WATERTOWN BRANCH RAIL TRAIL/WATERTOWN GREENWAY:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 13, 2011
Watertown Branch Rail Trail on-road connection to the Fresh Pond Loop Trail; 1.7 miles.
Watertown Branch Rail Trail on-road connection to the Charles river Bikeway; 0.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.
Reach via on-road detours from either the Charles River Bikeway in the south or the Fresh Pond Loop Trail in the north. You may also park at the Watertown Mall which has a spur trail out to the trail. Take exit 17 off I-90 to Centre St/Galen St north. Turn right on N Beacon St/Arsenal St to Arsenal St. The Watertown Mall will be on your left. The spur trail travels along the west side, behind the mall.
The Watertown Branch Rail Trail, also called the Watertown Greenway was a branch loop of the Fitchburg Railroad that served the town of Watertown & the Watertown Arsenal. The railroad was chartered in 1846 and a second company, the Waltham & Watertown Railroad, was chartered to extend the line to the neighborhood just southeast of downtown Waltham. In order to keep it out of the hands of its rivals, the Fitchburg took control of both companies before any track was laid and merged them into the Watertown Branch. For more information visit; WATERTOWN BRANCH RAIL TRAIL .
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 and will connect to Boston Harborwalk; Charlestown at North Point Park.
Starting from School & Arsenal Streets; The trail begins across from the massive brick US Army Materials Technology Laboratory building.
Note; You may access the Charles River Bikeway from here via a short on-road connector. Travel right on Arsenal St along a short bike path which then becomes a bike lane. Use the cross-walk to travel left over to and up Louise St. Turn left on N beacon St utilizing the bike lane. This will bring you to Charles River Rd and the Charles River Bikeway near the Watertown Yacht Club after 0.6 miles.
A granite pillar marks the start of the trail and contains a map. Follow the paved trail east through a commercial/industrial corridor along the old rail bed. A spur trail at a 1/2 mile travels past the Watertown Mall to Arsenal St. The trail currently ends at Arlington St after only 0.7 miles. Phase II will continue the trail north to Cottage St and Phase III will take it up to Fresh Pond.
Note; You may access the Fresh Pond Loop Trail from here via a 1.7 mile on-road connection. Travel on-road north along Arlington St to Mt Auburn St, next to the Old Arlington Cemetery. Head right on-road along Mt Auburn St, passing by Mt Auburn Cemetery before reaching a cross-light over to Aberdeen Ave at 1 mile. Use the bike lane up Aberdeen Ave to Huron Ave and turn right where another bike lane will bring you to Fresh Pond Parkway. Cross over Huron Ave to the off-road bike path and follow down and into Fresh Pond. Head right along the path in front of the Cambridge Water Works building to the main entrance and parking lot at 1.7 miles. The Fresh Pond Loop Trail starts to your left past the parking lot.
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT