CHARLES RIVER BIKEWAY:
PAUL DUDLEY WHITE BIKE PATH:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: May 14, 2023
Length: Charles River Bikeway Loop; 18.2 miles Loop
Upper Charles River Bikeway Loop; 13.9 mile Loop
Many various starting points and parking lots along the trail including Soldiers Field Road.
Difficulty: Charles River Bikeway Loop; Easy. Flat, paved trail/sidewalk.
Upper Charles River Bikeway Loop; Easy. Flat, paved trail/sidewalk/stone-dust. Some on-road
To start from the Museum of Science in Boston or North Point Park in Cambridge [Eastern End]: Take exit 18 off of I-93 (stay left) to Route 28 north. After you exit the tunnel stay to the left under green bridge, then turn right at the traffic light on Route 28 north (Monsignor O'Brien Highway) which takes you over the Charles River Dam Road Bridge. You may park in the museum's parking garage or at North Point Park. Directly across from the parking garage is Museum Way. Head right along Museum Way, turn right on Education St which turns into Industrial Park Rd. North Point Park is along your right. Limited parking available. There is also a parking lot located left at the end of North Point Blvd.
To start from Watertown (Charles
River/Upper Charles River connection)
[Center Section]: Take
exit 127 off of I-90. Head north on Centre St which then turns into
Galen St and cross over the Charles
River on the Galen St (Route 16) Bridge into Watertown Square. Turn left
down Main St and then left down Cross St. Turn right onto Pleasant St and look sharply to your left for the Charles
River Reservation sign and parking lot.
To start from Waltham (Upper
Charles River) [West
Take exit 127 off of I-90. Head north on Centre St which then turns
into Galen St and cross over the Charles River on the Route 16 bridge into
Watertown Square. Turn left down Main St and then left down Cross St.
Turn right onto Pleasant St and follow it as it turns into River St.
Keep an eye out to your left for the Shaws Supermarket
plaza. Go around the right side of Shaws to the far corner where a
pedestrian bridge takes you over the river to the trail.
To start from Newton (Upper Charles River) [Western End]; From Route 30 (Commonwealth Ave) on the west side of I-95, head north on River Rd. Take your first right onto Norumbega Rd and travel underneath the highway. Take a right and this will bring you to a parking lot next to the Charles River. This is the northern terminus of the Upper Charles River Bikeway Loop.
The CHARLES RIVER RESERVATION is a linear park stretching from Boston Harbor up the river for 20 miles. The lower half of the reservation, from downtown Boston to the Watertown Dam, is the Charles River Basin, which includes the Esplanade on the Boston side. The Upper Charles River section of the Reservation begins at Watertown Square and meanders to Riverdale Park in West Roxbury.
The Charles River Bikeway is part of the EAST COAST GREENWAY , a planned biking & hiking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. When complete it will traverse 15 states with a mostly off-road path.
The Charles River Bikeway extends from North Point Park in Cambridge along the Northern Side of the Charles River and Nashua Street Park in Boston along the Southern Side of the Charles River up to Watertown Square. This creates the Charles River Bikeway Loop. The Charles River Bikeway is actually made up of two trails. The Paul Dudley White Bike Path follows the most direct route and usually travels alongside the road, either as a paved trail or BIKE LANE. The Charles River Esplanade follows alongside the river and includes parks and green spaces either as a paved, stone-dust or hard packed dirt trail. Tends to be narrower. Not all sections include both. I mention the numerous bridges that cross the Charles River, to help you orientate yourself as you travel the trail, as well as, allowing you to create a Loop of your desired length. There are also numerous pedestrian bridges (bike friendly) that let you cross over Storrow Drive into Boston, with one that brings you right to the Boston Common Gardens.
From Watertown Square the Upper Charles River Bikeway heads East up to Newton. However, only portions of the trail run on both sides of the river, thus, there are some on-road detours required to make a complete Loop. Some portions of these bikeways are not separated from the roadways and classified as sidewalk, but for the most part, the paths are wide, smooth and traffic free. Other completed paths along the Upper Charles River Reservation include the Charles River Path in Wellesley & Newton: See; Wellesley Trails , along with a short section in Needham: See; Cutler Park Reservation . This section is also part of the BLUE HERON TRAIL .
