MINUTEMAN BIKEWAY:

BEDFORD-CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       August 20, 2017

Length:                 Minuteman Bikeway; 10.1 miles.

Difficulty:             Easy. Relatively flat, paved rail trail.

Directions:

To start from Bedford (Northern section); From I-95, take exit 31B to Routes 4 & 225 (Bedford St) northwest for 1.9 miles. Turn left down Loomis St and follow to Bedford Depot Park on your left

To start from Lexington (Central section); From I-95, take exit 31A to Routes 4 & 225 (Bedford St)  southeast for 1.7 miles. Turn left (after Meriam St) at Depot Square and park in the municipal parking lot located straight ahead. Trail runs parallel to the lot. 

To start from Thorndike Field (Southern section); From I-95, take exit 29 to Route 2 east to Alewife. Follow the exit for Routes 3 & 16 northeast. Turn left onto Mass Ave at the next intersection and continue for a Ĺ mile. Turn left on Lake St and left on Margaret St. The parking lot is located at the end of the road, next to the trail.

To start from Alewife T-Station (Southern section); 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 Rd and park at the T-Station's parking garage.

Three rail trails converge at BEDFORD DEPOT PARK in Bedford. The Minuteman Bikeway heads southeast and follows the former route of the Lexington & West Cambridge Railroad which traveled between North Cambridge and Bedford. Built in 1846 and extended in 1874, the rail line was finally discontinued in 1981. The Bedford Narrow Gauge Spur Trail heads north along the former rail bed of the country's first two-foot-gauge common-carrier railway, the Billerica & Bedford Railroad. Finally, the Reformatory Branch Rail Trail heads west to Concord along the former B & O RR bed. This trail is currently undeveloped however. For more information visit; MINUTEMAN BIKEWAY .

Note; From Bedford the trail is flat for the first 1.5 miles, followed by a slight upgrade for the next 2 miles to Lexington. From Lexington south it's a slightly downhill grade most of the rest of the way to Arlington. So if you are planning on biking up and back you would probably be better off starting from Cambridge and getting most of the uphill grade out of the way.

Starting from Bedford Depot Park; Be sure to check out the old Bedford Depot Freight House, if itís open. It has information on the history of the railroad and also sells some refreshments. Next to the Depot is an old Boston & Maine Railroad passenger car. Map board located here. West across South Rd is the BIKEWAY SOURCE bike shop. Informational signs are located along the trail. 

Note; From here you can also access the Bedford Narrow Gauge Spur and the Reformatory Branch Rail Trail.

As you start out you will immediately pass by the former Bedford Railroad Depot to your left. After a ľ mile, note the two old Whistle stop markers with the yellow wood attached to them on your left. Granite posts mark a mile all along the route. A cross light takes you over Hartwell Ave at 1.5 miles where you travel alongside Tophet Swamp. Two miles takes you over I-95 via an old railroad trestle. Another cross-light over Route 4 at 2.7 miles. Cross Hancock St in Lexington at 3.7 miles. To your right is the Lexington Common NHS. Pass by the Lexington Visitor Center and the old Lexington Depot. A parking lot is located here.

Note; You can take a quick detour here to check out the historic sights, such as Lexington Common, the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War. There are also shops and restaurants. The Visitor Center has restrooms. You can also access the Battle Road Trail from here by following Mass Ave west.

From Lexington the trail has a slight downhill grade. Travel underneath Route 2A at 5.2 miles and past Arlington's Great Meadows along your left. The trail travels through Arlington with few road crossings as it either travel over or under most roads. A few parks along the way. You'll pass by a Bike Station and the Arlington Visitor Center as you come to Mystic St at 8.6 miles. Look up at the overhead blue Minuteman Bikeway sign and it will show you how to navigate through town to continue along the trail. Head right out to Mass Ave. Shops and restaurants located here.

Note; Across Mystic St is Whitmore Park where you'll find some old RR tracks preserved along with the CYRUS DALLIN MUSEUM .

Cross Mass Ave and head left along a Bike Lane for 1 block, then turn right on Swan Pl and you'll pick up the trail again under another blue Minuteman Bikeway sign. Travel past Spy Pond on your right where you'll find picnic tables, a path and playground. The trail then travels between the Thorndike Field parking lot on your right and Magnolia Park to your left. Continuing along the trail you'll pass by the entrance for the Alewife Brook Greenway on your left at 9.9 miles before traveling underneath Route 2. Look right across Alewife Station Access Rd to spot where the Alewife Brook Greenway heads west. Come to the Alewife T Station Junction after 10.1 miles. A total of five bike paths are accessible from here.

Alewife T Station, a stop on the commuter rail line into Boston is a hub for five trails. From the northwest, the Minuteman Trail terminates here and includes a spur for the Alewife Brook Greenway just north of here which connects 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 and will connect to Boston Harborwalk; Charlestown at North Point Park.

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