The Cape’s Most Underrated Biking Trails

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Most visitors to the Cape have likely been on the Cape Cod Canal pathway. The route is 14 miles of bliss for all levels of physical exertion. But the trail is pretty flat, and typically quite crowded.

The same can be said for the Province Lands Bike Path, which curves through the dunes surrounding Provincetown. More of a physical challenge than the canal path, Province Lands is beautiful and absolutely something you must do while on Cape Cod. But bicyclists looking for the best paths the Cape has to offer have probably “been there, done that.”

So here are a few bike paths for all skill levels which are less crowded than their famous counterparts but still offer incredible scenery.

5. Beebe Woods/Peterson Farm – Falmouth

These two abutting properties are uniquely Upper Cape, featuring many large boulders leftover from retreating glaciers and active farmlands and sheep paths. This is definitely a mountain bike kind of trail, but shouldn’t require much technical skill. There are 448 acres to explore, and many of the trails circle back, leaving it up to the bikers just how much effort they want to spend on their outing. Look for rare plants like the Pink Lady Slipper, remains of old buildings and refreshing kettle ponds.

4. Badlands Trails – Yarmouth

The Badlands trails literally stretch on for miles – there’s even one that brings riders from the area near Exit 8 off the Mid Cape Highway to Exit 4. The skill level required for many of these trails varies, but the singular, eponymous “Badland Trail” is definitely for skilled riders. This single-track trail winds over difficult hills and seems to hit every crevice, crack and cranny around. If you’re not in the mood for serious exercise, the rest of the trails offer excellent views and plenty of turnarounds to explore. Your first venture (because this set of trails requires more than one visit) should include the view from atop a sand pit near Great Western Road.

3. Cape Cod Rail Trail – South Dennis

For those that need a break from mountain biking, there’s the delightfully quaint Cape Cod Rail Trail. The path runs 25 miles through five beautiful Lower and Outer Cape towns, offering the most diverse range of scenery of all Cape Cod bike paths. The first four miles are fairly busy, but riders will be treated to glacial ponds, wildlife sanctuaries and specialty stores throughout the rest of the journey. Cap it off with a visit to Maguire Landing Beach, which has a stunning view of the Atlantic.

2. Shining Sea Bikeway – Falmouth

The words of former Falmouth resident Katharine Lee Bates, “from sea to shining sea,” are manifested in this oceanside bikeway. Skip the heavily-trafficked roads in the area and instead cruise on by the beach, marshes, cranberry bogs and harbors. Make a quick birding stop as you pass through the Salt Pond Bird Sanctuary. Just watch out for other riders in the busy summer season.

1. Nauset Marsh Trail – Eastham

The most underrated bike path on Cape Cod offers what the Cape as a whole is perhaps best known for, at least geographically: proximity to the ocean. Begin this three mile round-trip trail ride at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, wandering through a mini forest of cedar, oak and pine trees. Beyond this, the scenery really opens up to rolling hills and an impeccable view of the Atlantic Ocean. Make some detours to see a 1644 home site, a wooden bridge spanning the Salt Pond, Coast Guard Beach and some seals.


  1. Patricia C. Lauber says

    Isn’t the Peterson Farm the Weeks Farm?

  2. Sandy Keese says

    Are there any maps available for these trails?

  3. Everything is very open with a precise explanation of
    the challenges. It was really informative. Your website
    is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Really enjoyed this article.

  5. Nice Article. Thank you for sharing.

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