MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL:

COMMUNITY PATH BRANCH

BOSTON-CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:     May 15, 2019

Length:                Fitchburg Cutoff; 0.8 miles

                              Somerville Community Path; 2.2 miles

                              North Point Park; 0.3 miles

Difficulty:            Fitchburg Cutoff;  Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.

                              Somerville Community Path; Easy, flat paved rail trail. 

                              North Point Park: Flat paved trail.

Directions:

To start from Alewife T-Station (the Spoke); From I-95, take exit 29 to Route 2 east to Alewife. Take the exit for Alewife Station Access Rd and park at the T-station's parking garage.

Or take the subways Red-Line to access this station. See; MBTA for more information. For information about taking your bike on the subway. See; MBTA/BIKES

To start from the Russell Field Park parking lot (Red Line Linear Path); From I-95, take exit 29 to Route 2 (Concord Turnpike) east to Alewife. Stay on Route 2 (Alewife Brook Parkway) and just past the Alewife T-Station turn left onto Rindge Ave. The park will be on your left.

The Mass Central Rail Trail is a planned 104 mile trail from Northampton Massachusetts to Boston. It will follow the old Central Mass Branch of the Boston & Maine RR that ran between the two cities. The railroad split into two after the1938 hurricane shattered the line. The trail today exists in many unconnected sections and with differing surfaces. Starting from Northampton heading east the sections that are complete include the Mass Central Rail Trail; Norwottuck Branch, Mass Central Rail Trail: Belchertown , Mass Central Rail Trail; Ware-Hardwick- New Braintree , Mass Central Rail Trail; Barre-Sterling , Mass Central Rail Trail; Wayland-Weston & Mass Central Rail Trail; Boston-Cambridge . Locally, some sections of the trail are known by another name. For example along the Mass Central Rail Trail; Boston-Cambridge section in Cambridge the trail is referred to as the Fitchburg Cutoff, while in Somerville it is referred to as the Somerville Community Path. For more information check out;  MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL , EAST COAST GREENWAY & SOMERVILLE COMMUNITY PATH .

The Mass Central Rail Trail also connects to other trails. In Northampton 3 trails converge at the "Spoke". The Mass Central Rail Trail; Norwottuck Branch , Mass Central Rail Trail; Williamsburg Branch which travels northwest towards Williamsburg and the Manhan/New Haven & Northampton Canal Rail Trail North travels south to New Haven, CT. In Cambridge another "Spoke" of trails all radiate out from Alewife T Station; The Minuteman Bikeway which travels northwest to Bedford,  Alewife Brook Greenway which travels east to the Mystic River and Fresh Pond Loop Trail which travels south to Fresh Pond.

 

Starting from the end of the Minuteman Trail at Alewife T-Station;

Heading West along the Mass Central Rail Trail; Cross Alewife Station Access Rd to the start of the Fitchburg Cutoff. A small community garden is located here. Cross the bridge and follow the open paved trail alongside the Alewife Reservation. To your right is a series of boardwalks that traverse the marshes that drain off the Little RiverAfter 0.5 miles you come alongside the Fitchburg commuter rail tracks and follow them out to Brighton St in Belmont at 0.8 miles. Here the trail currently ends as of May 2019Check out; BELMONT COMMUNITY PATH to see the planned route through Belmont and MCRT WALTHAM to see the planned route through Waltham.

Heading East along the Mass Central Rail Trail; Turn left and travel along the cantilevered boardwalk between Yates Pond and Alewife Station Access Rd. Cross the road to the paved Red Line Linear Path which travels behind the parking garage and station. The trail then turns left away from the station and travels underneath Alewife Brook Parkway.

Note; Continue straight behind the station for the Fresh Pond Loop Trail.

Continue right around the Red Line Station entrance. A HUBWAY is located here where you can rent a bike. This brings you out to Russell Field Park at 0.3 miles. Note the informational sign here. There are others located along the trail.

Note; If you head right it will take you past the swimming pool, playgrounds and restrooms to the Russell Field Park parking lot off of Rindge Ave. 

Turn left and travel behind the bleachers, cross over Harvey St and you'll now be on the MBTA's Red Line corridor at a 0.5 miles. Another words, the Boston Subways Red Line runs directly below you and the trail utilizes the green space above it. This corridor was also originally part of the old Boston & Maine Railroad Line. This urban corridor is tree lined and park like although not very wide. When you come to the intersection of Cedar St and Mass Ave, you'll need to turn right along Mass Ave to reach a cross-light. Then turn left to return to the trail at Trolley Square. A HUBWAY is located here. Here the trail is briefly bricked lined with tables and benches. You'll pass by a lot for the city's electric buses on your right and cross into Somerville from Cambridge. This section of trail is referred to as the Somerville Community Path. The trail becomes brick lined again at 1.3 miles as you pass by some artworks on poles and come to the Davis Square T-Station. Cross over Holland St to Davis Square, where there are outdoor tables, places to eat, a map board and continue straight through and over College Ave. This takes you past another entrance for the Davis Square T-Station. Travel down a "closed to traffic" road, through a parking lot and you'll be back on the trail. This section of green space is wider and still tree lined. Cross Cedar St at 1.9 miles where the trail is wide with a separate jogging path. Travel underneath Lowell St where the trail currently ends after 2.2 miles overlooking the RR tracks. A ramp leads up to Lowell St.

The next Phase of the trail will follow the MBTA's Green Line Extension. As part of the GLX project, the path will be extended from Lowell Street along the GLX Medford Branch (Gilman Square, Washington Street stations) to the North Point/Lechmere Station area of Cambridge where the trail will connect to North Point Park, the  Boston Harborwalk and the Charles River Bikeway . Check out; MCRT CAMBRIDGE-BOSTON to see the planned route. 

 

Starting from the Charles River Trail at North Point Park;

Note; From the cull-de-sac at the end of North Point Blvd you can also follow the bike-lane northwest along North Point Blvd and across Education St where you'll pick up a paved trail. Soon a paved walking path (no bikes allowed) splits right and the bike trail heads left along N Point Blvd. You come to a wooden boardwalk after 0.3 miles where the trail currently ends. Just ahead is the North Point Blvd parking lot. For more information check out; NORTH POINT PARK MAP

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CLICK HERE FOR ALEWIFE STATION SPOKE TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR REGIONAL BIKEWAYS MAP

CLICK HERE FOR GREATER BOSTON BIKE NETWORK

CLICK HERE FOR OLD MASS CENTRAL RR MAP

 

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