MARY ELLEN WELCH GREENWAY/EAST BOSTON GREENWAY:

EAST BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

BELLE ISLE MARSH RESERVATION; NORTH & SOUTH:

DEER ISLAND HARBORWALK:

WINTHROP, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:     September 01, 2023

Length:               East Boston Greenway; 2.3 miles

                             Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; North Loop Trail; miles

                             Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; South (Winthrop Greenway); 1 mile

Difficulty:           East Boston Greenway; Easy. Flat paved rail trail.  

                             Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; North & South. Easy. Flat stone-dust trail.

Directions:

To start from East Boston Piers Park parking lot for the East Boston Greenway [Southern End]; From I-90, take the Ted Williams Tunnel towards Logan Airport.  Turn onto William F. McClellan Highway. Take the Bennington St exit and turn left at the end of the ramp (Note; the first immediate left takes you back onto the highway, so take an elongated left. Easy to mess up). Take your next left down Bremen St to Sumner St.

Note; Continue straight down South Bremen St to the start of the East Boston Greenway. On-Street parking along South Bremen Street

Turn left on Summer St, then right on Orleans St to Marginal St. Head left along Marginal St and you'll come to the East Boston Piers Park parking lot on the right.

To start from Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; North; From I-90, take the Ted Williams Tunnel towards Logan Airport.  Turn onto William F. McClellan Highway. Take the Bennington St exit and head right on Bennington St. Travel 1.7 miles and turn right into the parking lot.

The Mary Ellen Welch Greenway, formerly known as the East Boston Greenway, connects East Boston 's waterfront to the rest of East Boston and plans are for it to extend all the way to Belle Isle Marsh. Located along the former Conrail Railroad Corridor that was abandoned in the 1950's, the greenways design draws upon the areas of industrial heritage. Fencing and columns with riveted steel cross members mark the entrances. A refurbished "blue" caboose will serve as a snack bar and/or ranger station. The trail consists of two paved paths. One for bikes and one for pedestrians. From East Boston Piers Park you can access the Boston Harborwalk; East Boston section. The "Blue" Line of the MBTA has several stops along the Greenway. For more information on the subway, as well as the rules for taking your bike on the subway visit; MBTA-BIKES . See; MARY ELLEN WELCH GREENWAY .

Belle Isle Marsh Reservation is a 300 acre DRC property located in East Boston, Revere and Winthrop. The Reservation includes the last remaining salt marsh within Boston. Two trails are located within the reservation; A Loop Trail around Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; North and the Winthrop Greenway through Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; South.

Mary Ellen Welch Greenway/East Boston Greenway:

Starting from East Boston Piers Park parking lot [Southern End]; This park is part of the Boston Harborwalk; East Boston . BLUEbikes bike rentals located here. After checking out this brick lined park and its promenade jutting out into Boston Harbor with views of the Boston skyline, exit the parking lot and turn left along Marginal St (BIKE SHARROWS). Come to the end of Marginal St. 

Note; Right, between 2 steel columns is the start of the pedestrian East Boston Greenway path.

Continue straight along the paved trail to S Bremen St and turn right between 2 steel columns to the start of the paved East Boston Greenway after 0.3 miles.

[Re-zeroing Mileage] The East Boston Greenway travels Northeast past the "blue" Conrail caboose (water fountain). To your left is East Boston Pier #1. Kiosk located here. The greenway consists of two paved trails. One for bikes and one for pedestrians. Keep left if biking. Black streetlights line the trail as it goes through a below grade corridor. You pass through several tunnels underneath streets with painted murals and after 0.5 miles you come to a black gate for Bremen Street Community Park. The trail continues straight through the black gates.

Note; If you head right you can complete a Loop along the paved East Boston Memorial Park Loop. The 0.9 mile trail Loops around the playing fields & stadium of East Boston Memorial Stadium.

Back on the Greenway, the trail travels through the park, past the YMCA building on your left, picnic tables, outdoor amphitheatre, playgrounds, water park and restrooms. The Airport Station of the T is located right off the trail. Across from the community gardens you'll find the Boston Library. You pass through another black gate and travel underneath Route 1A where you emerge at Frankfort St after 1.1 miles. Turn left and follow the trail to a cross-light over the road to another cross-light.

Note; If you continue straight you'll pass by the "Wind Wheels" a neat wind sculpture before coming to the junction of Neptune and Vienna streets just below Route 1A. Wait a few minutes and you'll be rewarded by having a plane fly just a few hundred feet above your head as it makes its approach into Logan Airport. Just across the street is the Neptune Road Airport Edge Buffer Park.

Cross Frankfort St where the trail now follows alongside the Blue Line of the MBTA. Pass a Map Board. 911 phones and cameras located along this section. Pass by the MBTA's Wood Island Station. You travel between the rail line and MASSPORT property. Come to an overlook of Wood Island Bay Marsh and Logan Airport. Another Map Board located here. Here the trail continues along the Narrow Gauge Connector alongside the RR tracks out to Constitution Beach parking lot at 2 miles. Restrooms here.

