-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: September, 2018
Length: Boston Harborwalk; 47 miles (when completed)
Bunker Hill Monument Loop; 1.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat, paved trail.
Take exit 15 off of I-93 to Columbia Rd eastbound to Columbus Circle. Head north on Day Blvd to reach the Fort Independence parking lot. Head south on Morrissey Blvd to reach the Dorchester Shore Reservation parking lot which is located on your right just past the entrance for JFK/UMass.
Boston's Harborwalk is an inviting public walkway along the waterfront, with parks, public art, seating areas, cafes, exhibit areas, interpretive signage, water transportation facilities, and a wide range of other amenities. When completed, the Harborwalk will stretch some 47 linear miles along wharves, piers, bridges, beaches and shoreline from Mystic River in Charlestown to the Neponset River in Dorchester, as well as, the East Boston shoreline. I describe the Harborwalk starting from the Dorchester Shore Reservation and heading north to Boston and include descriptions of the Dorchester-South Boston-Fort Point Channel-Downtown/North End & Charlestown sections. A short section currently has been completed in East Boston. There are several connections to other bike paths along the Harborwalk which I provide links to. For more information visit; BOSTON HARBORWALK .
Harborwalk; Dorchester-South Boston:
Starting from the Dorchester Shore Reservation parking lot; Restrooms and picnic tables are located here.
There is a separate ½ mile paved path
here, which follows crescent-shaped Malibu Beach around a small saltwater
Turn left out of the entrance, following
alongside Morrissey Blvd
and cross over the Blvd at the cross-light. This brings you to the Harborwalk;
This brings you to the Harborwalk; Dorchester section.
Note; Right takes you south, where you can hook up with the Neponset River Greenway which also utilizes sections of the Harborwalk. The section between the UMass Boston/JFK Library and Tenean Beach is partly on-road or along narrow paved trail. It is currently in Design as of 2019.
Heading north (left) along the narrow paved trail, you'll come to a path on your right leading to the Dorchester Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A must visit, as a path from the memorial leads you up to a bench area overlooking the bay. You come to the UMass Boston/JFK Library entrance after 0.4 miles. Here a wide paved trail takes you alongside the bay past UMass. You pass a large picnic pavilion and many fisherman as you round the point and eventually come to the backside of the JFK LIBRARY at 1 ½ miles. JFK's sailboat is here, next to a large flight of steps leading up to the front entrance. Great views of Boston's skyline. This is also under the flight path to Boston's Logan Airport, so there are a lot of planes flying low overhead. The paved trail ends here and continues as a stone-dust trail. Continue along the stone dust trail until you hit the paved trail at 1.8 miles. Turn right onto the trail and head back along the bay. Here along Harbor Point is a gazebo and views of the JFK Library to your right and Fort Independence across the bay to your left. Next, you come to a large granite map of Boston Harbor surrounded by benches. Old Harbor Park is part of the Harbor Point housing development, and is a welcoming, beautifully maintained portion of Harborwalk. Its many amenities -- benches, shelters, and lighting -- make this portion of Harborwalk one of Dorchester 's finest. Old Harbor Park is well situated, with a stunning view of the downtown skyline as well as a view of the egg-shaped waste digesters on Deer Island. Interpretive signage on this portion of the Harborwalk conveys tales of fishermen and shipwrecks. A large medallion-map of Boston Harbor and the Harbor Islands is very popular with children for stone rubbings. You pass a Jefferson Memorial type rotunda at 2 ½ miles and come to the Old Harbor Reservation. This is part of the Harborwalk; South Boston section. Here, beaches surround the harbor. At 2.9 miles you reach the McCormack Bath House (restrooms & a cafe here) where a separate boardwalk for pedestrians follows Carson Beach. Across Day Blvd is Moakley Park. The trail takes you past the Curly Recreation Center, a row of yacht clubs and at 4.4 miles to Marine Park.
A 1 mile trail heading right from Marine Park follows the causeway around
Pleasure Bay to Fort Independence on Castle Island, but
biking is not allowed. Originally freestanding,
From Marine Park you head left along Day Blvd around Pleasure Bay. You come to East Broadway at 4.7 miles, where the Farragut Statue resides inside the intersection.
Note; It’s only a ½ mile detour to check out FORT INDEPENDENCE on Castle Island. Just continue straight.
