Chestnut Hill Reservation


A popular 1.5-mile circular path with pleasant vistas of Back Bay skyscrapers, the Reservation was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted’s son and constructed in the late 1860s to give Boston clean drinking water and a rural park.

Still largely intact, the waterworks with its three gatehouses at water’s edge and three majestic pump houses on Beacon Street is considered a masterpiece of 19th century engineering and landscape design. Both Cochituate and Sudbury Aqueducts are still connected to the Reservoir, but the system has been disabled.

Today the paths around the Reservoir and through the woods are open for public use, where local birders have found good vantage points for the somewhat frequent viewing of rarities in migration. The DCR recreation center offers seasonal swimming and ice skating.


Size: 120 acres including 88-acre reservoir and surrounding parkland    Longest Walk: 1.5 miles    Acquired: 1867



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Located in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston

Get here by MBTA:

A 0.3 mile walk from Reservoir Green Line station

Other maps and aerial photos:

Bing Maps bird’s-eye view

Trail Map

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GPS Enabled Trail Map

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Owner & Administrator Websites

Photo Gallery



Reservoir built consisting of two large basins separated by causeway (now Chestnut Hill Road).


Pumping stations constructed


Upper basin filled in and land sold to Boston College to be athletic fields


Lower basin and pumping stations taken off line


Several old pumping buildings converted to condominium residences as part of the Waterworks development


Waterworks Museum opens in the former High Service Pump Station building.


Accessible Trails, Biking, Birding, Conservation Area, Cross Country Skiing, Historic Site, MBTA Green Line, Pond, Scenic View, Sports Fields

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