NEPONSET RIVER GREENWAY:

DORCHESTER-HYDE PARK, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      June 27, 2015

Length:                Neponset River Greenway; 7.7 miles

                              Pope Park Loop Trail; 1.4 miles

                              Connector Trail to the completed Boston Harborwalk (Dorchester Shore Reservation); 1.8 miles

                              Connection to the Quincy Neponset Riverwalk; 0.5 miles                              

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat paved trail.                             

Directions:

To start from Pope Paul Park; From I-93 northbound, take exit 11A to Granite Ave. Bear right off the ramp on Granite Ave. to your second set of lights. Turn right on Gallivan Blvd. and you'll see the park entrance just after Walgreen's on your right. From I-93 southbound, take exit 12 to Gallivan Blvd and look right for a sign into the park. 

To start from the Blue Hills Reservation parking lot; From I-93 take exit 2B to Route 138 (Washington St) north. Turn left onto Neponset Valley Pkwy and follow to the intersection with Brush Hill Rd. On your left is a small dirt parking lot with a signboard for the Blue Hills Reservation.  

The Neponset River Greenway follows the rail bed of the former Granite Railroad along the shore of the Neponset River and Neponset River Marshes. Operating from 1826-1870, this was the first incorporated commercial railroad in the US. It was built to transport granite from the Quincy Quarries to Gulliver's Creek Wharf on the Neponset River. This granite was used to build the Bunker Hill Monument. It runs from the mouth of the estuary at Tenean Beach in the Port Norfolk neighborhood of Dorchester, through Pope John Paul II Park, along a salt marsh, then paralleling the Mattapan Trolley Line into Milton. As of  July 2015 construction on the middle gap is underway from Milton to Mattapan Square. From Mattapan Square the trail crosses back over the Neponset River and follows the Truman Pkwy out to Paul's Bridge, ending at the Blue Hills Reservation parking lot. In Pope Park a Loop Trail traverses the park. You may also access the Quincy Neponset Riverwalk from Pope Park just across the river. For more information visit; NEPONSET RIVER GREENWAY .

Starting from the Blue Hills Reservation parking lot; Follow the dirt trail out of the parking lot along Brush Hill Rd & Neponset Valley Pkwy to Paul's BridgePaul's Bridge is an historic bridge over the Neponset River. The bridge was built in 1849, replacing wooden bridges that had been on the site since the early 1700s. It had a major rebuilding in 1932, when it was widened. Most of the original stone was reused. Continue alongside Neponset Valley Pkwy to the intersection with Truman Pkwy. Cross the Neponset Valley Pkwy followed by the Truman Pkwy via two cross-lights. The wide paved Neponset River Greenway travels north alongside the Truman Pkwy separated by a wooden barrier. Just past a shopping plaza, after 3/4 miles, you'll come to Martini Shell at Hyde Park. You can travel through the park, which has picnic tables and fronts the Neponset River or continue straight on the trail alongside Truman Pkwy. The trail parallels the parkway on the right and RR tracks along the left. You come to Dana Ave at 1.3 miles.

Note; The next 0.5 mile of trail consists of a narrow sidewalk. I'm not sure if there are any plans to widen this section. 

You travel through a residential area along both sides and rejoin the paved trail at 1.8 miles. Here you lose the houses along your left as you both ascend and descend a small hill. You'll catch glimpses of the river, but this section of trail is not overly scenic. At 3.1 miles you may detour left along a stone-dust trail to an overlook of the river in Neponset River Esplanade Park. Picnic tables here as well. The trail then comes to Blue Hills Ave and bears left over the river to Mattapan Square. Here you use a set of cross-lights to bring you to the Mattapan Trolley T-station next to River St at 3.4 miles. 

Note; The next section out to Central Ave is currently under construction as of July 2015 and requires an on-road detour. CLICK HERE to see a map of the route currently under construction.

Travel on-road northeast along River St. Moderate traffic. Turn right when you reach Central Ave, cross the Neponset River and you'll rejoin the paved trail on your left at mile 5.

Note; Before crossing the river, across Central Ave is the Neponset Riverwalk, a short paved trail that travels along the northern side of the Neponset River, then right over Mill Pond via a converted RR bridge connecting back to the Neponset River Greenway. An informational board and canoe launch are located here as well.

