MINUTEMAN BIKEWAY:

BEDFORD-NORTH CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

BEDFORD NARROW GAUGE SPUR:

BEDFORD-BILLERICA, MASSACHUSETTS

REFORMATORY BRANCH RAIL TRAIL:

BEDFORD-CONCORD, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

BEDFORD DEPOT PARK in Bedford is a Hub for 3 Trails (plus interconnecting Trails).

  For more information visit; MINUTEMAN BIKEWAY .  

Reformatory Branch Rail Trail:

Last Updated:      April 26, 2021

Length:                Reformatory Branch Rail Trail; 2 miles

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat, stone dust rail trail.

Directions:

To start from the Bedford Depot; From I-95, take exit 49B to Routes 4 & 225 northwest for 1.9 miles and you’ll come to Loomis St. Turn left down Loomis St. Just before the intersection of South Rd, you will see where the trailhead begins on your right, at a metal gate. To your left is the Bedford Depot.

 

Starting from Bedford Depot Park; This trail is slated for construction in 2023.

Bedford Narrow Gauge Spur: 

Last Updated:      May 8, 2002

Length:                Bedford Narrow Gauge Spur; 3 miles

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat, stone dust rail trail.

Directions:

From I-95, take exit 49B to Routes 4 & 225 northwest for 1.9 miles and you’ll come to Loomis St.

To start from the Bedford Depot; Turn left down Loomis St. Just before the intersection of South Rd, you will see where the trailhead begins on your right, at a metal gate. To your left is the Bedford Depot. The Minuteman Bikeway begins here as well.

To start from the Fawn Lake Conservation Area; Continue past Loomis St and you’ll come to the Route 62 intersection. Route 4 turns right (also called North Rd). Take Route 4 for 1 ½ miles and turn right onto Sweetwater Rd. Travel a ½ mile and you’ll come to the parking lot along the right side, next to where the trail crosses.

 

Starting from the Bedford Depot; Head back to Loomis St and cross over to the metal gate. The trail starts out paved and has a small section of Narrow Gauge Track to highlight just how much narrower this railroad track was compared to regular gauge track. The paved section is only a ¼ mile long and ends at Routes 4 & 225. You cross over here to where the trail then turns to stone dust. You cross over two more roads, one at 0.6 miles and another after 0.9 miles and pass by two water towers. A large stone retaining wall will then parallel the trail to your right. At this point keep an eye out to your left for a post with a trail map and a sign posted to a tree. This is the York Conservation Area. It includes a hiking trail that comes out back on the Spur Trail further ahead. Continue along the Spur Trail and pass by where the hiking trail reenters the Spur Trail. After 2 miles you pass through the Fawn Lake Conservation Area parking lot. A famous resort once stood near here, the Hotel Sweetwater. Its springs were thought to have medicinal benefits, and people traveled to the resort by train to bath in them. A marked walking path circles the pond. The trail then ends at a Springs Rd after 3 miles.

Note; The Town of Billerica plans to connect the Bedford Narrow Gauge Spur Trail to the future Yankee Doodle Bikeway, starting in 2024.

        

Minuteman Bikeway:

Last Updated:       August 20, 2017

Length:                 Minuteman Bikeway; 10.1 miles.

Difficulty:             Easy. Relatively flat, paved rail trail.

Directions:

To start from Bedford (Northern section); From I-95, take exit 49B to Routes 4 & 225 (Bedford St) northwest for 1.9 miles. Turn left down Loomis St and follow to Bedford Depot Park on your left

To start from Lexington (Central section); From I-95, take exit 49A to Routes 4 & 225 (Bedford St)  southeast for 1.7 miles. Turn left (after Meriam St) at Depot Square and park in the municipal parking lot located straight ahead. Trail runs parallel to the lot. 

To start from Thorndike Field (Southern section); From I-95, take exit 45 to Route 2 east to Alewife. Follow the exit for Routes 3 & 16 northeast. Turn left onto Mass Ave at the next intersection and continue for a ½ mile. Turn left on Lake St and left on Margaret St. The parking lot is located at the end of the road, next to the trail.

To start from Alewife T-Station (Southern section); Take Boston's Red-Line to access this station. See; MBTA for more information. For information about taking your bike on the subway. See; MBTA/BIKES . From I-95, take exit 45 to Route 2 east to Alewife. Take the exit for Alewife Station Access Rd and park at the T-Station's parking garage.  

 

Starting from Bedford Depot Park; Be sure to check out the old Bedford Depot Freight House, if it’s open. It has information on the history of the railroad and also sells some refreshments. Next to the Depot is an old Boston & Maine Railroad passenger car. Map board located here. West across South Rd is the BIKEWAY SOURCE bike shop. Informational signs are located along the trail. 

Note; From Bedford the Minuteman Bikeway is flat for the first 1.5 miles, followed by a slight upgrade for the next 2 miles to Lexington. From Lexington south it's a slightly downhill grade most of the rest of the way to Arlington. So if you are planning on biking up and back you would probably be better off starting from North Cambridge and getting most of the uphill grade out of the way.

As you start out the Minuteman Bikeway will immediately pass by the former Bedford Railroad Depot to your left. After a ¼ mile, note the two old Whistle stop markers with the yellow wood attached to them on your left. Granite posts mark a mile all along the route. A cross light takes you over Hartwell Ave at 1.5 miles where you travel alongside Tophet Swamp. Two miles takes you over I-95 via an old railroad trestle. Another cross-light over Route 4 at 2.7 miles. Cross Hancock St in Lexington at 3.7 miles. To your right is the Lexington Common NHS. Pass by the Lexington Visitor Center and the old Lexington Depot. A parking lot is located here.

Note; You can take a quick detour here to check out the historic sights, such as Lexington Common, the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War. There are also shops and restaurants. The Visitor Center has restrooms. You can also access the Battle Road Trail from here by following Mass Ave west.

From Lexington the trail has a slight downhill grade. Travel underneath Route 2A at 5.2 miles and past Arlington's Great Meadows along your left. The trail travels through Arlington with few road crossings as it either travel over or under most roads. A few parks along the way. You'll pass by a Bike Station and the Arlington Visitor Center as you come to Mystic St at 8.6 miles. Look up at the overhead blue Minuteman Bikeway sign and it will show you how to navigate through town to continue along the trail. Head right out to Mass Ave. Shops and restaurants located here.

Note; Across Mystic St is Whitmore Park where you'll find some old RR tracks preserved along with the CYRUS DALLIN MUSEUM .

Cross Mass Ave and head left along a Bike Lane for 1 block, then turn right on Swan Pl and you'll pick up the trail again under another blue Minuteman Bikeway sign. Travel past Spy Pond on your right where you'll find picnic tables, a path and playground. The trail then travels between the Thorndike Field parking lot on your right and Magnolia Park to your left. Continuing along the trail you'll pass by the entrance for the Alewife Brook Greenway on your left at 9.9 miles before traveling underneath Route 2. Look right across Alewife Station Access Rd to spot where the Alewife Brook Greenway heads west. Come to the Alewife T Station Junction in North Cambridge after 10.1 miles.

 In Cambridge at Alewife T- Station, a stop on the commuter rail line into Boston is a Hub for 5 Trails (plus interconnecting Trails). 

HH

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