Charles River Bikeway Loop:
Starting from the
Note; The Charles River Bikeway also extends East along the Charles River to connect into the Boston Harborwalk; Charlestown section at Paul Revere Park. This is where the Charles River enters the Inner Boston Harbor at the Charles River Dam & Locks. Across Charles River
Dam Rd from the Museum of Scienceparking garage is Museum Way. Use the cross-light to reach a BIKE LANE along Museum Way. You'll pick up a paved stripped bike trail on your right at Education Lane which brings you alongside North PointPark, a very scenic park overlooking the Charles River and downtown Boston with winding paths. The paved bike trail travels alongside Education St to Education Circle. Continue past the playground and Splash Park and you'll come to an intersection after 0.4 miles.
Note; The paved path to your left is part of the Mass Central Rail Trail; Boston-Cambridge-Belmont , which will originate from Nashua Street Park & North Station across the Charles River in Boston. Future plans call for constructing a walkway alongside the Bascule Draw Bridge (look east) and across the river to Nashua Street Park. When the drawbridge is replaced, the bikeway will be constructed at the same time. Also, to your left, underneath the highway ramps is the Lynch Family Skatepark.
Continue straight to a long arching walkway. Down below to your right is a short bridge in North Point Park which ends just before the RR tracks. This is where the BOSTON DUCK TOURS amphibious landing vehicles enter and exit the Charles River. This is where the walkway alongside the Bascule Draw Bridge will start. Continue along the arched North Bank Bridge which travels over the RR tracks and underneath the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill
Bridgeto Paul Revere Parkand the Boston Harborwalk; Charlestown after 0.5 miles. To your right is a promenade overlooking the Charles River. See; Boston Harborwalk; Charlestown .
Note; A paved path to your left with whimsical colored street lamps takes you 0.2 miles up to Route 99.
Charles River Bikeway Loop; Southern Side:
Note; The Charles River Bikeway also extends East from here along the Charles River. Turn left and cross over to the paved trail alongside Nashua St. The trail splits as it passes through Nashua Street Park. Paved along the road and hard packed gravel along the river. Across the river you can see North Point Park. The two trails then merge onto a boardwalk terrace overlooking the river, head past Therapy Dock and bring you to a cement catwalk that runs alongside the railroad tracks and out to the Drawbridge. Only a ¼ mile. Future plans call for connecting to a walkway alongside the Draw Bridge and across the river to North Point Park, but as of 2023, no construction has occurred.
Continuing from the intersection of Nashua St and Storrow Drive, turn right, past the Police Station where the Paul Dudley White Bike Path travels along the Southern Side of the Charles River via a double wide sidewalk.
Note; Construction was taking place along your right during May 2023. I believe when it's completed the trail will turn right to the river.
Pass by the Gronk Playground and Alfond Memorial Spray Deck come to Lederman Park and a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Storrow Drive to the west end of Boston. Straight the double wide trail follows alongside Storrow Drive, however, for a more scenic route turn right into the park where the paved trail takes you alongside the Charles River. This paved section of the trail is mostly tree-lined as it travels past the sports fields. The two trails merge as you travel underneath the Longfellow Bridge after 0.7 miles. Here the trail splits again. The paved Paul Dudley White Bike Path follows alongside Storrow Drive, however, the more scenic route heads right along the river. This is referred to as the Charles River Esplanade. Come to the Community Boathouse where you'll find a Map Board, picnic tables and a pedestrian bridge over Storrow Drive to Charles St. Come around to the front of the Hatch Shell (musical performances) on your left and the first of five bridges on your that cross over Storrow Lagoon to a long causeway along the river. You have 2 Options from here.
A. You can continue straight through the park and rejoin the paved Paul Dudley White Bike Path which travels between Storrow Dr and the Storrow Lagoon. Restrooms, water fountain and playground along this section along with 3 pedestrian bridges over Storrow Dr to Boston.
B. You can cross over Storrow Lagoon and follow the Charles River Esplanade along the causeway west to the last bridge and return to Storrow Dr and the Paul Dudley White Bike Path. Much more scenic. Note; The 1st Storrow Lagoon bridge has stairs so you may choose to cross over via the 2nd Storrow Lagoon bridge if biking.