Just after the statue, a cross-walk will take you over Day Blvd and up East Broadway along a double-wide sidewalk. Take a right down Farragut Rd (double-wide sidewalk), passing by the tennis courts and you'll come to the entrance for Conley Marine Terminal. Here you'll pick up the paved trail as it travels through Thomas J Butler Memorial Park (map board). A sidewalk then takes you along East 1st St past the East 1st Dog Park on your right and Christopher Lee Playground on your left (behind which is located Metal of Honor Park accessed via a narrow path through the Playground). Continue on-road until you hit I St on your left after 5.7 miles.
Note; On your right a short paved trail takes you out along the Reserved Channel to an overlook.
Continue on-road until you hit Pappas Rd on your right at 5.9 miles. Head right along the wide sidewalk and soon the trail will bring you alongside the Reserved Channel out to Summer St. Use the cross-light, then travel right along Summer St where you'll pick up the trail on your left next to a map board of the Marine Industrial Park at 6.5 miles. Head right past this map board along a short path to a circle, then head right to a crosswalk. Continue right to a Green painted path along the Reserved Channel. Then turn left (the cruise ships dock ahead, but the public is not allowed access) up to Black Falcon Ave, then right along a Blue painted path between the cruise terminal building on your right and the Boston Design Center along your left to the end. Then, follow the blue painted path right to the Reserved Channel, where you can look across to the Conley Container Terminal. Follow the blue path left along the channel to its end at 7.4 miles, where you'll have great views across Boston Harbor of Deer Island, East Boston and Logan Airport. Continue back along the Blue painted path to Black Falcon Ave and turn right. Continue straight past the large tanks to Dry Dock Ave.
Note; To your right is a small park surrounded by a red fence that overlooks a dry dock.
Head left down Dry Dock Ave and turn right down Tide St to the intersection with Northern Ave.
Note; To your right is Dry Dock Plaza Park, a platform that overlooks the dry-dock.
Now follow a BIKE LANE along Northern Ave through this industrial park. Pass through a traffic circle and come to the Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion. You'll pick up a section of the Harborwalk on your right at 8.4 miles.
Note; This section of trail currently (As of Sept 2018) only travels partway around the Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion, ending because of construction.
Continue along Northern Ave and you'll come to the Boston Fish Pier at 8.6 miles.
Note; From here you may take a quick detour across Northern Ave to the South Boston Maritime Park. Here you'll find a seasonal cafe with outdoor seating, benches and a light sculpture. From the opposite end of this tiny park, you can see the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Next, cross over D Street to the World Trade Center East building and view a not-to-be-missed sculpture garden with whimsical pieces laid out along winding paths. The kids will love it! Head back out to Northern Ave. Cross back over Northern Ave.
Northern Ave turns into Seaport Blvd. Pass by Seaport and come to Pier 4. Here you'll pick up the Harborwalk again on your right. Follow the trail to Harbor Shore Dr where you must turn left to avoid a construction zone (As of Sept 2018). This takes you past the INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART and back to the Harborwalk at 9 miles.
Note; This section of trail currently (As of Sept 2018) only travels partway around the Institute Of Contemporary Art.
Heading left the trail follows a boardwalk along the harbors edge and past the Public Green. Chairs and tables located here. The now paved trail is dotted with interpretive signs and sculptures as it takes you around Fan Pier. A brick and cobblestone path then takes you past interpretive panels and ship silhouettes which present the history of Fan Pier and Boston Harbor. The Moakley Courthouse overlooks the harbor and is an impressive building itself. This brings you to the Old Northern Ave Bridge.
Note; This bridge had been used as a pedestrian bridge to reach downtown Boston, but was closed because of safety concerns. Plans are in the works to build a new pedestrian bridge here in the future. In the design phase as of May 2019.
Continue straight across Northern Ave past the BARKING CRAB restaurant. This brings you to the Seaport Blvd Bridge at 9.5 miles.
Note; You have two options from this point:
A. You can check out the Harborwalk; Fort Point Channel section which also doubles as part of the South Bay Harbor Trail by continuing straight underneath the Seaport Blvd Bridge. See; South Bay Harbor Trail .
B. You may continue along the Harborwalk; Downtown/North End-Charlestown sections by heading left up to Sleeper St, then right across the Seaport Blvd Bridge into downtown Boston. See; Harborwalk; Downtown/North End-Charlestown below.
Harborwalk; Fort Point Channel:
A. To check out the Harborwalk; Fort Point Channel/South Bay Harbor Trail; [Re-zeroing mileage] Travel underneath the Seaport Blvd Bridge. This brings you alongside Fort Point Channel. Here, a boardwalk takes you past Children's Wharf Park and the BOSTON CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, where you'll find plenty of tables and food available and up to Congress St.
