Shining Sea Bikeway

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Shining Sea Bikeway
Shining Sea Bikeway, West Falmouth MA.jpg
The trail in West Falmouth
Length 10.7 mi (17.2 km)
Location Barnstable County
Trailheads 1 Cowdry Road, Woods Hole
County Road, North Falmouth
Use Hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, roller blading, and cross country skiing
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Easy
Season year-round
Hazards deer ticks
poison ivy
road crossings
Surface Paved surface
Right of way former railroad line
Website Friends of Falmouth Bikeways

The Shining Sea Bikeway is a rail trail on Cape Cod in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in the northeastern United States. The path runs for over ten miles (16 km), from the Woods Hole Ferry terminal in Woods Hole to North Falmouth.

The trail was the southern portion of the Plymouth and Vineyard Sound Railroad, which was later absorbed by the Cape Cod Central Railroad. The creation of the trail began in 1977, when the Town of Falmouth purchased the Woods Hole portion of the rail line from the bankrupt Penn Central railroad for $329,000.[1] The trail was extended an additional eight miles from Falmouth to North Falmouth in 2009.[2] Freight service south of North Falmouth ceased in 1989; the northernmost half mile of the trail runs adjacent to active track used to haul trash from the western portion of Cape Cod, which is collected at the Upper Cape Regional Transfer Station on the grounds of the Massachusetts Military Reservation.

While the Woods Hole-Falmouth section of former railroad is owned by the Town of Falmouth, the Falmouth-North Falmouth section is owned by MassDOT and is not officially abandoned.

The name of the trail is a reference to the lyrics of the patriotic song America the Beautiful. The author of the lyrics, Katherine Lee Bates, was born in Falmouth; there is a monumental plaque commemorating her poem near mile marker 2.[3]

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