Both trails merge at the 5th Storrow Lagoon bridge. Here you'll find a Map Board and another pedestrian bridge over Storrow Dr to Fairfield St. The trails briefly split again before merging at the Harvard Bridge (Mass Ave) at 2.1 miles. Map Board.
Note; There is a pedestrian ramp that will take you up on the bridge where you may either cross over the Charles River to Cambridge or cross over Storrow Drive to access the Emerald Necklace Greenway . Starting from the Charles River, the Emerald Necklace is a series of interconnecting parks and parkways created by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1891 that pass from Boston through Brookline to Jamaica Plain. The Greenway is comprised of the Back Bay Fens, the Riverway, Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum, Franklin Park, and their connecting parkways (Fenway, Riverway, Jamaicaway and Arborway. You may also access the Southwest Corridor Greenway . Future plans call for creating a connecting trail through Charlesgate Park directly to the Emerald Necklace Greenway, but as of 2023 it is still in the planning stage. See; CHARLESGATE ALLIANCE .
This next section the Paul Dudley White Bike Path
is sandwiched between the river and road. The trail briefly splits 3 times with
sections of the Charles River Esplanade, one
which contains an outdoor gym. Pass the BU
Sailing Pavilion before you encounter the BU Bridge at 3 ¼ miles. A boardwalk takes you around the bridge's
abutment, as well as, under a railroad trestle. This next section is the least
scenic as the Paul Dudley White Bike Path
is sandwiched between the river and road as it turns north before crossing the River
Street Bridge at 4 ¼ miles, followed by the Western Ave
Bridge. The trail improves a bit, but this side of the river is a lot
noisier with car traffic. Pass by the John Weeks
pedestrian bridge at 4 ¾ miles (takes you both north over the river to Harvard
University and south over Soldiers Field Road to more of Harvard University). Again sandwiched between the river and road
before coming to Anderson
Bridge. The trail splits as the Charles River turns south. The hard
packed dirt & gravel Charles River Esplanade
travels along the river before coming to a tunnel underneath the
at 5.7 miles. Here the two trails rejoin and are paved. The trails split
again, keep straight along the river. Pass by Soldiers Field Road parking lot
1 before passing the CHARLES
RIVER CANOE & KAYAK and coming to Soldiers Field Road parking
lot 2. Picnic tables and Porto-Potty. You now travel through Christian
Herter Park where you'll encounter numerous trails. Soldiers Field Road
parking lot 3 and an amphitheater out towards the road. I kept to the right alongside
the river. This takes you over a boardwalk next to the river and past a
community garden along a stone-dust trail. Pass by Soldiers Field Road
parking lot 4, water fountain, a playground and wading pool, along a paved
trail before you pass by Northeastern's
Boathouse. Here you wind through the woods to Soldiers Field Road
parking lot 5 and rejoin the Paul Dudley White Bike Path
next to Soldiers Field Rd. Travel alongside the road
crossing the Arsenal Street Bridge at 7 miles. Another mile brings you to the North
Beacon Street Bridge where the trail is constricted between the river and Nonantum
Rd. Luckily the paved Charles
River Esplanade splits right. Travel along the river past a community boathouse,
boat ramp and the Daly
Sports Fields to the Daly Skating Rink
parking lot. Left the paved trail leads back out to Nonantum Rd. I continued
straight along a stone-dust trail which also returned me to the paved Paul Dudley White Bike Path.
Head left past the Newton
Yacht Club where the trail is again constricted between the river and Nonantum
Rd. Come to the
(Route 16) in Watertown
at 9.6 miles.
This is the halfway point of the Charles River Bikeway Loop Trail:
If you wish to continue up the Charles
River to Newton
See; Upper Charles River
Bikeway Loop Below for directions.
Charles River Bikeway Loop; Northern Side:
Cross the Galen Street Bridge (Route 16) to Watertown Square in Watertown and bear right to a promenade that overlooks the river and a wooden platform along the river at 9.7 miles.
Note; You can access the Watertown Branch Rail Trail from here via a short on-road detour. Use the cross-light over Charles River Rd to N Beacon St and head right along the BIKE LANE. The road splits, stay straight to a cross-light, then head left over to Arsenal St and continue right on-road until you pick up the paved Watertown Branch Rail Trail after 0.3 miles across the road at Irving St.