Note; If you’re riding bikes, you may wish to detour around the next two sections as there are stairs involved. Cross the street and turn left up Congress St, past the BOSTON FIRE MUSEUM, then right along A Street and finally right down Summer St. This next section actually travels through a corridor of the old Boston Wharf Company building. To detour, turn back up Summer Street and make an immediate right up Melcher St. Take a moment to marvel at the old buildings here that all seem to have a different shade of brickwork. Next, turn right at Necco St and another right between two buildings. This will bring you back to the channel and the corridor exit** at 0.6 miles.
Cross over Congress Street and take the stairs to the right of the "Neighborhood Health Plan" sign. After you've crossed over Summer St, head down through a corridor of the old Boston Wharf Company building and this brings you out alongside the channel**. Continue along the channel and you'll go around the tiny Binford Park. Informational signage along the trail. Spot the buoy. This is an example of the trail markers that will be used along the updated South Harbor Bay Trail that is scheduled for construction in 2019.To your left is the Gillette headquarters. You come to the Dorchester Ave Bridge at 1.1 miles. Bear left to a cross-walk in front of the guard house (this is the entrance for the US Postal Service facility) and cross over Dorchester Ave.
Note; The trail continues left, but detour straight to Rolling Bridge Park. A short loop trail takes you around this small park and includes a pedestrian bridge over Cabot Cove. The park contains benches, interpretive signs and a big, red painted arm of the Old Colony Railroad Bridge that formerly occupied this site. At the time of its construction in 1898, the Old Colony Railroad Bridge was the largest rolling drawbridge of its kind. In addition, stones are arranged in a seating pattern to mimic a circular configuration of another bridge that occupied a nearby site. The trail then returns you to Dorchester Ave.
Travel on-road (sidewalk available) along Dorchester Ave and up to W Broadway/Traveler St.
Note; There is access to the Broadway T-Station from here.
Turn right and cross over W Broadway/Traveler Street Bridge (Kelly Bridge). This brings you to Eastside Frontage Rd.
Note; South Bay Park on your right. I have not checked it out yet. This park is a must-go-to location for train and locomotive fans. The park provides a great vantage location to observe the trains entering or leaving South Station, one of the busiest train stations in New England. South Bay Park, situated within the area formerly occupied by the South Bay, was filled over time leaving only the existing configuration of the Fort Point Channel. The land under South Bay Park was filled-in by the mid 1850s and is straddled by two bridges crossing the Channel: the West 4th Street Bridge and W Broadway Bridge.
After crossing the bridge, turn left, using the cross-light and travel along the wide cement trail (below the I-93 artery) to the West 4th Street Bridge at 1.6 miles. This is where the Harborwalk; Fort Point Channel ends.
To continue along the South Bay Harbor Trail; See; South Bay Harbor Trail .
Note; This section of the South Bay Harbor Trail is under construction in 2019.
Harborwalk; Downtown/North End-Charlestown:
B. To check out the Harborwalk; Downtown/North End-Charlestown [Re-zeroing mileage] Head left up to Sleeper St, then right across the Seaport Blvd Bridge into downtown Boston. Turn right along Atlantic Ave.
The Harborwalk; Downtown section
picks up on your right down Old Northern Ave, however, there are stairs
involved. If biking, continue straight along Atlantic Ave. Follow the sidewalk and take your first right back towards the
harbor to pick up the Harborwalk; Downtown as it travels
Turn right down the stairs and travel along
the harbor, around Rowes Wharf and the Boston Harbor Hotel. Check
out all the large yachts. Next comes
and the New England Aquarium at ¾ miles. Travel out to the end of Long
Wharf and back along the Marriott Hotel and this will bring you to
the Christopher Columbus Park.
If you head left through the park you can access the ROSE KENNEDY GREENWAY
and the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
at 1.3 miles and Joes American Bar & Grill. This is a great spot to
grab some food, as they have outdoor seating and you can keep an eye on your
bike. We skipped this wharf, mostly full of car parking. You now enter the Harborwalk;
North End section. Turn right around the Lewis Wharf and
Wharf out to Commercial St (A separated BIKE LANE
follows all of Commercial St). Turn right again out around the harbor to
Wharf. The Boston Fire Dept.
has a sub-station here with some fire rescue boats. When you reach the US
Coast Guard Station at 2.5
miles, you have to head back out to Commercial
St, as their is no access allowed. Head right past the Coast Guard's
entrance and you'll come to Langone Recreational Complex and Puopolo
Park. Pass by the wading pool and ball field and then turn right past the
Bocce Ball fields and playground to reach the Harborwalk. From here you
have good views of Charlestown and the Boston National Historic Park
across the harbor, as well as the Bunker Hill Monument. You come to the
base of the Charlestown
at 3.1 miles.
