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Long Walks

From the Charles River to Newton Center
Featuring Brook Farm, Sawmill Brook, Kennard Park, and more

A report of a 2010 walk on part of this route

Did you know that you can walk from here:

to here:

on a route that is almost entirely through parkland? Read on for details.

This walk is about 6.5 miles long. It takes about 3 hours.

The trip starts and ends at an MBTA bus stop in Newton Center. An alternate approach involves leaving one car in Newton Center and driving to the start of the walk in a second car.

 

Click for larger map

  Route last checked Nov. 2016
   
By MBTA from Newton Center to Charles River Path  
   

Begin the walk at the MBTA bus stop on the southbound side of Centre Street, in front of the First Baptist Church. Take the number 52 bus.

Be sure to check the bus schedule. There is no Sunday service, and the bus runs less than once an hour on Saturdays.

Alternately, you may want to leave one car in Newton Center, and drive in a second car to the start of the route, or get to the trailhead by taxi, Lyft, or Uber.

   

Get off the bus at the corner of Walsh Road and Sawmill Brook Parkway. Turn right as you get off the bus, and walk to the park entrance at the end of the street.

If you are driving, go south on Dedham Street, and turn right on Wiswall Road, just past Brookline Street. Wiswall Road ends at Walsh Road. Turn left on Walsh Road and drive one block; park anywhere (except at the bus stop). map

   

Blue Heron Trail

 
   
Leave the street and enter the DCR Upper Charles River Reservation and the Blue Heron Trail.
   

The walk starts with a side trip to the banks of the Charles, for one of the nicest views of the day. But if you prefer to skip that trip, you'll cut about a mile off of the hike. To skip ahead, click here.

Otherwise, walk straight ahead as you enter the park.

   
Follow the path for a while, as it turns right and then approaches a soccer field. Turn left into the woods before you reach the soccer field.
   

Continue straight through a "T" intersection.

(Taking a right at this intersection would take you to the Helen Heyn Riverway.)

   
Keep right at a fork.
   

The path reaches the Charles River. (By July the last stretch near the Charles is overgrown with weeds.)

Retrace your steps to where you first entered the park.

   

Turn right to continue on the path.

If you skipped the excursion to the Charles River, you're starting the walk at this point. From Sawmill Brook Parkway, enter the park and turn left onto the path.

   
Brook Farm  
At a signpost, turn left towards Gethsemane Cemetery and Brook Farm.
   
Bear left on the path as you near the cemetery. The path stays in the woods, paralleling the cemetery road.
   
The path ends at a small parking lot.
   

Exit the parking lot onto an uphill path.

The route ahead includes about 100 feet of unmaintained trail. If you prefer to avoid a bit of bushwacking, just turn left on the road. (We'll rejoin it soon, at this point.) But the path goes through a really nice woods.

   
Turn right at the end of a small meadow.
   
Turn left at a trail junction.
   
Turn right.
   
A meadow filling in with oak trees is on your right.
   
Leave the meadow on a narrow path.
   
Turn right as you approach another cemetery. (This isn't the same one you passed by earlier.)
   
Cross a small gulley, walking past an old cellar hole.
   
Here's where the bushwaking starts. The trail resumes about 100 feet ahead of you.
   
Turn left when you reach the road.
   
The road passes an old Brook Farm building. Continue on the road.
   
When you reach Dedham Street, turn right onto the sidewalk.
The MBTA #52 bus to Newton Centre stops across the street, if you've had enough walking.  
   
St. Joseph's Cemetery  
   
Walk just a few feet on the Dedham Street sidewalk, then carefully cross the street and walk up this driveway into St. Joseph's Cemetery.
   
Walk up the driveway a few feet, and turn left onto a cemetery road.
   

Continue straight through two intersections, as the road gradually curves to the right.

It's easy to take a wrong turn in the cemetery. This map may help.

   
Turn left just before a small bridge.
   
Turn right at the next intersection.
   
Past a small bridge, the road curves left. Bear left through the next intersection.
   
Bear right at the next intersection, marked St. John 8.
   
Where another road enters from the right, turn left onto the grass and walk uphill towards the edge of the woods.
   