Note; Right a paved trail travels South past sports courts and the Porrazzo Skating Rink to the Boston Yacht Club.

Heading left along the paved trail you pass a playground and blue pedestrian bridge (that crosses over the RR tracks to Bennington St) as you travel between the parking lot and Constitution Beach before exiting the beach out to *Barnes Ave at 2.3 miles

Note; You have 3 Options from here:

Option 1: Travel to Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; North where you'll find a short scenic Loop Trail.

Option 2: Travel to Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; South where you'll find a trail that travels through the marsh out to the Short Beach parking lot.

Option 3: Travel to Deer Island Harborwalk where another trail awaits.

Option 1: 

Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; North:

From *Barnes Ave in East Boston; [Re-zeroing Mileage] Travel on-road along Barnes Ave (residential) out to Saratoga St (Route 145) . Cross Saratoga St to a BIKE LANE and head left across a bridge over the RR tracks out to Bennington St. Head right on-road (sidewalk available) past the MBTA's Orient Heights Station. After 0.8 miles you'll pick up a narrow paved trail as you travel between Bennington St and Belle Isle Marsh. You'll come to the entrance for the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; North. Turn right to reach the parking lot at 1 mile. A Map Board is located here. For more information visit;  Belle Isle Marsh . 

A mile Loop Trail circles around the marsh. Just follow the stone-dust trail to the right of the Map Board and it will take you out to a boardwalk overlooking the marsh. Next comes a side trail over a bridge and out to an observation tower overlooking the marsh. The trail turns to pavement as it brings you back to the parking lot.               

Note; If you continue North, along the narrow paved trail, alongside Bennington St come to Winthrop Rd in Revere. Continue on-road along State Rd (wide shoulder/sidewalk available) to the Revere Beach Pkwy. Bear right you'll come to the Eliot Circle Rotary at 1.7 miles where you can access Revere Beach Reservation .

Option 2: 

Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; South/Winthrop Greenway:

From *Barnes Ave in East Boston; [Re-zeroing Mileage] Travel on-road along Barnes Ave (residential) out to Saratoga St (Route 145) . Head right utilizing a BIKE LANE. Cross Belle Isle Inlet at 0.7 miles. Saratoga St becomes Main St as you now enter Winthrop. There are places eat or get refreshments here. Take your first left down Pleasant St, then right along Morton St. Continue east and you'll come to the Morton Street on-road parking at 1.2 miles. Here you access the stone-dust trails of Belle Isle Marsh Reservation; South. [Southern End]

This is referred to as the Winthrop Greenway. [Re-zeroing mileage] Intersection here. Head Left (West) along the stone-dust trail as it Loops around past the Mary Kelley Overlook Tower, then comes to an intersection.

Note; Right takes you back to Morton St.

Continue straight (East) along a raised boardwalk alongside the marsh. The trail turns Northeast past a spur at 0.3 miles to the Winthrop Street parking lot before the trail turns North away from all the buildings. The trail then leaves the boardwalk to a stone-dust trail and travels around Short Beach Creek. You head up to a dirt road and continue left around the Belle Isle Cemetery. You'll then pick up the stone-dust trail again on your left which leads to a bridge. 

Note; Right takes you along a hard packed dirt trail to Bayou St.

Head left across the bridge over an inlet and another boardwalk along what is called the John J. Kilmartin Pathway. Pass by an overlook and bench before the trail ends after a 1 mile at the Short Beach parking lot next to Winthrop Ave.  

Note; If you follow Winthrop Ave North to Winthrop Pkwy (wide sidewalk available) you can connect to the Revere Beach Reservation after 1 mile

Option 3: 

 Deer Island Harborwalk:

From *Barnes Ave in East Boston; [Re-zeroing Mileage] Travel on-road along Barnes Ave (residential) out to Saratoga St (Route 145) . Head right utilizing a BIKE LANE. Cross Belle Isle Inlet at 0.7 miles. Saratoga St becomes Main St as you now enter Winthrop. There are places eat or get refreshments here. Take your first right on Pleasant St (Route 145). This is 3.2 miles on-road and not recommended for kids on bikes as there is no bike lane and the sidewalks can be narrow and in poor shape. Pleasant St eventually turns into Washington Ave. This is a very scenic ride with many views of the harbor and Boston's skyline. Turn right when you reach Shirley St and follow it south past multiple marinas on Winthrop Head. Cross a causeway to Point Shirley. Turn left on Elliot St, then right along Tafts Ave. This will bring you to the Deer Island parking lot on your left after 3.9 miles. See Below.

Proposed extensions of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway/East Boston Greenway:

 Deer Island Harborwalk:

Last Updated:      September 01, 2023

Length:                Harborwalk Trail; Outer Loop; 2.7 miles

                              Hillside Trail; Inner Loop; 1.5 miles

Difficulty:            Harborwalk Trail; Outer Loop; Easy. Flat paved trail.

                              Hillside Trail; Inner Loop; Moderate. Paved trail but hilly.

Directions:

From I-90, take the Ted Williams Tunnel towards Logan Airport.  Turn onto William F. McClellan Highway. Take the Bennington St exit and travel straight at the end of the ramp to Bennington St (east). Turn right onto Saratoga St (Route 145). Saratoga St becomes Main St. After passing "Entering Winthrop" sign, take first right onto Pleasant St (Route 145). When you reach Shirley St take a right. Follow Shirley St to Elliot St. Follow Elliot St around to the left. Take a right onto Taft Ave and follow over the causeway, where the Deer Island parking lot is on the left. If you continue following the road it will bring you to the guard house at the treatment facilities entrance.

Deer Island is home to a state of the art wastewater treatment facility. The island was so-named in the 1600s because of the deer that had been chased there from the mainland by wolves. Over the years, this small island has served a variety of functions, starting during colonial days as a detention center for Native Americans. It later served as a quarantine station and hospital for immigrants, an asylum for the city's outcasts, a reformatory for juvenile delinquents, an orphanage, a prison and a military post. In the 1940s, the Army Corps of Engineers built a causeway connecting the island with the town of Winthrop. The treatment plant is surrounded by fencing, but a paved path takes you completely around the islands perimeter. The first half of the island also has paved trails traversing the inner hills, which afford some great views of the harbor and Boston. 

Starting from the Map Board next to the Deer Island parking lot [Northern End]; You have several choices. You can take the Harborwalk Trail; Outer Loop which traverses around the island, traveling in either direction and/or you can travel the Hillside Trail; Inner Loop, which travels through the inner island. I traveled both by first riding the Harborwalk Trail; Outer Loop and then the Hillside Trail; Inner Loop after arriving back at the parking lot. However, a Map Board shows the many different Loops possible, as well as, the many different access points.  Located along the trails are informational sign boards detailing various facts about the island and Boston Harbor.

Harborwalk Trail; Outer Loop: 

Starting from the Map Board next to the Deer Island parking lot; Travel South, crossing Taft Ave past the red & green buoys to where the paved Harborwalk Trail; Outer Loop brings you along the Western Side of the Island along the shoreline. Great views of the planes landing at Logan Airport. The trail turns Southeast passing by a pier. At 0.4 miles the trail splits. Go either over a small hill (Deer Island Celtic Cross located here) or along the shoreline, as they both merge again on the other side of the hill. The trail splits again when you come to Tafts Ave. Left takes you across the road alongside the treatment facility while straight continues alongside the shoreline. They merge again near the guardhouse. You come to a pier at 0.9 miles where you have to navigate through security fencing. Check out the 2 windmills. Another intersection at 1.2 miles. Straight simply bypasses the point, so head right to the islands Southern point. A signboard here identifies all the other islands in the harbor. The trail becomes cement as it follows the seawall North along the Eastern Side of the island. You pass by the 140 foot high, 3 million gallon egg shaped digester tanks. Quite a sight. You come to a wide plaza and a Porto-Potty at 1.7 miles. You pass by the first of three trails that head left up to the Hillside Trails at 2.2 miles. The trail now turns Northwest and is paved again with granite borders. You pass a second trail heading uphill and finally a third trail heading up. The trail travels around the Northern Tip back to the parking lot at 2.7 miles.

Hillside Trail; Inner Loop: 

Starting from the Map Board next to the Deer Island parking lot; Travel South to Taft Ave. Just before the trail crosses the road turn left up the paved Hillside Trail; Inner Loop as it travels East across the Island. You gradually climb the hill as it affords you a great view of the treatment plant. Stay straight at the intersection and reach the ridgeline. Turn right towards the water tower and a vista at 0.5 mile. This vista is the highpoint and overlooks the treatment facility. Great views of the Boston skyline, as well as of planes landing at Logan Airport. The trail then heads down to the Harborwalk Trail at 0.7 miles. Travel left along the Harborwalk Trail; Outer Loop on the Eastern Side of the Island. Come to another trail on your left at 0.9 miles and travel back up along the Hillside Trail; Inner Loop. Come to an intersection and head right along the ridgeline. This will take you past another lookout, after which, the trail goes down a steep incline and up to the last vista, which is a dead end at 1.2 miles. This vista is called Shirley Gut and overlooks the parking lot and Point Shirley Beach which is located along the causeway. To return to the parking lot head back along the trail and take your first left down to the Harborwalk Trail. Take another left and this will bring you back to the parking lot for a 1.5 mile Loop.

HH

CLICK HERE FOR EAST BOSTON GREENWAY MAP

CLICK HERE FOR BELLE ISLE MARSH RESERVATION MAP

CLICK HERE FOR DEER ISLAND HARBORWALK MAP

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

BIKE IT OR HIKE IT

HOME PAGE