MYSTIC RIVER PATHS:
MALDEN RIVER GREENWAY:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated:September 22, 2013
Lower Mystic River
Loop; 2.9 miles .
Mystic Riverbend Park Spur Trail; 1.5 mile Loop.
Draw 7 Park Spur Trail; 0.7 miles/1.4 mile Loop.
Upper Mystic River; Alewife Brook Greenway east; 1.8 miles.
Upper Mystic River; Alewife Brook Greenway north to Tri-Community Greenway; 2.9 miles.
Malden River Greenway-West Side; 1.6 miles
Malden River Greenway-East Side; 2.6 miles (with on-road section)
Difficulty: Lower Mystic River Paths; Easy. Flat, paved or stone-dust surface.
Upper Mystic River Loop; Easy. Flat, paved or stone-dust surface but with some on-road sections and narrow pavement.
Malden River Greenway; Easy. Relatively flat paved trail.
To start from McDonald Park for the Lower Mystic River Paths; From the junction of Routes 16 & 28, take Route 16 (Mystic Valley Parkway) west and immediately turn left into McDonald Park. The State Police building is straight. Turn right for the parking lot.
To start from Station Landing parking lot for the Malden River Greenway/Wellington Greenway; From I-93 north take exit 29 to Route 28 north. Cross the river and take your first right into the Shops at Station Landing. Return to the entrance and travel left on the paved path alongside Route 28. Just before the bridge the Wellington Greenway veers left alongside the river.
The Upper Mystic River Paths are accessible from the northern terminus of the Alewife Brook Greenway where you'll also find a small parking lot. From the junction of Route 16 and the Mystic Valley Pkwy head west on the Mystic Valley Pkwy and take your first left to a small parking lot next to the trail.
TheLower Mystic River Reservation is made up of our four parks and runs through Medford and Somerville. The Mary O'Malley Park has a boat landing and tennis courts. The Torbert McDonald Park offers many natural sites and trails. Draw Seven Park has two soccer fields next to the dam. The park area called Mystic Lakes is a popular summer spot with its combination of beach facilities and natural shady areas. The parks are run by the Metropolitan District Commission and admission to the reservation and its parks is free. The bike trail runs along both sides of the river with the Route 16 & 28 Bridges acting as crossing links. The Upper Mystic River Reservation [North of I-93] and paths are accessed from the eastern end of the Alewife Brook Greenway. Currently, as of May 2019, a gap exists (Clippership Connection to be built) between the Upper and Lower Mystic River Paths, but an on-road connection exists. For more information visit; MYSTIC RIVER RESERVATION . The Upper Mystic River Path connects to the Tri-Community Greenway , allowing you to continue north.
The Malden River flows into the Mystic River between Wellington and Everett. The Malden River Greenway; West Side will follow both shorelines north to Malden. Currently, along the western side of the river, the Wellington Greenway travels from Station Landing Park east along the Mystic River, then north along the Malden River to the Wellington T-Station. The next section to be constructed will continue it north to the Route 16 Bridge where it will connect to the Rivers Edge Trail. Along the eastern side of the river, the Malden River Greenway; East Side travels north from the Gateway Center, underneath Route 16 to the Village Landing Park Trail. The next section to be constructed will continue it north to the Rivergreen Trail. For more information visit; MALDEN RIVER GREENWAY .
Alewife T Station, a stop on the commuter rail line into Boston is a hub for five trails. From the northwest, the Minuteman Trail terminates here and includes a spur for the Alewife Brook Greenway just north of here which connects 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; Boston-Cambridge , 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; Boston-Cambridge and will connect to the Boston Harborwalk; Charlestown at North Point Park.
UPPER MYSTIC RIVER PATHS:
The Upper Mystic River Reservation [North of I-93] and paths are accessed from the eastern end of the Alewife Brook Greenway and connect to the Tri-Community Greenway.
Starting from the northern terminus of the Alewife Brook Greenway; From the parking lot a crosswalk will take you over the Mystic Valley Pkwy.
Heading North; Head left to access the stone-dust Upper Mystic River Path that travels northwest along the southern side of the Mystic River. When you reach the River St/Harvard Ave bridge, turn left for a cross-light. The path continues northwest along the river, but the stone-dust path is narrow and quickly turns into a hard packed path after 0.5 miles. Some tree root issues. You'll come to the Arlington traffic circle at 0.8 miles. The path ends here, so head right over the High St bridge to the West Medford side of the river. Here a hard packed dirt path travels both north & south along the river.