Leave the cemetery here.
   
Sawmill Brook Conservation Area  
Enter Sawmill Brook Conservation Area. Join the trail about 20' ahead, on the top of a small ridge. The trail is marked by white diamond placards.
   
The trail soon forks. The route to the right is clearly marked by the white diamonds, but is less interesting than the route that goes straight ahead. We'll go straight ahead, aiming for the two trees in the center of the photo that form a V. One of them is marked with a white paint blaze.
   
Follow the blazes towards a large stone outcropping.
   
Pass to the left of the outcropping, and then turn right just before you reach the brook.
   
Walk along the brook for a while until you rejoin the path marked by the white diamonds. It's almost impossible to get lost, since the part of the park on this side of the brook is only 100 feet wide. If you bear right at any point, you'll quickly come to the trail with the white diamonds.
   

The path skirts the edge of Kesseler Woods. Once the trail system is developed in that land, acquired by the city in 2004, we'll redo this route to go through Kesseler Woods.

   
The trail eventually reaches the brook again.
   
The trail ends at Vine Street. Turn left.
   
Turn right on Botsford Road.
   
Turn left on Pond Brook Road.
   
Cross Brookline Street and continue on Pond Brook.
   
Kennard Conservation Area  
Pond Brook Road ends at the entrance to Kennard Conservation Area.
   
Walk down the steps, and turn right.
   
You'll soon come to a fork. The right fork leaves the park. You'll take the left fork.
   
In just a few steps, turn left at a T intersection. Ahead on your trail is a tree marked with two red stripes. Cross a small bridge.
   
After passing through a gap in a stone wall, go straight through another "T" intersection, where a side trail goes off to your left.
   
Lost Pond Reservation  
Pass through a gap in another stone fence, to enter Brookline's Lost Pond Reservation.
   
Turn left when the trail reaches a T intersection, with two red markers.
   

Turn right at the next T intersection. A green disk with a hiker marks the trail.

   
Turn right on the spur to Lost Pond.
   
Enjoy Lost Pond, and then retrace your steps. Turn right on the main trail.
   
Turn left at the next trail junction, at the kiosk.
   
Leave the park and walk one block straight ahead along Arlington Road.
   
Turn right on Heath Street and walk one block to Hammond Pond Parkway.
   
Cross the Hammond Pond Parkway, turn left and cross Heath Street, and walk along the sidewalk of Hammond Pond Parkway towards Route 9.
   
Cross the Route 9 Eastbound frontage road.
   
Walk under the Route 9 bridge. (Enjoy the sidewalk. A few years ago, you would have had to walk in the street.)
   
Cross the Route 9 Westbound frontage road.
   
Hammond Pond Reservation and Webster Conservation Area

Continue past the first driveway for The Street at Chestnut Hill. Cross the second driveway, and turn right onto a short sidewalk.

Refreshments and rest rooms are available in the shopping center.

   

From the driveway, turn left into the parking lot. At the end of the lot is a kiosk marking the trail.

   
Walk past the ledge used by local rock climbers.
   
Herons can often be spotted in Hammond Pond.
   
Turn left at the first fork.
   
Cross Hammond Pond Parkway with care. Turn right and walk about 100 yards alongside the road.
   

Enter the woods just before a rock outcrop.

The trails in this area are not well marked. Your goal is to proceed in a westerly direction, straight through the park to the exit on Warren Street.

   
The trail, marked by blue and red blazes, bears right around Cake Rock.
   
Continue on the blue-blazed trail.
   
The trail is now marked with orange and green blazes.
   
Turn left at a fork, following an orange blaze.
   
Turn right at a T; the signs are orange and green again.
   
Turn right at another T, following green blazes.
   
The green trail curves to the left; then go straight through a T.
   
Go right at the next T, still following green blazes.
   
As you approach a fenced property, bear right, still following green blazes.
   
Turn left at the signs, and exit the conservation area.
   
Walk straight ahead on Warren Street.
   
Cross Glen Avenue and continue straight ahead.
   
Turn right on Langley Road. Newton Center is two blocks ahead.

 

 

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