Note; You have two options to connect to the Harborwalk; Charlestown section:
First Option; You can turn left and travel over the Charlestown Bridge into Charlestown and Chelsea Street.
Note; You can make a detour from here to visit the Bunker Hill Monument and return via a loop route. See; Bunker Hill Monument Loop below. Head right along Chelsea St and then right down Warren St to Constitution Rd. Pass through the parking gate and you'll return to the Harborwalk; Charlestown section after a 0.6 miles. However, because the FREEDOM TRAIL travels over the bridge, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic making biking difficult.
Second Option; [Continuing mileage from Charlestown Bridge] Continue straight to cross the river via the Charles River Dam & Locks to Paul Revere Park.
I chose the second and more scenic option, continued straight and traveled underneath the Charlestown Bridge, where a short boardwalk brought me to Beverly St Extension.
Note; If you wish to access the Rose Kennedy Greenway, turn left up Beverly St Extension and it will bring you to Causeway St. Turn right and cross over I-93 where it emerges from the “Big Dig” and check out the great views of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. To your left across Causeway St is the beginning of the ROSE KENNEDY GREENWAY .
At Beverly St Extension turn right and enter the Charles River Dam & Locks. This is where the Charles River meets Boston's Inner Harbor. The Charlestown Bridge will be up on your right and the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge will be to your left. A metal walkway will take you over the locks to Paul Revere Park and the Harborwalk; Charlestown section after 3.5 miles.
Note; You may access the Charles River Bikeway via North Point Park by heading left along the paved trail which turns to stone-dust briefly before returning to paved. This will take you underneath the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge where a promenade overlooks the Charles River.
Note; A paved path to your right with whimsical colored street lamps takes you 0.2 miles up to Route 99.
Continue straight up the arched North Bank Bridge which take you over the RR tracks and into North Point Park and the start of the Charles River Bikeway and Mass Central Rail Trail; Boston-Cambridge after a 1/4 mile.
From Paul Revere Park; [Continuing mileage] Turn right along the paved Harborwalk; Charlestown and head straight to a ramp down to a boardwalk along the harbor. Head left underneath the Charlestown Bridge and you'll come to Tudor Wharf. Travel around the wharf and follow the wide sidewalk past the hotel to Constitution Rd. Head right through the parking lot to pick up the Harborwalk again near the parking lot exit gate next to the Constitution Marina.
Note; You can make a detour from here to visit the Bunker Hill Monument and return via a loop route. (See; Bunker Hill Monument Loop below).
Travel around the large marina and Constitution Wharf and you'll come to some old railroad tracks at about 4.1 miles and the Boston National Historic Park.
Note; Left brings you to Paul Reveres Landing, a promenade overlooking the USS Constitution.
Head left along the trail, looking right for a narrow paved path on your right. This will bring you to Constitution Rd. Turn right and follow Constitution Rd past "Gate 1" (along the Freedom Trail) and into the BOSTON NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK . Head right down the pier past the Visitor Center to check out the ships (Free entry). Great views of downtown Boston and the US Coast Guard cutters across the harbor. Head back along the opposite side of the pier and turn right past the USS Constitution Museum along 1st Ave. This will take you past another Gate. Turn right past the Commandants House and follow the pier to the Inner Harbor Ferry. Return back along the pier and follow the boardwalk around alongside Terry Ring Way. Be sure to check out the Korean War Memorial on your left in Charlestown Navel Shipyard Park. Continue straight along the paved pier to the end of Pier 4. Head back down the pier past the COURAGEOUS SAILING CENTER and right along the Harborwalk, past Piers 5-7. The boardwalk becomes rough until you pass by Pier 8 and the Shipyard Quarters Marina where the trail turns to stone-dust as it travels through Shipyard Park. You emerge at 16th Street after 5.9 miles. Continue right along a nice wide boardwalk which juts back out into the harbor. To your left is Mayor Menino Park with a large playground. Great views of downtown Boston. The boardwalk then travels back along the opposite side of the V shaped pier. The trail turns to concrete as it passes by the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, then becomes paved as you travel alongside the Little Mystic Channel. Finally you come to Building 114. Built in 1903 as the U.S. Navy's joinery shop, Building 114 is now a state-of-the-art biomedical research facility. The ground floor features an exhibit of the building's rich history, old photographs, boat models, and a display of tools used in boat making. The lobby, open 24 hours a day, has a sitting area with vending machines, public phones, restrooms, a drinking fountain, and a bike rack. Outside, a 25-foot band saw, once used to cut lumber for naval vessels, is displayed next to the Harborwalk. The blade for the band saw hangs from the ceiling of the building's lobby. The trail ends after 6.3 miles by a recreation dock. To continue your journey a slight detour follows. You'll need to travel right past Building 114 out to 16th Street, then head right out to Chelsea St, which runs underneath the green Tobin Memorial Bridge (Route 1). Turn left and follow the sidewalk along Chelsea St to a cross-walk right over to a paved path that brings you to Medford St. Follow this path briefly along Medford St where it turns right and passes by a ball field at Barry Playground. The cement path heads left around Little Mystic Channel past more sports fields to the opposite side of the inlet where it crosses a water access ramp for the BOSTON DUCK TOURS amphibious landing vehicles. You then travel around the Little Mystic Access Area parking lot at 7.3 miles where the Harborwalk ends.
