WATERTOWN BRANCH RAIL TRAIL/WATERTOWN GREENWAY:

WATERTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:     May 18, 2019

Length:                Watertown Branch Rail Trail; 1.3 miles

                               Watertown Linear Park; 0.3 miles    

                               Watertown Branch Rail Trail on-road connection to the Fresh Pond Loop Trail; 1.7 miles.

                               Watertown Branch Rail Trail on-road connection to the Charles river Bikeway from West End; 0.3 miles

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat, paved trail.                            

Directions:

Reach via on-road detours from either the Charles River Bikeway in the south or the Fresh Pond Loop Trail in the north. You may also park at the Watertown Mall which has a spur trail out to the trail. Take exit 17 off I-90 to Centre St/Galen St north. Turn right on N Beacon St/Arsenal St to Arsenal St. The Watertown Mall will be on your left. The spur trail travels along the west side, behind the mall. 

The Watertown Branch Rail Trail, also called the Watertown Greenway was a branch loop of the Fitchburg Railroad that served the town of Watertown & the Watertown Arsenal. The railroad was chartered in 1846 and a second company, the Waltham & Watertown Railroad, was chartered to extend the line to the neighborhood just southeast of downtown Waltham. In order to keep it out of the hands of its rivals, the Fitchburg took control of both companies before any track was laid and merged them into the Watertown Branch. For more information visit; WATERTOWN BRANCH RAIL TRAIL .

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.

Starting from Irving & Arsenal Streets; The Watertown Branch Rail Trail begins here heading east alongside Arsenal St on the north side of the street. (The old rail trail is north of here but has been consumed by buildings)

Note; You may access the Charles River Bikeway from here via a short on-road connector. Continue on-road along Arsenal St which merges with N Beacon St bringing you to Watertown Square. Follow the crosswalk left over N Beacon St and Charles River Rd and you'll come to the Charles River Bikeway after 0.3 miles.

Note; Another short section of the trail can be accessed on-road from Watertown Square. Head north on-road along Main St a short distance, then turn right up Church St. Turn left on Winter St and you'll come to a sharp right after 0.3 miles. On your left will be Saltonstall Park. Here you'll find a sidewalk that travels along the northern edge of the park. Cross Whites Ave (Caution No Crosswalk) to a paved trail through the Watertown Linear Park. This brings you to Waverly Ave after 0.6 miles. Across the crosswalk is Moxley Field & Playground

Continuing east alongside Arsenal St come to School St, across from the massive brick US Army Materials Technology Laboratory building and the paved trail continues just up School St on your right at 0.7 miles. A granite pillar marks the start of the old rail trail and contains a map. Follow the trail east through a commercial/industrial corridor along the old rail bed. 

Note; A spur trail at 1.1 miles travels south past the Watertown Mall to Arsenal St. 

The trail currently ends at Arlington St after 1.3 miles. 

Note; Heading right down Arlington St will bring you to Filippello Park.

Phase II will continue the trail north to Cottage St and Phase III will take it up to Fresh Pond

Note; You may access the Fresh Pond Loop Trail from here via a 1.7 mile on-road connection. Travel on-road north along Arlington St to Mt Auburn St, next to the Old Arlington Cemetery. Head right on-road along Mt Auburn St, passing by Mt Auburn Cemetery before reaching a cross-light over to Aberdeen Ave at 1 mile. Use the bike lane up Aberdeen Ave to Huron Ave and turn right where another bike lane will bring you to Fresh Pond Parkway. Cross over Huron Ave to the off-road bike path and follow down and into Fresh Pond. Head right along the path in front of the Cambridge Water Works building to the main entrance and parking lot at 1.7 miles. The Fresh Pond Loop Trail starts to your left past the parking lot.

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