Note; We headed south (right) to complete a loop. After passing by Dugger Park you'll come to the River St/Harvard Ave bridge. Head right over this bridge and return to the stone-dust path on your left which will bring you back to the Alewife Brook Greenway for a 1.6 mile Loop.
To continue north (I haven't checked out this section by bike) continue along a narrow dirt path between the parkway and eastern side of the river (A BIKE LANE follows the parkway north). The trail travels along the Upper Mystic Lakes, which are divided by a causeway as you pass by Mystic Lakes SP at 1.6 miles. The narrow path may consist of some stone-dust, not sure. Parking lot located here. Road leads to a boat launch and Tufts Boat House. The trail continues north, passing another parking lot where the trail widens and appears to be stone-dust. After 2.3 miles you'll come to Shannon Beach parking lot. A paved path loops through the park then back out to the parkway continuing north. After crossing a bridge it turns into a sidewalk. Come to a crosswalk after 2.9 miles which leads into the Wedgemere Station parking lot, where you can connect to the Tri-Community Greenway . This is the end of the Upper Mystic River Path.
Heading East; Turn right and follow the narrow paved Upper Mystic River Path alongside the Mystic Valley Pkwy. Cross over Alewife Brook where the path pulls away from the road. Cross Boston Ave at 0.3 miles and the narrow path parallels the road again. Cross over the Mystic River followed by a crosswalk over Auburn St. Another crosswalk takes you over the Mystic Valley Pkwy where you'll pick up a wide paved path after 0.5 miles. Here the trail travels through the open field to Veterans Memorial Park where it splits. Continue right past the sports fields to Winthrop St at 1 mile.
Note; Straight brings you to the intersection of Winthrop St & Mystic Valley Pkwy.
A cross-walk takes you over to a paved path that runs back alongside the Mystic River. The path turns to stone-dust as it passes by the Condon Band Shell and a canoe put-in before passing by the Condon Band Shell Park parking lot and returning to the Mystic Valley Pkwy at 1.3 miles. Turn right following the paved path alongside the road to a cross-light.
Note; The paved path to your right is a spur out to South St.
Cross the Mystic Valley Pkwy and you'll come to a pedestrian bridge on your left.
Note; This pedestrian bridge travels over the river and brings you to High St in Medford.
Continue straight along the paved trail and you'll come to Main St at 1.5 miles. Utilize the crosswalk and then turn left up Main St along the sidewalk. This brings you to Clippership Drive on your right where you'll find a sidewalk and bike lane. A narrow greenway along your right constitutes Clippership Park where you'll find an informational sign and benches overlooking the river. Come to Riverside Ave at 1.8 miles.
Note; Currently, as of June 2019, a gap exits between the Upper and Lower Mystic River Paths. Plans are underway for the gap, called the Clippership Connection to connect the two sections.
Note; If you travel right on-road along Riverside Ave (sidewalk available) you'll come to the entrance to Andrews & McGlynn Middle Schools (Freedom Way) at 2.3 miles. Turn right down Freedom Way and bear right past the school. This brings you to a paved path. See; Mystic Riverbend Park Spur Trail below for detailed trail information. If you follow the paved trail straight it will bring you back alongside the Mystic River and eventually underneath Route 16 to the Lower Mystic River Path at 3.1 miles. See Lower Mystic River Paths below. Continuing east you'll come to the McDonald Park parking lot after 4 miles.
Lower Mystic River Paths:
The Lower Mystic River Paths are comprised of a main loop trail [Lower Mystic River Loop] and spur trails [Mystic Riverbend Park Spur Trail, Draw 7 Park Spur Trail and Malden River Greenway/Wellington Greenway] off this loop that you can explore and then return to the main loop, thus extending your ride. To reduce confusion I list the spur trails separately in the directions below. If you only wish to ride the loop, simply skip to the next Lower Mystic River Loop heading.
Lower Mystic River Loop:
Starting from the McDonald Park parking lot; The paved Lower Mystic River Loop starts at the end of the parking lot. You’ll immediately come to an intersection.
Note; Left takes you out to Route 28, but this is where you'll complete your return loop.
