FRESH POND LOOP TRAIL:

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      August 19, 2012

Length:                 Alewife T-Station Junction on-road connection to the Fresh Pond Loop Trail; 1.3 miles. 

                               Fresh Pond Loop Trail; 2.3 miles.

                               Fresh Pond on-road connection to Watertown Branch Rail Trail; 1.7 miles.                   

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat, paved surface.

Directions:

To start from Alewife T-Station; Take Boston's Red-Line to access this station. See; MBTA for more information. For information about taking your bike on the subway. See; MBTA/BIKES . From I-95, take exit 29 to Route 2 east to Alewife. Take the exit for Alewife Station Access Road and park at the T-station's parking garage.

To start from the Cambridge Water Works; From I-95, take exit 29 to Route 2 east to Alewife. Take the exit for Routes 3 & 16 southwest. Follow Alewife Brook Parkway (Routes 3 & 16) to Fresh Pond Parkway (Routes 3 & 16) to the Cambridge Water Works parking lot on the right.

Fresh Pond Reservation consists of the 155 acre kettle-hole Lake called Fresh Pond and 162 acres of surrounding land. In the mid 1800's the Pond was privately owned and the site of a flourishing ice industry, its clean water producing high quality ice that was shipped as far away as Europe, China and India. The Pond became the City's drinking water supply in 1852 and is now part of the reservoir system for the City of Cambridge. For more information visit;  FRESH POND .

Alewife T Station, a stop on the commuter rail line into Boston is a hub for five trails. From the northwest, the Minuteman Bikeway terminates here and includes a spur for the Alewife Brook Greenway just north of here which connect to the Mystic River and Mystic River Paths . Head south for the Fresh Pond Loop Trail and a future spur from Fresh Pond that will connect to the Charles River Bikeway via the partially completed Watertown Branch Rail Trail .West takes you along the Fitchburg Cutoff ,a short trail that is part of the larger Mass Central Rail Trail, still a work in progress. East takes you along the Red Line Linear Path which turns into the Somerville Community Path, both of which are part of the larger Mass Central Rail Trail.

 

From the end of the Minuteman Trail at Alewife T-Station; There is a green sign showing the various bike routes and mileages from this point. To reach the Fresh Pond Loop Trail, turn left down the side of the parking garage. 

Note; As of August 2012, this short section is undergoing a renovation as they add a boardwalk and cross-light.

Just before the tunnel turn right around the backside of the station and you'll come to an intersection.

Note; Left takes you underneath Alewife Brook Pkwy along the Red Line Linear Path/Somerville Community Path

Note; You have two options. [1] You may continue straight along the paved trail which will take you across Cambridge Park Drive and alongside Alewife Brook Pkwy (East side) or [2] Turn left away from the station and travel underneath Alewife Brook Pkwy and take an immediate right. This will take you alongside the Alewife Brook Pkwy (west side). Both paved trails bring you to Concord Ave which you must cross to reach Fresh Pond. I chose option 2 because it was easier at the time to cross Concord Ave.

[2] Turn left away from the station and travel underneath Alewife Brook Pkwy and take an immediate right and you'll emerge alongside Alewife Brook Parkway. Use the cross-light over Rindge Ave and follow the paved trail up & over the Alewife Brook Bridge, which crosses over some active rail lines. After passing by the Fresh Pond Mall you come to a traffic rotary. Follow the trail to the left alongside Concord Ave. Just past the Dunkin Donuts at 0.8 miles is a cross-light that will take you over Concord Ave to a sidewalk. Continue straight to reach the separated bike trail (Painted strip down the middle) and head left.

Note; If you continue straight you'll reach the Fresh Pond Loop Trail, but don't go that far.

Follow the separated bike trail alongside Concord Ave, over the old RR tracks and right alongside Fresh Pond Parkway. Spot the old RR tracks to your right as you come to the entrance for the Cambridge Water Works parking lot

Note: Continuing straight past the Water Works building , the separated bike trail takes you to a second parking lot and out to Fresh Pond Parkway. If you look over the side of the bridge you'll see the old Watertown Branch rail corridor that will be converted into a paved trail in the future, connecting to the existing Watertown Branch Rail Trail. To reach this trail, turn right and follow the bike trail up to Huron Ave at a 1/4 mile where the off road path ends. Yon now must travel on-road which I would not recommend for kids on bikes. Turn right and follow the bike lane to Aberdeen Ave. Two cross-lights enable you to head south on Aberdeen Ave utilizing another bike lane. This brings you to Mt Auburn St at 0.7 miles. Mt Auburn Cemetery is straight ahead. Turn right and travel on-road (no more bike lane) through this business district, bearing left at the split along Mt Auburn St. Turn left when you reach Arlington St at 1.3 miles and head past Old Arlington Cemetery. Bear right on Arlington St and continue on-road to a five-way intersection after 1.7 miles. Cross Nichols Ave to the start of the paved Watertown Branch Rail Trail .

Travel right between the parking lot and Water Works building to reach the Fresh Pond Loop Trail after 1.3 miles. You'll find a water fountain here, as well as, restrooms and a bike maintenance station (air pump & tools) at the Water Works building.

Starting from the Cambridge Water Works parking lot; Head right along the Fresh Pond Loop Trail with Fresh Pond on your left and the old railroad tracks to your right. This wide paved trail is a bit rough in spots, as it utilizes an old road. There are more pedestrians and dogs that utilize this trail so use stay alert. The trail loops around the pond which is enclosed in a chain linked fence (watch out for the poison ivy growing up it). After 0.3 miles you'll pass by a spur out to Concord Ave and a connecting trail over to Alewife T-Station. Next you'll come to another spur trail on your right at 0.4 miles.

Note; This spur trail follows a ¼ mile loop around Lusitania Meadow, which also includes a spur out to Concord Ave. 

After checking out Lusitania Meadow, continue along the pond. Look for a dirt path on your right that heads into Lusitania Woods

Note; This hard packed dirt path takes you through the woods to Neville Place and the Maynard Ecology Center as well as Mather Park, then out to Concord Ave. 

Continuing along the paved trail, you'll come to a sign board and Emergency Call Box at 0.8 miles.

Note; A spur trail on your right leads past Black’s Nook and out to Concord Ave. Right takes you to Mather Park.

Continue along the trail and you’ll spot the Fresh Pond Golf Course along the right, followed by Little Fresh Pond. After 1.8 miles you then encounter a short stone-dust section. If you look to your right, you will see some old railroad tracks. These are the same tracks that run in front of the Cambridge Water Works. You then return to the paved trail.

Note; Left takes you alongside the pond via a mulch & hard packed dirt trail before returning to the paved trail next to the Water Works building after 0.4 miles.

Continuing straight brings you up to another parking lot and the Cambridge Water Works purification facility. You'll find a map board and water fountain here at 2.2 miles.

Note; A 1/4 mile detour to your left takes you up a small knoll into Kingsley Park, a shaded area with two stone overlooks and then loops back down to the trail. 

Bear right when the trail splits and you'll return to the Cambridge Water Works building and parking lot after 2.3 miles. 

HH

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