For your safety, please proceed off the bikeway before reading about this view!

Oyster Pond

Fall Scene at Oyster Pond | Photo: Paula T. Smith

Glaciers are moving bodies of ice that can change entire landscapes. They sculpt mountains, carve valleys, and move vast quantities of rock and sediment. In the past, glaciers have covered more than one third of Earth's surface, and they continue to flow and to shape features in many places.1

As the glacial ice melted away beginning about 15,000 years ago, many blocks of that ice that lay in deep depressions were buried in the sediment that had been carried from the north. When these buried blocks of ice finally melted, the overlying sediment collapsed into the resulting hole, and any holes deep enough to intersect the groundwater table filled with water to become “kettle hole ponds” or freshwater wetlands. Several kettle hole ponds are visible from the Bikeway, including one near Mile Marker 2 in Falmouth and another with an overlooking deck near Mile Marker 7 in West Falmouth…both named Oyster Pond!2

Oyster Pond Sign | Photo: Paula T. Smith
Oyster Pond, Woods Hole | Photo: Paula T. Smith


  1. "Glaciers and Glacial Landforms." National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 18 December 2020,
  2. "The Shining Sea Bikeway: A Path Through the Natural History and Cultural Heritage of Falmouth on Cape Cod." Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, Town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, version 2009,