The Charles River Bikeway travels East along the Northern Side of the Charles River [Continuing Mileage]. The wide, paved trail travels alongside Charles River Rd. There is also a BIKE LANE along Charles river Rd. You quickly come to a stone-dust spur trail on your right. This takes along Watertown Riverfront Park and the river. Picnic tables. Pass by the Sensory Trail, a Braille accessible path, before a path on your left leads to a sculpture park. Pass by river overlooks, a playground and sports courts. The stone-dust trail then parallels the paved trail & BIKE LANE along Charles river Rd. The trail splits with a narrow path heading right. I went left up to rejoin the paved trail alongside the road at 10.5 miles. If biking, I would use the BIKE LANE as it's smoother. Pass by another spur trail on your right.
Note; This spur trail was under construction in May 2023.
You'll pass by the Watertown Yacht Club, where the paved trail & BIKE LANE turns right down North Beacon St. When you reach the North Beacon Street Bridge after 11.2 miles, use the crosswalk and the paved trail now follows alongside Greenough Blvd. Greenough Blvd parking lot 1 located here. A BIKE LANE only travels west along here. Pass by Greenough Blvd parking lot 2 at 11.7 miles. Paved trail continues straight. I took the stone-dust trail on your right back along the river. Benches and picnic tables. This brings you to the Arsenal Street Bridge at 11.9 miles. Cross-light. Here a paved trail & BIKE LANE travel alongside Greenough Blvd. As the trail separates some from the road, spot the Northeastern University Boathouse across the river. The trail then travels along side the road again. At 12.8 miles the paved trail continues straight. I took the stone-dust trail on your right back along the river. You the rejoin the paved trail next to the Belmont Hill Winsor Boathouse. Here the trail heads right traveling through a tunnel underneath the Eliot Bridge in Cambridge and pass by the Cambridge Boat Club. At 13.2 miles the trail parallels Memorial Drive Which can be a bit rough in spots from tree roots.
Note; This next 2.5 mile section to the BU Bridge is set to be upgraded. Not yet started as of May 2023.
Note; If you ride this trail in the summer, a portion of Memorial Drive is closed to traffic and open to bikes and pedestrians. DCR closes Memorial Drive in Cambridge from here to the Western Ave Bridge. The closure is in effect from 11:00am to 7:00pm Sunday's only through Nov 12, 2023.
Memorial Drive is lined on both sides with Plane trees and passes by the brick buildings of Harvard University, as well as the 1906 Harvard Boat House. On your left will be JFK Park just before the Anderson Memorial Bridge at 14.1 miles. Paved trail improves here. Pass by the John Weeks Footbridge, a pedestrian/bike only bridge across the Charles River. Come to the Western Ave Bridge at 14.7 miles.
Note; Memorial Drive is back open to traffic.
The wide paved trail next passes by the River Street Bridge where it becomes old and narrow. Pass by the Riverside Boat Club before coming to Magazine Beach Park parking lot 1. Pass by the Veterans Memorial Pool and turn right into Magazine Beach Park where a trail brings you to an overlook of the river. To your left is the granite MASS AUBURN MAGAZINE BEACH PARK NATURE CENTER .
Originally constructed in 1818, the Cambridge Powder Magazine is the oldest standing building in the Charles River Basin. First built to store gunpowder for public and private use, the walls were solid granite blocks and the roof wooden, slate, and specially-arched brick. The original roof has long since been replaced, but the walls have stood the test of time. In 1818, the Powder Magazine was located on what was known as Captain’s Island as a protective measure. As Cambridge’s population exploded in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Charles River and its tidal marshes were filled in to make room for development. Eventually, the island was incorporated into the expanded Cambridgeport neighborhood. The Powder Magazine was next converted into a bath house for swimmers using the beach at Magazine Beach Park.
