MINUTEMAN BIKEWAY LETTERBOX:

BEDFORD-CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Planted:                May 25, 2002

Length:                 Minuteman Bikeway; 10.5 miles.

                                Lexington to Letterbox; ¾ mile. 

Difficulty:             Easy. Flat, paved surface.

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 ½ 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 .

Starting from Bedford Depot Park; Be sure to check out the old Bedford Depot Freight House, if it’s 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. Across South Rd is the BIKEWAY SOURCE bike shop. 

Note; Also, from this point, you can access the Bedford Narrow Gauge Spur

From Bedford, the trail has a slight uphill grade to Lexington and then a slight downhill grade to Arlington. As you start out you will immediately pass by the former Bedford Railroad Depot to your left. After a ¼ mile, note the two old Whistle stop markers with the yellow wood attached to them. After a few road crossings you will pass beneath some power lines and come to a large swamp. Two miles takes you over I-95 via an old railroad trestle. After 3 ¼ miles, spot a grassy area on your left with a long granite bench suspended between two rocks. Another rock has a memorial dedicated to Albert Lester. To the left is a small path through the woods. Go up the path to a sign that reads "Lexington Conservation Land" and look to your left (This sign has been reported as missing, only a post left). You’ll see three large Maple trees in a row. Behind the third tree, under some logs is the Minuteman Bikeway Letterbox. This is close to the bike trail, so please be discreet. Continuing along the trail, at the 4 mile mark you will enter Lexington Center and pass by the Lexington Visitors Center and the old Lexington Depot. The Depot is currently undergoing some restoration and plans call for converting the old "ticket windows" for use selling drinks and snacks to trail users. 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 Visitors Center has restrooms and a very large Cooper Beech tree out front. You can also access the Battle Road Trail from here by following Mass Ave west.

Continuing along the trail, at the 6 mile mark you hit the Arlington town line. The trail is all newly paved from here to Alewife. There is a trailside bike shop/snack bar at 8 miles. After 9 miles you reach Arlington Center, where the trail takes a detour through town via two crosswalks. 

Note; Arlington Center reconstruction alert

The railroad used to cross the street at this point and they have preserved some of the old tracks in a small park. Shops and restaurants here as well. From the end of the trail, turn right up Mystic St and cross over Mass Ave via the cross-walk. Turn left and cross the street again, following alongside Mass Ave. Keep an eye to your right to spot where the paved trail picks up again near some park benches. There is a large sign over the trail entrance. Another ½ mile will bring you past Spy Pond on your right. 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 before traveling underneath Route 2 and coming to the Alewife T Station Junction after 10.5 miles. A total of five bike paths are accessible from here. There is a green sign showing the various bike routes and mileages from this point.

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.

HH

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CLICK HERE FOR ALEWIFE JUNCTION MAP

CLICK HERE FOR AREA BIKEWAYS

 

MINUTEMAN LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED ON

MAY 31, 2014

TO EMAIL A VERIFICATION

letterbox@snet.net 

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

BIKE IT OR HIKE IT

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