Herring Run Recreation Area

Near the midpoint of the Cape Cod Canal in Bourne lies Herring Run Recreation Area. Its name tells you what makes it special – this U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation area is where the Herring River flows into the canal. Whether you come on a bike or on foot, visit in spring to see hundreds of herring on their spawning migration upstream.


With a family-friendly nature trail and easy access to the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway, it’s easy to see why Herring Run Recreation Area attracts so many people to its shores.

Herring Run Recreation Area is an interesting destination because it offers clear views of a fish ladder, which was built to help migrating river herring swim upstream to spawn. We recommend a stop at this spot in spring, when you can watch herring make their way up the fish ladder.

a woman walking along Cape Cod Canal at Buzzards Bay Recreation Area in Bourne

Catch the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway from Herring Run Recreation Area. This 7-mile paved service road is an excellent place to walk, ride, and fish on the canal.


Take a walk with your kids on the Bournedale Hills Trail, which begins at Herring Run Recreation Area. This easy, pine tree-lined nature trail travels through the woods along the canal for 1.4 miles to Bourne Scenic Park. The trail also features a 0.8-mile interpretive loop with information about the canal’s history and natural features.

Herring Run Recreation Area is an access point to the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway, a paved service road that runs for 7 miles on the north side of the canal. This wide, flat trail is perfect for all ages to bike, walk, and run along the canal’s northern shore. Head west, and you’ll reach Buzzards Bay Recreation Area at the foot of the railroad bridge. Go east, and you’ll soon reach Scusset Beach on Cape Cod Bay.

Habitats & Wildlife

The river herring that swim up the fish ladder at Herring Run Recreation Area each spring are on their way to spawn. From here, the fish will continue through Carter Beal Conservation Area to Plymouth’s Great Herring Pond.

These small fish might seem insignificant, but they’re an important link in the food web. Larger sportfish like striped bass and bluefish feed on river herring, as do the Bay’s “fish hawks,” ospreys. You’ll see these predators along the Cape Cod Canal in warm-weather months.

Property Owned By

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works to strengthen our nation’s security by building and maintaining America’s infrastructure.

Hours: Dawn to dusk
Parking: Large paved parking area
Cost: Free
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: Yes (on leash)
Facilities: Restrooms (seasonal), Trash, Picnic Tables
ADA Accessible: Yes

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Address & Contact Information
810 Scenic Highway
Bourne, MA 02532
41.772923, -70.561600

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Herring Run Recreation Area
Bourne, MA
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