Picnic tables and informational signs. Continue along the river the trail turns to stone-dust. Pass by sports fields, fishing pier and a boat launch before coming to the Magazine Beach Park parking lot 2. A paved trail takes you out to an off-ramp for Memorial Dr. Head right along the BIKE LANE (narrow sidewalk) to a cross-light by the Boston University Bridge at 15.7 miles. The BIKE LANE (narrow sidewalk) continues along the on-ramp up to Memorial Dr. Here, a double wide sidewalk takes you past the BU Boathouse, where your afforded one of the best skyline views of Boston and Beacon Hill. A wide paved trail along this section. You quickly come to a stone-dust spur trail on your right. I took this alongside the river, passing by bench pavilions. Rejoin the paved trail at 15.3 miles. The paved trail now travels between the road and a narrow path alongside the river. You next encounter the Harvard Bridge (Mass Ave) at 16.7 miles.
Note; If you'd like to take a tour of MIT and then Loop back to the Harvard Bridge turn left and follow the BIKE LANE along Mass Ave. Turn left down Amherst St then right up a ramp to the Kresge Oval. Here you can check out the Kresge Auditorium and Chapel. Straight ahead is the Stratton Student Center where you can get a bite to eat and freshen up. Head right (east) back out to Mass Ave and turn left up to Vassar St.
Note; The BIKE LANE along Vassar St is part of the Grand Junction Trail .
Travel right along the Vassar Street SEPARATED BIKE LANE to the wildly designed Stata Center on your right. Continue along Vassar St to Main St and turn right along a BIKE LANE to Ames St.
Note; Left the Ames Street 2-WAY CYCLE TRACK will take you north to Broadway where the paved Kittie Knox Bike Path travels 0.1 miles along a wooded corridor to Binney St.
Head right along the Ames Street 2-WAY CYCLE TRACK to Memorial Drive and head right. Soon you'll pass the beautiful granite buildings surrounding the Killian-Lowell & Du Pont Courts. Be sure to explore the courts and the domed Maclaurin building. Continue up Memorial Drive and rejoin the trail at the Harvard Bridge.
Continuing along the trail you come to the Longfellow
Bridge (Cambridge St) where the cantilevered trail follows Memorial Drive out over
the river and then underneath the bridge. Check out the subway cars as they
cross over the bridge. After passing beneath the bridge you then cross the iron Broad
Canal Drawbridge to Cambridge Pkwy. From here you have a great view of the Museum
Note; A nice side trip to the Broad Canalwalk from here. Head left across both lanes of Memorial Drive (cross-lights) to Broad Canal. Here a boardwalk takes you along the canal out to Broad Canal Way where you'll find Canoe & kayak rentals. A cement path then takes you back along the opposite side of the canal back to Memorial Dr. Return to the Charles River Bikeway after a 0.4 mile Loop.
The trail now follows alongside Cambridge Parkway and the river and brings you to Lechmere Canal Park at the intersection of Cambridge Parkway and Edwin Land Blvd.
Note; From here you can access the Lechmere Canal Park Loop Trail. Follow the path down to the river where you travel underneath the South Side of the Edwin Land Blvd Bridge. The trail then Loops around the Lechmere Canal, surrounded by beautiful buildings and shops and returns you to the other side of the North Side of the Edwin Land Blvd Bridge. Only a 0.25 mile Loop.
From the intersection of Cambridge Parkway and Edwin Land Blvd head right across the Edwin Land Blvd Bridge. Pass by a set of stairs and driveway on your right. This is where the Lechmere Canal Park Loop Trail Loops back. Come to Charles River Dam Rd (Route 28) and turn right along a BIKE LANE. Quickly come to a set of cross-lights.
Note; If you use the 2nd cross-light over Charles River Dam Rd it will bring you to Museum Way. The Charles River Bikeway also extends East along the Charles River through North Point Park to connect into the Boston Harborwalk; Charlestown section at Paul Revere Park. In North Point Park you can also connect to the Mass Central Rail Trail; Boston-Cambridge-Belmont .
