CUTLER PARK RESERVATION:

NEEDHAM, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:        June 9, 2013

Length:                 Carriage Path Loop; 1.7 mile loop

                               Powell's Island Loop; 2.6 mile loop

                               Charles River Path (Needham section); 0.5 miles

Difficulty:             Carriage Path Loop; Easy. Flat, hard packed gravel trail.

                               Powell's Island Loop; Moderate. Mostly flat, narrow, hard packed dirt trail. Some tree roots.

                               Charles River Path (Needham section); Easy. Paved, flat trail.

Directions:     

Starting from the Kendrick Street parking lot; From I-95/Route 128 take exit 19B to Highland Ave heading west. Take your first Left on Hunting Rd. Turn left on Kendrick St. Just past 3rd Ave on your left will be a parking lot on your right for Cutler Park.      

The 700 acre Cutler Park Reservation comprises the largest remaining fresh water marsh on the middle Charles River. Located in Needham and Dedham, the marsh and small lake attract over 100 species of birds. A hard packed gravel Carriage Path loops around Kendrick Pond and is suitable for all bikes. The Powell's Island Loop is a hard packed dirt trail suitable for Mt bikes that spurs off the Carriage Path. The Blue Heron Trail utilizes both of these trails along with varies other paths (including Millennium Park & the Helen Heyn Riverway) to create a complete loop around the park. However, the trail conditions vary widely with some sections no more then narrow hiking paths full of roots, on-road sections and a narrow boardwalk through the marsh. Because of this I recommend only experienced Mt bikers attempt it. I rode it and regretted most of it. I don't include it here as it is a very confusing route and not of interest to most multi-use trail users. However, the route is shown on Map 1 below. For more information visit; CUTLER PARK RESERVATION .

There is also a short section of the Charles River Path that may be accessed from the Kendrick Street parking lot. See: Charles River Bikeway & Wellesley Trails for more information about the Charles River Path along the Charles River Reservation that travels from downtown Boston to West Roxbury. 

Carriage Path Loop:

Starting from the Kendrick Street parking lot; A map board is located near the eastern entrance to the parking lot. Travel past the granite stone posts for the Charles River Reservation and you'll come to the Carriage Path. Head left past the blue gate along the wide, hard packed gravel trail. Kendrick Lake is a bit obscured by reeds along the eastern side. The trail softens a bit as you travel through a Pine tree forest. After 0.7 miles the trail bends right, back up the western side of the lake.

Note; Straight takes you along the Blue Heron Trail and Powell's Island Loop; See Below.

The wide hard packed gravel trail travels north. After 1 1/4 miles you'll pass a Spur Trail leading to a nice overlook of the Lake. At 1.4 miles the trail surface improves as you travel behind an office building and then the parking lot before returning to the map board for a 1.7 mile loop.

Powell's Island Loop:

The Powell's Island Loop is a rough, hard packed dirt trail with some tree roots but is suitable for Mt bikes. From the Carriage Path the hard packed dirt trail travels south. The trail splits in spots but rejoins the main trail. After 0.8 miles you emerge from the woods to cross a narrow boardwalk through the marsh. You'll come to a clearing and intersection at 0.9 miles. Continue straight along the narrow path, crossing a couple of small bridges as you circle around the island before coming to an intersection at 1.7 miles.

Note; Left the trail continues as part of the Blue Heron Trail out to the Needham Street parking lot. However it is extremely rough with tree roots, wet areas a narrow boardwalk and a tunnel underneath the MBTA Commuter Line.

Head right to loop back to the head of the island, then left back to the Carriage Path for an 2.6 mile loop.

Charles River Path; Needham Section:

Starting from the Kendrick Street parking lot; Exit from the west end of the parking lot where you'll find a cross-light over Kendrick St. Turn right and follow the paved sidewalk east alongside Kendrick St to 4th Ave. Head left down 4th Ave on-road (paved sidewalk available, but low traffic road).

Note; Just past 4th Ave are a pair of granite posts marking the entrance to the Charles River Reservation, however, the trail is no more the a footpath along the river and not suitable for biking.

 Keep an eye out to your right as you travel along 4th Ave for stairs leading down to a little picnic area alongside the river. After 0.6 miles the road turns sharply left. Continue straight along the wide paved Charles River Path; Needham Section. The path then utilizes the old 4th Ave road as you enter the woods. You'll cross over some old RR tracks before coming to Highland Ave at 1.1 miles and the end of the trail. 

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CLICK HERE FOR MAP 1

CLICK HERE FOR MAP 2

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

BIKE IT OR HIKE IT

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