Continue straight (Mystic Valley Parkway
will be to your right) where you'll pass by a platform overlooking an inlet. Turn left, away from the parkway and follow
the outside trail, always keeping left, as you pass by inner connecting trails throughout
the park. The trail takes you down along the river, where, at 0.4 miles you’ll
come to a platform overlooking the Mystic River. The trail then changes
briefly to stone-dust before heading back inland where it becomes paved again. Keep to your
left as you pass by more inter connecting trails and this will bring you to a
wooden observation tower at 0.7 miles. This tower overlooks marsh between you and
the river and affords you views of downtown Boston. The trail then travels left alongside the parkway
bringing you to the Route
16 Bridge at 1 mile.
Mystic Riverbend Park Spur Trail:
Note; To access the Mystic Riverbend Park Spur Trail, as well as, the Upper Mystic River Paths turn left and travel underneath the Route 16 Bridge to the opposite side. This brings you to Mystic Riverbend Park. A map board is located here next to some granite benches, as well as, informational signs that continue along the trail. When you come to an intersection, continue straight. Next you’ll come to a traffic circle where the paved trail heads right. Keep left along the river on the stone-dust trail. The trail becomes paved again and then turns inland at about ¾ miles. This brings you to Andrews Middle School.
Note; To access the Upper Mystic River Paths continue straight out to Riverside Ave and travel left on-road (sidewalk available). See; Upper Mystic River Paths above.
To complete the loop back to the Route 16 Bridge turn right and travel behind the school. Bear left at the fork and this will bring you to McGlynn Elementary School. Turn right and travel behind the school, past the playground staying straight. This will bring you back to the trail along the river. Turn left and you’ll eventually travel back underneath the Route 16 Bridge to your starting point after a 1 ½ mile loop.
Lower Mystic River Loop:
over the Route 16 Bridge to Somerville
and turn left. Continue straight at the intersection, as left only takes you
underneath the bridge to the opposite side. The trail takes you between the
river and I-93 until you come to the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse at
1.8 miles. There are benches and picnic tables located here.
Continue straight past the boathouse out to Shore Drive
where you'll head left along the trail. Follow alongside Shore Drive and just
before Route 28 you'll turn left to access a boardwalk bypass that takes you underneath
busy Route 28 to the eastern side of the Wellington
at 2.2 miles.
Draw 7 Park Spur Trail:
Note; To access the Draw 7 Park Spur Trail head left along the wide paved trail as it travels alongside the river and includes a couple of overlooks. Travel through Assembly Square Park before passing by the Winter Hill Yacht Club and underneath the subways “Orange” T-Line. This brings you to Draw 7 Park and the Craddock Locks at the Amelia Earhart Dam***. There is a picnic pavilion and benches overlooking the river. You can also see the Bunker Hill Monument from here. The trail currently ends after 0.7 miles underneath a railroad bridge. Future plans call for continuing the trail along the river through the MBTA’s Charlestown Yards and connecting to theCharlestown Harborwalk next to the Route 99 Bridge. Return to the Wellington Bridge for a 1.4 mile loop.
Lower Mystic River Loop:
To complete the Lower Mystic River Loop head right over the Wellington Bridge (The walkway along the bridge is narrow/wide shoulder if biking) and you’ll return to Medford. You'll rejoin the paved trail and come to an intersection at 2.4 miles.
Note; To check out the Malden River Greenway; West Side See Below.
From the intersection continue straight along Route 28 to a cross-light next to the Station Landing parking lot that will take you over this very busy road. Turn left and head back towards the Wellington Bridge. A paved trail bears right away from the road. Follow this trail over a wooden bridge. The trail has very thick overgrowth. Keep to your left all intersections and you'll return to the McDonald Park parking lot after a 2.9 mile loop. If you rode all of the Spur Trails your total is 8.2 miles.
Malden River Greenway; West Side:
Starting from the Route 28 intersection; To access the Wellington Greenway, which takes you east along the Mystic River to the confluence of the Malden River, turn right at the intersection along the paved trail and you’ll pass through a small park next to Station Landing parking lot before coming to a boat launch and the Mystic Wellington Yacht Club. The trail continues alongside the river and underneath a RR Trestle before bringing you to the mouth of the Malden River and the Overlook at 0.5 miles. The Overlook sits at the end of the peninsula and includes a circular granite seating area with views of the Mystic & Malden Rivers and the Amelia Earhart Dam. The trail then continues north between the Malden River and RR tracks to the Wellington Station parking lot where the trail currently ends after 0.6 miles. Future plans call for continuing the trail northward along the Malden River and connecting into the existing path which travels underneath the Route 16 Bridge to the Rivers Edge Trail.