Note; From here I returned to Paul Revere Park along a different route. Exit the parking lot and head right on the paved path alongside Terminal St. Continue on-road (low volume) to Chelsea St and turn right. Continue on-road to 16th Street. Head left down 16th St, then right on 5th Ave. Cross 13th St and a tree lined paved trail brings you past the beautiful old brick & stone buildings of the Boston National Historic Park. A brief gravel trail brings you on-road along 4th Ave. Turn left on 9th Ave, then just before Building 105 take a right along another tree lined path that travels past the Charlestown Inn and more brick & granite buildings. Continue across 6th St and pass by the round Muster House to 5th St. Turn left and you'll return to 1st Ave next to the Commandants House at the Boston National Historic Park. Follow 1st Ave right out the gate to Constitution Rd. Continue straight along Constitution Rd and you'll eventually travel through a tunnel underneath Route 99 and enter Paul Revere Park. Turn left and you'll return to the Charles River Dam & Locks after 8.6 miles.
Bunker Hill Monument Loop:
Hills Involved-Residential on-road; From the exit gate by Constitution Marina head north up Constitution Plaza, across Constitution Rd and up Warren St to Chelsea St. Cross Chelsea St and head left to City Square Park, located on your right. Fountains-statures-historical informational signs, very ornate park. Travel to the opposite side of the park to City Square Rd and cross over to Harvard St. Travel up Harvard St (one-way) past beautiful old brick houses and the John Harvard Mall on your right (playground). Turn right down Main St (one-way) and then left up Monument Ave (one-way). This brings you to Monument Square. The BUNKER HILL MUSEUM (restrooms available) is located on your left. Take the paved ramp up to the BUNKER HILL MONUMENT . About 3/4 miles. The museum and monument are run by the NPS and are free. You can climb the 294 steps up the granite monument. Great views. Return to Monument Square and travel left to the southern corner of Bunker Hill. Head down Winthrop St and through the Commons to Park St (one-way). Take a left off Park St down Warren St (BIKE LANE). Cross Chelsea St and continue down Warren St, crossing Constitution Rd. Pass through the parking gate to return to Constitution Marina and the Harborwalk; Charlestown after a 1.2 mile loop.
Harborwalk; East Boston:
Starting from East Boston's Navy Fuel Pier Pocket Park (intersection of Marginal & Jeffries St; Harborwalk; East Boston.
Note; On-street parking. West along Marginal St is Piers Park and the start of the East Boston Greenway , however, the street is blocked to thru traffic because of an active shipyard.
Travel east through this short park, then head left (north) along a wide cement trail past the sports courts of Porzio Park. Cross Summer St where the wide cement trail continues through the Park and alongside the Boston Harbor. The trail becomes paved as you pass a spur trail on your left. The trail then turns right (east) along MASSPORT Harborwalk Park traveling around this inner harbor. Come to a small promenade at 0.3 miles.
Note; Left a spur leads to Harborside Dr.
The trail now heads south passing by a picnic pavilion, a Fire Boat dock and Logan Airport Ferry Terminal before ending after 0.8 miles at the Boston Harbor. Sculpture. To your left behind the fence is Logan Airport. This is also where the Ted Williams Tunnel travels underneath the harbor.
Note; There are some more short, unconnected sections of the Harborwalk west along East Boston, but a lot of construction is taking place along the Harbor preventing easy access.
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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT