Charles River Bike Path

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Charles River Bike Path
Charles River (Pear Biter).jpg
Charles River at night, with the Cambridge bike path on the left side of roadway
Length 23 mi (37 km)
Location Boston, Massachusetts to Auburndale, Massachusetts
Trailheads Boston Science Museum, Norumbega Park
Use Bicycling, inline skating, walking, paddling, rowing[1]
Hiking details
Trail difficulty easy
Season year round, some parts not plowed in winter
Hazards street crossings, narrow passing

The Charles River Bike Path is a mixed-use path in the Boston, Massachusetts area. It follows both shores of the Charles River from Boston, Massachusetts to Norumbega Park in Newton, passing through Watertown and Waltham.[2] The path consists of several segments in the Charles River Reservation separated by road and bridge crossings and forms part of the planned East Coast Greenway, the 3,000-mile trail system connecting cities from Maine to Florida.

Charles River Reservation[edit]

The Paul Dudley White Bicycle Path runs on both sides of the river within the Charles River Reservation. From the Museum of Science, Boston on the Charles River Dam Bridge, they run on sidewalk or striped asphalt path to Watertown Square (Galen Street/Route 16 bridge), a loop of 17.1 miles (27.5 km).[3] The paths run along the edge of Cambridge and Watertown on the north; and the West End, Back Bay, and Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston on the south side.[4][5]

Paved bike path and a footpath on the Boston side of the Charles River

Upper Charles River Reservation[edit]

In 2004, a $9M master plan to extend the path westward from Watertown Square to Norumbega Park in Newton was completed.[2]

The path continues along the north side of the river from Watertown Square to Bridge Street, there crossing back from Watertown to Newton. This segment was completed in 1997.[6]

The riverwalk then continues along the south bank, crossing back to the north bank at the Blue Heron Bridge, built 2004 just for the path, and continuing to Moody Street in Waltham, near the Charles River Museum of Industry and Waltham Common. The route extends upstream with a combination of paths and streets, to Auburndale, the Newton neighborhood where Norumbega Park is located.[7]

There are plans to extend the path upstream along the curving river to Needham, Dedham, and the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.[2]

Eastern connections[edit]

Bike recreation opportunities continue to the east with North Point Park in Cambridge, and Nashua Street Park on the Boston side. There are discontinuities near North Station and the Zakim Bridge before the Boston Harborwalk continues on both sides of the harbor.

The proposed extension of the Somerville Community Path would connect the Boston end of the Charles River Path to the network of mixed-use trails to the northwest.


  1. ^ "A1 Trails site with reviews". Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  2. ^ a b c Pazzanese, Christina (26 September 2004). "Going with the flow". Boston Globe. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Charles River Mileage Map/Table". Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "DCR Charles River Basin map". Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Map of Paul Dudley White Bike Paths". Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Boston Bikeways and Trails". Archived from the original on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Along the Charles River Path". Newton Conservators. Retrieved 18 October 2011.