This next section of the trail is the most scenic and away from traffic. The Neponset River is to your left and the Mattapan Trolley Line is on your right. You'll see many of the colorful one car trolleys as you travel down the trail, with several stations located along the route. Just down the trail to your left is an old RR bridge that crosses the river to the Neponset Riverwalk. A map board is located here. Continuing along the trail notice the artistic murals painted on the retaining walls to your right. There are many other murals painted along the trail. You come to the old Bakers chocolate factory buildings after a mile. Here, the river was dammed for power. You cross over the Neponset River Gorge at 5.4 miles via an old RR bridge, then pass by the Butler Station for the trolley line. Map board located here. Pass through a concrete tunnel underneath the trolley line. You'll travel along the river and marsh before coming to the Granite Ave Drawbridge at 6.2 miles. To your left is the Granite Ave parking lot. Map board located here. A cross-light will take you over to Neponset II Park parking lot. This park provides access to the Neponset River Salt Marsh, one of the few remaining extensive salt marshes within the Boston area. Amenities include a dock for non-motorized boats, benches, interpretive signage, splash-park for children, drinking fountain, and landscaping. There are parking spaces for visitors and public restrooms in season. A stone-dust trail loops through the park as well. Continuing along the trail you cross Hallet St and then travel through a tunnel underneath I-93 where you enter Pope Paul II Park. Turn left at the intersection. You'll come to a playground and signboard at the Pope Paul II Park parking lot at 7 miles. There are some  portable toilets here as well.

Note; The figure 8 Pope Park Loop Trail starts here. From the signboard head right out along the river along the North Loop. The trail then turns inland bringing you to an intersection. Head left across Davenport Creek to another intersection. Head left again out along the river along the South Loop before the trail again turns inland bringing you past the Hallet Street/Pope Paul II Park parking lot at a mile. Continue straight where you'll complete the South Loop before heading left back across Davenport Creek. Head left along the North Loop again before rejoining the Neponset River Greenway. Continue straight and you'll return to the signboard at the Pope Paul II Park parking lot after a 1.4 mile loop.

The trail then travels underneath the Neponset Ave Bridge (Route 3A).

Note; From here you can access the Quincy Neponset Riverwalk which is located across the river. Look left to spot a large granite tiered block. A path past this marker will bring you underneath Route 3A. Follow the road right (on-road) to the north side of Route 3A. Continue left along this road (I believe it's Quincy Shore Drive or Neponset Ave) until you intersect Route 3A. Then travel left along the pedestrian path up and over the Neponset River via the Route 3A Bridge. To your left the RR bridge runs parallel. You'll come to a ramp that will bring you down to Hancock St and the Quincy Neponset Riverwalk after 0.5 miles. 

After traveling underneath a railroad trestle you come to a stone jetty called "Flounder Fleet". There are benches here and granite markers inscribed with local lore. The trail currently ends at Taylor St after 7.3 miles. There is another signboard here with a map of the on-road detour. There are green metal signposts that will help direct you along the detour. Head right down Taylor St and follow it around and straight through the intersection on Water St. These are residential streets. Take a right and then a quick left following the signs. This brings you to Tenean Beach at 7.7 miles, where there are several paved trails through the park. There is a playground here, as well as picnic tables. 

Note; Future plans call for connecting the Neponset River Greenway to the Boston Harborwalk in Dorchester across the National Grid rainbow Gas tank property. Construction is currently slated for Fall 2015.

This is the start of the on-road connector to the Dorchester Bay section of the Boston Harborwalk. After traveling through the park, you pass beneath I-93 following a sidewalk. Take a right on Tenean St which will then parallel Morrissey Blvd. This is on-road. Bear right along Freeport St, which travels alongside I-93. You then meet up with Morrissey Blvd again and take a right underneath I-93 via a sidewalk. When you approach an off-ramp there is a crosswalk, but use extra caution here. A sidewalk then takes you up and over Beades Memorial Drawbridge at 8.8 miles, with nice views of Dorchester Bay and the colorful Boston Gas Tank. The tank, decorated with giant rainbow-colored stripes, is the world's largest copyrighted artwork. The sidewalk here is a bit old and narrow as it parallels Morrissey Blvd. At 9.1 miles you come to the Dorchester Shore Reservation entrance on the opposite side of the Blvd.

Note; There is parking available there, as well as, a mile paved path which follows crescent-shaped Malibu Beach around a small saltwater bay. However, if you wish to check it out, continue up the trail to a cross-light across this busy road.  

This is the start of the completed section of the Boston Harborwalk.

 HH

CLICK HERE FOR NEPONSET RIVER GREENWAY MAP

CLICK HERE FOR QUINCY NEPONSET RIVERWALK MAP

  

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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