This brings you back to the
Upper Charles River Bikeway Loop:
Upper Charles River Bikeway Loop; Southern Side:
Starting from the Galen Street Bridge (Route 16) in Watertown; Heading West along the Southern Side of the Charles River, cross over Galen St. There will be two granite pillars inscribed “Charles River Reservation”. Head past these posts along a double-wide sidewalk. Bear right along the hard packed dirt Upper Charles River Bikeway and over the Laundry Brook Confluence via an iron bridge. This brings you to a Map Board under a canopy of trees. Benches overlook the Watertown Dam on the Charles River and the Thompson Footbridge crosses the Charles River as well. There are a total of 20 dams along the Charles River, which starts from Hopkinton, MA, as well as Fish Ladders. The trail heads up to California St, where it’s paved and then back along the river. A ½ mile takes you past the first of many platforms overlooking the river. Also, keep an eye out for the many etched rocks along the trail containing pictures of insects, trees…You pass by Forte Memorial Park on your left and travel along a boardwalk before returning to California St. Continue right along the sidewalk, crossing Bridge Street at 1.2 miles. Continue along California St to the granite pillars and turn right along the stone-dust trail. It brings you down along the riverbank and utilizes several boardwalks throughout. Come to the Blue Heron Bridge, a 140 foot pedestrian suspension bridge with promenades on both ends at 1.7 miles.
Note; A Gap exists here along the Southern Side of the river; Straight takes you out to Albemarle Rd access. You'll need to cross over the river to the Northern Side via the Blue Heron Bridge.
Continuing West along the Northern Side of the Charles River you'll pass by more river overlooks and cross more boardwalks. You then come to the Farwell Street Bridge in Waltham.
Note; A Gap exists here along the Northern Side of the river;
Cross over the river to the
Charles River. Continuing West the trail is now paved again. At 2.6 miles you come to a 4-way intersection.
Left is just an access trail to Calvary St. Right takes you over the Bleachery Footbridge which is alongside an old
railroad trestle. After crossing, left is an access trail to River St
and right brings you to a promenade overlooking Bleachery Dam. There is
also a parking lot located here off River St
in the Shaws Supermarket parking lot. Continuing west from the 4-way
intersection, travel underneath the old railroad trestle and you'll soon be
passing by more river overlooks. Next you'll pass by the
Bridge before crossing
Bridge. The trail continues alongside
the river, across which you'll spot the cantilevered boardwalk in front of the Charles River Museum of Industry. You’ll come to a footbridge over the river at
The footbridge takes you over to Landry Park and the CHARLES
of INDUSTRY . You can also check it out on the return trip when the trail loops back
along the Southern Side of the river.
Continue past the parking garage and the trail
leads up to the Moody Street Bridge.
A Dam is along your
right and downtown Waltham is along your left. Use the crosswalk (Caution
to cross over this busy street. This brings you to Cronin’s
Landing, a brick lined trail along the river with benches and a wooden dock.
When you reach Crescent St, turn right for a 0.6 mile on-road
sidewalk here is narrow. When you reach the Prospect
Street Bridge, use the cross walk over Prospect St. Head
right to pick up the paved trail as it travels behind
the old Waltham Watch Factory building and alongside the river. The trail
turns to hard packed dirt at 4.2 miles. Pass
through a parking lot for the Woerd Ave boat launch and out to Woerd Ave.
Thus begins another on-road detour. Travel right along Woerd Ave
and you’ll cross over a bridge. This will take you through a residential
area. Woerd Rd
now turns into Forest Grove Rd
as you cross over a causeway with the river on your right and Purgatory Cove on
your left. This brings you to Forest Grove Park in Newton
and the end of the road at 5
miles. Head past the green gate and rejoin the trail which starts off as gravel
and then turns to stone-dust. Several paths intersect with the trail; just keep
with the stone-dust. Bear right at an intersection and this will bring you to Auburndale
Park, which has playgrounds, ball fields, picnic areas and restrooms. After you pass
by the William Connolly Recreation Center, turn right and cross over a stone
bridge. Turn left along the River Walk Trail. When you come to an intersection,
bear right, keeping the ball fields on your left. This will bring you to Islington
and Commonwealth Ave
at 5.7 miles. Head right on-road (wide shoulder) along Commonwealth Ave (sidewalk
available). This takes you past the
Norumbega Conservation Area and the CHARLES
RIVER CANOE & KAYAK . Cross over the Commonwealth Ave Bridge and you’ll come
to a set of stairs on your right at 6.3 miles. These lead to a parking lot along
the river and Norumbega Rd in Weston.