Travel through the parking lot past the MBTA’s Wellington T-Station. For more information visit; BIKES ON MBTA . Bear right out to Route 16 where a paved trail takes you underneath the Route 16 Bridge to the Rivers Edge Trail at 0.9 miles.
Note; You may also access the Malden River Greenway; East Side from here. Head left to a wide sidewalk that takes you across the Route 16 Bridge over the river. You'll pick up the paved Village Landing Park Trail on your left. See Below.
The wide paved Rivers
Edge Trail continues north above the west side of the Malden
River. Enter the Park at Rivers Edge where the trail includes pedestrian only
stone-dust paths alongside the river, informational signs and William
Shoemaker Boathouse. The trail then loops around an open area out to Commercial
St at 1.6 miles.
Malden River Greenway;East Side:
Starting from the Gateway Center; From the edge of the Costco parking lot spot 2 granite posts. A paved path heads from the parking lot down to Mystic View Rd. Head left on-road to the start of the Malden River Greenway; East Side on your right. A narrow paved trail brings you to an overlook of the Mystic River and the Craddock Locks at the Amelia Earhart Dam below.
Note; Future plans call for continuing the trail south connecting to the HARBORWALK; ENCORE BOSTON HARBOR and Casino which is scheduled to open June 2019. This will also connect to the future extension south of the Northern Strand Community Trail , as well as, a future pedestrian bridge over the Mystic River connecting to the Mystic River Paths.
The trail travels north where the Malden River enters the Mystic River. The trail splits briefly as it travels through the Mystic River Reservation then rejoins and travels out to Mystic View Rd at 0.6 miles. Turn left and follow the sidewalk out along Route 16. Before the river you'll pick up the paved trail on your left that takes you down and under the Route 16 Bridge to an intersection.
Note; Straight brings you back up to Route 16. Head left to connect to the Northern Strand Community Trail or right across the Route 16 Bridge to connect to the Malden River Greenway; West Side.
Heading left takes you along the Village Landing Park Trail which travels north along the east side of the Malden River. The trail currently ends at a parking lot after 0.9 miles.
Note; A gap currently exists, as of June 2019, north to the next section, Rivergreen Trail, which travels around Rivergreen Business Park.
To access, you'll need to travel right through the parking lot out to Santilli Hwy. Turn left on-road (low traffic), then left again at Air Force Rd. This will bring you to Rivergreen Drive after 0.5 miles. Right, across the road, is the Northern Strand Community Trail . The paved Rivergreen Trail starts on your left. I haven't checked out this section yet. The trail follows alongside Rivergreen Drive before turning left around the edge of the Park. The trail then turns north along the river bringing past a pavilion that overlooks the river. The trail then continues around the Park curving right out to the Northern Strand Community Trail after about 0.5 miles.
Note; On your right, Everett Parkland has a 0.3 mile paved loop trail along a grassy knoll.
Note; A gap currently exists, as of June 2019, north to the next section.
You can utilize the Northern Strand Community Trail by heading left (north) along the paved trail to Medford St and turning left. Just before the bridge over the river you'll pick up the Malden River Greenway; East Side on your right after 0.5 miles. The trail continues north 0.2 miles out to Canal St. Total mileage; 2.6 miles.
***Extensive salt marsh lined the banks of the Mystic River until 1909, when the first dam was built across the river (Craddock Locks), converting salt marsh to freshwater marsh and enabling development. Today's dam, named for Amelia Earhart, was built in 1966. It converted the Malden River to freshwater non-tidal. This dam was more sophisticated than the simple iron gates of the Craddock Locks. It is a permanent concrete structure with three passages to allow boats to pass through. There is a tower where workers observe incoming boats and open the lock accordingly. The dam is equipped with a pump, and is able to pump freshwater downstream even during high tide to prevent flooding. The river flows backwards at times depending on the dam. It was modeled after the Charles River Dam, which is very similar in structure and purpose. Fish passage has been a problem, as there is no working fish ladder there, but workers do leave the locks open at times to allow fish to pass. Currently, there is no pedestrian access to the dam, although many people are pushing to allow access.
CLICK HERE FOR MALDEN RIVER GREENWAY MAP
CLICK HERE FOR MYSTIC RIVER TRAILS MAP
CLICK HERE FOR AREA BIKEWAYS
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT