NEPONSET RIVER GREENWAY:
DORCHESTER-HYDE PARK, MASSACHUSETTS
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 01, 2023
Length: Neponset River Greenway; 7.6 miles
Pope Park Loop Trail; 1.4 miles
Senator Joseph Finnegan Park Loop Trail; 0.5 mile loop
Connection to the Quincy Neponset Riverwalk; 0.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat paved trail.
To start from Pope Paul Park [Northern End]; 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 in Milton [Southern End]; 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. In Pope Park a Loop Trail traverses the park. This trail connects to the Boston Harborwalk . You can also access the Quincy Neponset Riverwalk from Pope Park just across the river. For more information visit; NEPONSET RIVER GREENWAY .
A study is underway in 2023 on a plan to connect the Neponset River Greenway to Blue Hills Reservation. See; Maps below.
Neponset River Greenway Map
Blue Hills Reservation Study Area
Starting from the Blue Hills Reservation parking lot in Milton [Southern End]; Follow the dirt trail out of the parking lot along Brush Hill Rd & Neponset Valley Pkwy to Paul's Bridge. Paul'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. A BIKE LANE also follows the Truman Pkwy. Cross over the Neponset River and enter Hyde Park. Just past a shopping plaza, after 0.7 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. Past here the BIKE LANE only travels north. 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. The BIKE LANE travels north.
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, crossing into Milton. 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 Pkwy where a crosswalk gets you over this busy road. Head left over the river to Mattapan Square at 3.4 miles. To your right is the Mattapan Trolley T-station. The trail continues right past a brick building with murals next to the river. Here a boardwalk travels between the river and the Trolley Station taking you over the tracks into the woods alongside the river where the trail is paved. Come to a large iron arched bridge over the river at 4 miles.
Note; Left brings you to Ryan Playground, where a 0.3 mile paved trail circles a field.
Cross the Harvest River Bridge back to Milton and the trail continues left between the RR tracks and river. Exit the woods and cross Central Ave after 4.7 miles.
Note; Left up Central Ave across the river 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.
is to your left and the Mattapan Trolley Line is on your right as you
continue East. 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
painted along the trail. You come to the old Bakers Chocolate factory
buildings after a ¼ mile. Here, the river was dammed for power. You cross over
the Neponset River Gorge at 5.1 miles via an old RR bridge and enter Dorchester, 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 5.9 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
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 6.7 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.
Pass by a Boston Harborwalk sign (According to the website the Harborwalk utilizes this section of the trail). 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. Where you see all the old pilings was Flounder Wharf. The trail then passes by an entrance for Senator Joseph Finnegan Park.
Note; A 0.5 mile paved Trail Loops around this wide open, grass and wildflower park with great views of the river.
Come to Taylor St where the trail heads right. At 7.1 miles you come to another entrance for the park and the end of the paved trail. Across the street is the Taylor Street parking lot. An on-road section heads up Water St (residential). There are green metal signposts that will help direct you along the detour. Follow Water St to its end and bear left to the paved trail alongside Conley St. This brings you to Tenean Beach, where you can chose between two paved trails to bring you through the park (The trail next to the beach tends to be sand covered). There is a playground here, as well as picnic tables. The paved trail exits the park at 7.6 miles.
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. Cross Victory Rd.
Note; Right leads to the National Grid property. Future plans call for connecting the Neponset River Greenway to the Boston Harborwalk in Dorchester across the National Grid "rainbow gas tank" property. The gas tank sits at the mouth of the Neponset River and Commercial Point.
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.
Note; Future plans call for upgrading the trail along Morrissey Blvd.
The sidewalk here is a bit old and narrow as it parallels Morrissey Blvd. You'll pass by the Dorchester Shore Reservation entrance on the opposite side of the Blvd before coming to a cross-light across the Blvd at 8.9 miles.
Note; Use this cross-light to access the Dorchester Shore Reservation parking lot where you'll also find a ½ mile paved Path which follows crescent-shaped Malibu Beach around a small saltwater bay.
A narrow paved path continues north alongside Morrissey Blvd and is the start of the completed section of the Boston Harborwalk .
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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