Note; More sections of the Charles River Path are located in Wellesley & Newton: See; Wellesley Trails and Needham: See; Cutler Park Reservation . Plans call for continuing the trail south via the proposed RIVERSIDE GREENWAY . See; Map Below.
This is the halfway point for the Upper Charles River Bikeway Loop:
You now head back towards Watertown
along the northern side of the Charles River.
Upper Charles River Bikeway Loop; Northern Side:
Note; A Gap exists here along the Northern Side of the river; A 3 mile on-road section begins here if you wish to Loop back along the Northern Side of the Charles River.
If your biking and don’t want to carry your bike down these steep stairs, turn right up the I-95 on-ramp (use caution as there is not much of a shoulder) to a road leading off on your right. This will bring you down to Norumbega Road. Right leads to the parking lot. Head left along this low traffic road for another on-road detour. This winding road travels East along the Northern Side of the Charles River with its inlets and takes you past the odd stone Norumbega Tower at 7.2 miles. See; NORUMBEGA TOWER for the odd story behind it. When you come to River Rd, you need to turn right along the sidewalk.
Note; You can take a quick detour by heading straight across the road and up Gate House Lane to check out the earthen dam and spillway for Stony Brook Reservoir. Part of the Cambridge Water Works.
Continuing right along River Rd, you cross a bridge and the road turns into South St (sidewalk available) as you return to Waltham. Cross the RR tracks where you'll pick up a narrow paved trail. Travel through Brandeis University and after 9 miles turn right on Highland St, then right on Prospect St. Just before the Prospect Street Bridge you'll pick up the Upper Charles River Bikeway again at about 9.2 miles. Here the paved trail travels East along the Northern Side of the Charles River and eventually alongside some railroad tracks. You come to the Moody Street Bridge at 9.9 miles. There is a crosswalk, but this is a very busy street. Once you reach the other side, the trail follows the sidewalk alongside Landry Park.
Note; A stone-dust trail travels through the park from the Dam, alongside the Fish Ladder and river to a signboard for the "Historic Landmark District" and a footbridge over the river.
The sidewalk brings you to the bricked-lined Museum Walk and an entrance for the CHARLES RIVER MUSEUM of INDUSTRY . Just past the museum the trail continues along a cantilevered boardwalk above the river to a paved trail underneath Elm St. The trail then takes you up to the Elm Street Bridge.
Note; A Gap exists here along the Northern Side of the river; You'll need to cross this bridge to return to the paved trail on your left at 10.3 miles. This is a retrace along the Southern Side of the Charles River Heading East that you rode on your trip upstream. Retrace this route all the way to the Farewell Street Bridge.
Cross over the Farewell Street Bridge and Continue West along the Northern Side of the Charles River into Watertown where you'll pass by river overlooks and cross boardwalks before coming to the Blue Heron Bridge.
Note; A Gap exists here along the Northern Side of the river; You'll need to cross over the river to the Southern Side via the Blue Heron Bridge.
Retrace your route along the Southern Side of the Charles River back to Bridge Street at 12.3 miles. Use the cross-light and then turn left over the bridge to reach the trail along the Northern Side of the Charles River. This section is paved and includes some boardwalks, as well as, platforms overlooking the river. You'll pass by the MDC's Dealtry Memorial swimming pool and come to a pedestrian bridge crosses over the river here. The Charles River Reservation parking lot is just up the entrance road. When you come to a white building at 13.3 miles, the trail splits. Left is an access trail out to Pleasant St. Turn right and you'll come to a platform overlooking the Watertown Dam. Continue along the boardwalk between the river and building, which turns back to pavement and you'll come to Watertown Square in Watertown after a 13.9 mile Loop.
CLICK HERE FOR CHARLES RIVER BIKEWAY MAP
CLICK HERE FOR UPPER CHARLES RIVER BIKEWAY GALEN ST-BRIDGE ST SECTION MAP
CLICK HERE FOR UPPER CHARLES RIVER BIKEWAY BRIDGE ST-MOODY ST SECTION MAP
CLICK HERE FOR BLUE HERON TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR RIVERSIDE GREENWAY MAP
CLICK HERE FOR NORUMBEGA PARK MAP
CLICK HERE FOR AUBURNDALE MAP
CLICK HERE FOR EMERALD NECKLACE GREENWAY MAP
BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT