woods once provided Native Americans and colonial settlers with wood and many other natural resources. Even if you’re flying past at race pace, be sure to slow down and take in the beauty of the punch bowl, massive pines and irregularly shaped boulders left by the glaciers that helped form Cape Cod.
Directions: Look for the stone pillars off Depot Ave in Falmouth, just past the Inn on the Square. Turn right and drive up Highfield Drive. For your GPS: 56 Highfield Drive, Falmouth MA.
Great Neck South/Route 151 Path –
If you’re looking for a well-maintained, paved path that follows main roads, this path is the one for you. It hits most of the main attractions in Mashpee – a convenient and popular portion is from Mashpee Commons to South Cape via Great Neck Road South. Park in the lot near Talbots in the Commons and follow the trail out the right hand corner, cross Route 28 near Roche Brothers and follow the path to South Cape Beach state park (it ends around the Children’s Museum, but Great Neck South has some of the widest road shoulders on Cape Cod). From point to point, it’s a shade under 5.5 miles one way. Head the opposite way out Mashpee Commons towards Route 151 and the route is much more challenging, with many steep hills to its western terminus at Old Barnstable Road.
Route 130 trail –
On the other side of town, the Route 130 trail is a near ribbon-straight biking/walking/jogging path paralleling Route 130 for much of its length in Mashpee. It’s an easy, flat, 2.4 mile trail past the Mashpee Wampanoag museum and the Mashpee River herring run. The ease of the trail makes it perfect for families with small children or beginners. A small lot is located along Route 130 near Dunkin Donuts.
Quashnet River Area –
The lucky recipient of extensive conservation efforts from Trouts Unlimited, the Quashnet River Area boasts a recently completed 2.5 mile trail loop along the river and a new trout stream. Great for a cooler run on a hot day, the woods and river work together to provide a cool, shady loop for a trail run or walk. Located just off Route 28, a jaunt to either Mashpee Commons or downtown Falmouth is an easy drive away, even in summer traffic.
Directions: Driving from Mashpee to Falmouth, look for the dirt turnout on the right hand side just before the Falmouth line. A small parking lot is located a minute or so down the dirt road.